This year, like no other, has tested our collective will, generosity and conscience. We know that there are many suffering in our community for many reasons that have now been highlighted or manifested due to COVID-19. One of the ways we see this at the library is in our decreased ability to support the less fortunate members of our community. We normally provide a safe and warm space for people to relax, to use our computer stations and even our washrooms. Because of COVID-19 the library is unable to perform its role as a community hub where people gather, and the limitations are very impactful.
Often we can do something to help, by contributing time or money to help the less fortunate. There is a true feeling of satisfaction and pride that comes with the act of giving. There have been many studies done on the impacts of giving in charitable ways. Acts of kindness and giving induces a surge of dopamine and endorphins, chemicals in our brains that make us feel happy and reduce stress.
Children can often recognize an opportunity for change. One day fourteen year old Hannah Salwen saw a homeless man while at the same time a Mercedes was driving past. After much discussion her parents decided to do something radical. They share their life-changing family decision in the book, The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back. Authors Kevin and Hannah Salwen share their decision to sell their mansion, buy a home half the size and give half the sale price to charity. Of course few people could do this, but the book is about finding a measurable way to give time or money for the greater good. They found truth in the expression “the more you give, the more you get”.
Popular author Danielle Steel spent 11 years working anonymously with a small team on the streets of San Francisco in an effort to help the homeless. She wanted no recognition for this effort and it was a truly heartfelt wish to be of help. She shares her experiences and those of many of the people she encountered who were living the most difficult of life situations in her book titled A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless. She explores how her quest to help others became a gratifying experience for herself. This is available electronically through cloudLibrary as well as in print.
Debbie Macomber’s book of true stories and messages titled One Simple Act: Discover the Act of Generosity, is a delightful read. Giving the gift of personal generosity has life-changing impact on both the recipient and the giver as shown through many shared experiences. She shares experiences in a grocery store, in a train station and even on a submarine.
Nurse Cathy Crowe went from a traditional nursing experience that involved giving immunizations, attending to heart patients and other similar duties, to working on the streets. There isn’t a right in Canada to shelter or housing and she explores the impact that the government funding reductions have had on the vulnerable. Her book A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse, is a powerful and inspiring work that details her lifelong commitment as a nurse and social justice activist. There are so many in need. If you can give, you too will win. We all will. If you already
donate, thank you. If you are looking for new donating opportunities there are many organizations to choose from. Starting places may be canadahelps.org and United Way of Thunder Bay (uwaytbay.ca). Happy giving and Happy Holidays.
Melanie Tribe — http://www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you.