Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Crossing guard sets up free coat tree for 'her kids'

For almost two decades, Minnie Galloway has been a crossing guard for a middle school in Wilmington, North Carolina. She not only manages traffic, she also buys pencils and other school supplies for 'her kids.' Yep, like a lot of people who work with children, she takes the needs of her charges seriously. On a crossing guard's salary. Let that sink in a moment.

So when cold weather hit the Carolinas, Minnie noticed some of 'her kids' didn't wear proper outerwear. She went to the local Salvation Army store and bought out their supply of winter coats in the sizes she thought were needed. She then hung the thirty coats on a coat tree right at her corner. Some were taken and worn the very first day, but Minnie said some children are too proud to take a coat.

Any coats not used by 'her kids' will be donated to a local church coat giveaway.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Man pays for the person behind him at drive-through, prevents suicide

Ontario's Pickering News has the same policy as many newspapers - they do not publish letters anonymously. Despite that policy, they ran this editorial in early November about an anonymous letter they received: 
The letter writer wrote about being in a bad place in July of this year, so bad in fact that they (I don’t know whether the author was a woman or man) intended to take their life. July 18 was going to be their last day.“I had planned to end it all at home in my own little ritual and explain my thoughts in a note for anyone who cares,” they wrote.
Prior to this final act, however, a trip to Tim Hortons was in order for a coffee and a muffin. While in the drive-thru at Kingston and Glendale in Pickering the lady at the window told them, “The nice man already paid for it and he said to have a great day.” She was referring to the man in the SUV in front of them.
“I wondered why someone would buy coffee for a stranger for no reason. Why me? Why today? If I was a religious sort I would take this as a sign. This random act of kindness was directed at me on this day for a purpose.”
Back at home, they began to sob uncontrollably.
“I decided at that moment to change my plans for the day and do something nice for someone. I ended up helping a neighbour take groceries out of her car and into the house.”
They explained every day since she has looked for ways to make someone’s life a little better, and, as a result, it has “enriched my life in more ways than I could’ve imagined.”A coffee and muffin saved a life that day, and although I don’t know who the person was who sent me that letter, I feel better for telling the story.
Random acts of kindness do so much more than you think.
“To the nice man in the SUV … thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know your kind gesture has truly saved a life,” they said. “On July 18, 2017, I not only had a great day, I had the greatest day!”

When that column appeared in the paper, Glen Oliver's wife pointed it out to him. She knew of his long-standing habit of paying for the person behind him at the drive-through, usually at that very same Tim Horton's. He later told reporters“I was blown away, blown away — couldn’t believe it...You know for such a small thing, just a series of events that were set off from that point on … 
"It's exponential now, you know? Like such a small, insignificant thing to most people just turned out to be … the planets aligned for somebody."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Woman sends her 10,000th care package to US military who would otherwise receive none

In 2007, Wisconsin's LeAnn Boudwine had two sons in the military. Like many moms, she sent them care packages filled with necessities, treats, and reminders of home. They appreciated the packages and looked forward to their arrival at regular intervals. And they noticed something - some soldiers didn't get any packages from home. None. They mentioned this to LeAnn.

She went to work. She gathered a few friends and they sent out some extra packages from LeAnn's home for those soldiers. Then they did it again, and again, reaching new soldiers each time. As they expanded their reach, they realized the true size of the need. LeAnn's effort had to grow outside her own small group of helpers. 

So she founded Support the Troops, WI, a 501(c)3 non-profit. Staffed by volunteers, many of whom are ex-military themselves, care packages contain donated candy, nonperishable food, activity books, DVDs, personal care items, and clothing. The 10,000th care package was mailed to a US military soldier serving overseas this month.  

Friday, December 1, 2017

What I have in common with Meghan Markle

This week, millions of people were delighted to learn of Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle.

Folks who know me will tell you - I don't keep up with pop culture. I didn't know much about this young woman, but I wanted to learn. I came across this video of a speech she gave at the 2015 UN Women's Conference.

The story she shares here reminds me of something I did at about eight- or nine-years-old. I spent part of my allowance on a cherry Tootsie Roll lollipop (my favorite.) When I got to the lollipop's center >gasp<  there was NO Tootsie Roll center! It was all lollipop.

I told my mom about my disappointment. She encouraged me to write a letter to the company, which I did. Together, we found the company's address, included the chewed-up stick and the colored wrapper as evidence with the letter, and mailed it off. Lo and behold, a couple weeks later, a package arrived addressed to me. Inside was a large box of Tootsie Roll lollipops with a letter of apology.

Now, I didn't keep the company's letter. The size of the box was probably smaller than I remember.  But one thing remains with me decades later - the lesson. I learned that complaining to people around me will do no good. I learned the power of speaking out against a wrong, be it small or large. I learned that the only way things will ever change is if I am part of the solution.

Based on her speech, that is a belief Meghan Markle also holds close.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

This Holocaust survivor donates $1 million to support American soldiers who saved him

Bernard Darty is in his eighties, but he's never forgotten the gift of freedom and who gave it to him.

A native of Paris, Darty was just seven during the Nazi occupation of France. When French police led a roundup of Jews in 1942, his parents fled their apartment for a relative's house on the outskirts of Paris. With the police on their heels, his father hid in a grocery store. After Bernard was safe at the home, his mother and brother set out to find his father and get him to safety, but his mother was detained. She perished in Auschwitz. 

So Bernard and his brother spent the next two years in hiding, shuffled from house to house on the outskirts of Paris. Food and safe shelter were scarce commodities, scarcer by the day. 

Then came the Normandy invasion in June 1944. Darty remembers the American soldiers giving out sweets, smiling, kindly saviors for him and the other war-weary children of France. He knew these men had saved them. He has never forgotten that. 

Now a retired European businessman, he and his wife leave their home in France each year to winter in South Florida. He has decided to give back to the people who gave him the chance to enjoy his life - the American soldier. He told Fox News, "And so this year I’m saying “thank you” to the American soldiers of the 1940s by donating $1 million to organizations serving wounded American veterans today. My donation to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Services for Armed Forces program of the American Red Cross is my way of giving back, thanking previous generations of warriors for helping me. I hope this inspires others to give back as well."

A wonderful thank you, indeed.