Roughly over a year ago, my family and I fell on really hard times. Times I don’t talk about to often, except where I feel it might help others. I was almost homeless when my husband and I split up. Yep. We did. It took us a year apart to come to realize that we do love each other, and during good and bad we wanted to stick it out, but it leads me to this..
I do believe things happen for a reason. If I never would have been down on my luck, I would have never switched to cloth diapers, and I would never in turn have found a wonderful non-profit that helps families in need, and I would not be helping other families in need now myself.
When I first heard of the non-profit that I would like to remain nameless for now, I was incredibly thankful that they provided cloth diapers to me free of charge, for my two children this put a lot of strain off of me. I was living with my grandparents who took me in and they wanted to purchase diapers for my two children, my newborn son E and Baby A at the time. Disposables are expensive. Really, really, expensive. They were already putting themselves out, by offering their home, growing by adding three new members to the household and strain of extra bills, which they themselves didn’t have extra money to spare, and were living off of Social Security. I didn’t want to burden them with any extra expenses. I learned a lot through out the year. We grew a lot of our own vegetables, they taught me how to reuse leftovers, that prior I might have taken for granted. I learned that things, are just materialistic. I learned to make a lot of what I wanted or needed in that time period. I learned the value of a dollar and what little income I had coming in. I invested in growing my company, which will also remain nameless, because this post is not about trying to gain financially, it’s to take a look into what giving people truly do for others. I truly learned the value of a dollar.
By almost the years end, I was slowly growing my stash for two. I was able to then give back what the non-profit had loaned to me and was able to provide a few of my own diapers that just didn’t work for myself or the kids. I learned to stretch my dollar. My prior Starbucks daily habit was cut short the day I left my husband. I learned to make my own just as good coffee from home. We walked a lot. I didn’t have gas, and didn’t want to spend money on gas, so we did a lot of walking, just so I didn’t feel like I was taking advantage of my grandparents. Getting a job with a newborn and a two year old and then nine year old were out of the question. My nine year old went to stay with my parents at the time (who were only 5 miles from me.) My grandparents picked and dropped my oldest off at school everyday, and I was able to see Mighty M everyday after school and she stayed the weekends with me. It was the hardest, lowest point in my life. Being separated from my husband and oldest child, having no income, not being able to afford anything is very, very hard. This post is also not meant for you to say, awwww poor me. No. I picked myself back up. Within a year my company was taking off to where I still had very limited funds, but was doing OK.
I paid back my grandparents when they lent me $150. to help me start my company.
I was able to save enough to move in my own place with a friend.
I made it, and was able to in turn start giving back.
I applied to help the non-profit, that helped me when I needed it. The money I saved from NOT having to purchase diapers, I was able to take my kids for ice cream, which at the time seamed like I could cry spending even $10. on ice cream I knew, I might not even have $5.00 the following week, but I didn’t want my kids to see how bad things really were. The ice cream and watching their faces as they enjoyed it, really helped me heal when times were rough.
For a year now, I have helped countless families, by teaching them or telling them how to apply. I have done Facebook chats, that engaged hundreds of people, teaching them about cloth diapers, or how to make their own from t-shirts, or hand-washing even. But, the helping didn’t stop there, when the Mr. and I got back together, we moved an hour away from my hometown. I was able to start my own area to help others, I was staying up late at night to mark diapers, to give to other grateful families. I was driving up to 30 minutes from my home to meet families that like me were truly happy to be helped, and it made my time away from my family rewarding. I spent a lot of time dedicated to the cause of helping others, which in turn takes time away from each of our own families. I spent upwards of 15-20+ hours for weeks on end, doing stuff that many of the families we helped wouldn’t even see, but would be beneficial to the non-profits future. A lot of the families would never even know how much time each of us spends on putting diaper packages together, or the time we spend cleaning and repairing to ensure that each family has what they need for success. When I had received my first package many moons ago, I too didn’t take that thought into effect. I didn’t stop to think that someone took their time away from their family to answer my emails, or questions, and that their time, like mine was valued when it was away from their families..
It gave me a whole new insight, on how giving people actually are. That time, sometimes is all someone needs, time to stop and answer a question, or an email, or even putting together a care package. That many non-profits are run by people like you or me, who volunteer their time, (and most often times their own funds) to helping others, selfless acts of kindness..
The reason, I feel so compelled to write this post, is because this week, a fellow volunteer like myself got a hate message. She was not happy with her donation she received, and my fellow volunteer, was on the verge of tears. She like us, has taken time from her job, and family to put this package together for another human being who had fallen on hard times, in turned to be basically punched in the stomach. There is nothing so hurtful, then doing something for someone else, for you to feel proud of to then in turn get a message that, “It’s not enough, or not good enough..” Our non-profit, like all non-profits work on donations and volunteered time from our families, from Moms and Dads, Brothers and Sisters. People who if they didn’t take time from their family, wouldn’t be able to provide meals, clothes, or even diapers to families in need. Please value someones time. That package came to you, free of charge, made with love. Weather you get a free meal, or Toys for Tots, something from any bank, someone spent their time putting it together for you, worked countless hours to hand you something. That took your needs into consideration. Non-profits work on donations. So please, don’t be ungrateful that what you receive isn’t the best of the best. It was a donated product. That most often is used. Please take this into consideration. I know when I was in need, I would have taken anything, no matter the appearance. As long as it was still functional, and as much as I hate to say this, beggars should not be choosers. I know I wasn’t when I was truly in need.
Take this time, and really think about what kind of work goes into the work these volunteers do. While most are grateful, you still get a few bad lemons. Maybe this will make one person stop to think, and hopefully it will still make some people want to volunteer, because at the end of the day, I love the fact that the time I do spend away from my family is helping other people too. Maybe it will make some stop and think about what work goes into these non-profits behind closed doors, and maybe just maybe it will make someone a bit more grateful in the future.