Thursday, 23 July 2015

One microwavable rice meal at a time

I've volunteered for things since I was a kid.  I'm sure my neighbours went running every time they saw me walking down the street as a 12 year old, as I was always collecting for the MS Readathon, Red Cross, World Vision etc.  I was not only on every committee, council and in every volunteer group all throughout high school, I created groups, like my school's Environment Club. I was that kid forever spruiking "donations over $2 are tax deductible" and being the diligent student rep for everything under the sun.  The volunteer / community section on my CV ended up longer than my career history.  

Over the last 10 year or so though, I've had to scale back.  I've done bits and pieces; kids hospital, soup kitchen, food van, nursing home, charity shop...but they've all been one off things.  I still manage to find myself on every committee wherever I go (!) and I'm a Justice of the Peace and a range of other things, but I haven't had the time to do anything significant, or ongoing, to help others.

As I'm sure we all do, I have a longing to help the entire world.  Everything and everyone.  I want to help everyone.

This photo is me back then, as I'd just lost 25.5kg, so that's how much I donated in food, too. Seeing it laid out like that and trying to carry it was really meaningful to me. And others got to benefit from it: win/win!

But sometimes big dreams are so big that they can overwhelm us to the point we don't do anything.  And that's how I've been about changing the world!  I'm just one person, Kate from Brisbane.  How can I actually help?

I thought about starting a food drive, and started dreaming it up in my head.  Back in 2012, a lovely friend at our boot camp at the time organised for us to donate our kg's lost, in the form of food, to charity.  Obviously helping charity was the great part, but actually seeing (and holding) how many kg's we'd lost made it interesting for us and gave us reality checks on how much we'd actually been physically carrying around. 

I thought about doing a similar thing now...but then felt discouraged.  Collecting a bit of food isn't going to make a difference to the world.  

That's when I remembered Loren Eiseley's starfish story.  (See picture).  

It helped me reason that if I can't singlehandedly take on the world, I thought I'll do the next best thing and do SOMETHING, even if it's small.

The starfish story made me think of what difference even one packet of microwavable fried rice, or one tin of pasta sauce could do for just one person.  I've seen stuff and personally experienced times that helped me know *just* how much that just one item could make a difference to one person.

It's not feeding the entire world, but feeding one person, knowing what joy that could give them, is just as important.  I'm sure there's a quote about helping those close to you, one person at a time.

I want to give a bit of spark back to people who need it in my own community, and give them a bit of Christmas .... just in July. So I decided to set up a donation drop off point where I'll collect food goods to then have distributed to charities to get to some of these people, just like my friend did for us back in 2012.

Long term readers will know what I'm like...I dream up big things and there's a bit of magic in my dreams where I innocently just believe everything will be fine and work out.

But in reality, things are not always easy.  This food drive ended up so complicated and took me a lot longer to organise than I could have imagined.  I ended up having to speak to organisations...there were permits, regulations and so much unexpected red tape.  It was actually so disheartening and there was one point I was close to tears because I couldn't believe how difficult it was to do something so simple.  On the inside I was screaming that I just wanted to help people!

But I perservered and it's happening! 

I got the amazing charity OzHarvest onboard, and they'll be collecting the food and distributing it to the people around me who really need it. 

So if you're in Brisbane, please feel free to donate!  It will be like Christmas in July (the donation drop off date is even 25th July!) 

The details are all below on the picture, as well as a short list of just some of the items that we'd love to collect.  Any food is welcome, but keep in mind that we won't have refrigeration on the day, and they don't like to accept shellfish.

I'll be there for the hour, so that people can drop by at any time within that hour, with their donations.

Donations don't have to be weight related of course!  I'm also sharing this within my personal circle and am collecting items at work as well.  The weight lost / kg things is just a bit of fun to keep it interesting for my fitfam!

I've also raised the challenge for people who don't live in Brisbane, or who can't get there on Saturday, and have encouraged them to check out their weight loss in food items, and donate them to a local charity.  I've had a few people do this on Instagram so far, so if you're reading this blog post, then I encourage you, also!
My #12wbtmayround donation

I got my donations ready tonight, and laid out 8.7kg worth of food in front of me: the amount that I've lost during the May round.  This is my pic :)

I don't know how many donations we'll get on Saturday.  I was getting worried until I remembered the starfish story again.  No matter how many people turn up, every single item will make a difference...and that's all that matters.  There's so many people who are closer than we know, who could do with some assistance.  They're our own neighbours and people we walk past on the street.  When I think about one microwavable rice meal at a time, and how that would feel, I know that this small thing is certainly making a difference.  It's not just a whole bulk of food being collectively shipped to another place and not really making much of an impact. Instead, it be an actual person disadvantaged for whatever reason, looking down at a microwaved rice meal as if it is edible gold. 

I'm going to live by the starfish story from now on. 

Details for Saturday

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