For some #throwbackthursday fun, I wanted to reflect on our very first Village event….when a group of us met to assemble gift baskets for the mothers residing in the CYWA shelter in coatesville. It was our first real Village event!
Putting together gift baskets weren’t a part of our original wish list, but that’s really why we love the power of social media! A very sweet and generous member posted posted ‘I was going to make some gift baskets for the mothers in the shelter, because I’m sure the children are all getting things they could use, anyone want to help?’ – and boom! She had a half dozen other members who wanted to participate. Through a few comments and messages back and forth we had a venue (Habitat Studios), a date, a list of suggested items to buy, and someone bringing coffee (always need coffee)!
Now, a big part of our core values here at the Village is that anything we do has to be fun. If it gets stressful, or exceedingly difficult – it’s not worth doing. Helping and connecting with others should be a joyful experience! So did we really want to micro-manage this whole effort and make sure everyone was bringing separate items, and make sure the baskets were big enough, and make sure someone had gift tags and…yes, yes we did. But we didn’t! We let the village organically bring this together…we made sure the key elements were there and then we stepped back.
So yeah, did we have an inordinate amount of socks, yes. Did we have a wondrous selection of journals, pens and lip gloss? Sure. Did we run out of space in the little baskets so graciously donated and have to run out to Wegmans to buy reusable shopping bags? Totally. Did we have the most amazing time meeting other generous, beautiful individuals who only wanted to share the joy and love of the holiday season with those going through struggle and that made all that little stuff unimportant. Abso-friggin-lutely.
So I’ll tell you what. Our collective hearts were so full of joy at the end our hour together that strangers were hugging…and I mean big ‘ol bear hugs. We were exchanging numbers, coordinating the drop-off, committing to doing this again next year (with bigger baskets) and generally riding a natural high that can only come from sharing the love and helping your neighbor in need.
It was truly wonderful. And it set the tone for the Village moving forward. We won’t always donate in the vacuum of social media. We will get out there and see each other, speak to each other, bear hug each other (with consent) and Be the Village for each other!