My senior citizens have always been good about doing things for the community. Many of the craft supplies donated to them are turned into items which are then donated back to the community. In the past fifteen years, they've donated the equivalent of over $16,000 worth of goods to the community. A friend pointed out they used 1929 pricing to figure out that number, but it's still the thought that counts.
I've always been proud of what they do to aid others, thus proving themselves still useful no matter how many birthday candles go on their cake. Occasionally they receive a certificate of appreciation from a group and they once won a plaque naming their project with a group of college scholarship students from Central America as the best in the county.
But yesterday we received the most heartfelt thanks that anyone has every offered for their efforts.
We also recycle aluminum drink cans. Twice. The tabs are pulled off and set aside for a lady who collects them for Ronald McDonald House. Started by the McDonald's corporation years ago, throughout the country there are houses situated near hospitals where families may stay for free while their child is say undergoing chemo. Several families may stay at one time, giving everyone a built in support system in the frame of "you are not alone."
The cans have been donated to a variety of groups, from the Salvation Army to Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts of America to the Fire Dept. which sells them for a Burns Treatment hospital. We vary who receives the cans every couple of years in order to aid as many organizations as we can. I've always been very proud of them for using the cans to aid others. My Boss just doesn't understand why they wouldn't keep the funds themselves.
For the past two years we've donated the cans to a group of mentally challenged kids at a local high school. One of the senior ladies use to drive the bus for the group, which is how we got connected. The man in town who does the recycling gives these kids twice the price as he gives everyone else. Our cans last year made enough money for them to attend the State Fair and have an end of the year party.
Last week I handed over two large bags [as in 4 and a half foot tall!] of cans. As usual, the senior thanked me. I didn't think any more about it. Until I went to get the mail yesterday.
In the mailbox was a bright red envelope over a foot long, covered in white hearts.
I sat in the car, tired from cooking lunch and on my way to the afternoon program site. But the envelope was too intriguing to let sit. So I opened it to find the most touching hand made thank you card we've ever received. The kids had made it and it was covered with red hearts they'd cut out and pasted. Inside was a simple thank you but each kid had signed their name.
For a moment all the fatigue and annoyance of the day slipped away to be replaced by the world's largest grin on my face.
Life is not about being the richest or the smartest. It's about being appreciative. And to think we took what some see as trash and turned it into happiness for a group of people ranging from 14 to 90.
Love can be recycled. I have the card to prove it.