----I've lived in extreme circumstances and feel thoroughly blessed at this time in my life. Yes, I'm in debt. True, I have nothing saved for a rainy day and barely even for an emergency. I don't agree with credit cards and thus don't have the visa safety net either. However, I have a roof over my head, a good job, assets that I could liquidate if I really had to and a warm comfy bed to sleep in every night.
I have been in rough places. I've slept on air mattresses in the basements of friends or family. I've gotten my weekly groceries from a food bank. I've had to walk or ride a bike to get anywhere because I had no vehicle and even the cost of public transportation was too much. I've worn layers of sweaters because I broke the zipper in my winter jacket and couldn't afford to replace it. I've 'made do' with the same shoes for many years, shoes I got second hand and wore until they simply fell apart. I've even lived in the stinky small apartment, furnished with next to nothing, in the seediest part of the city, because the rent was like a quarter of any decent place.
We had help. We had friends or family who could give us the space in their basement. We always got by. We never had much, but we always found what we needed. I'm truly blessed.
That's why I'm humbled with the efforts of a young boy, who at 12 years old (just a bit older than my Macboy) felt the pull on his heart to reach out and help the homeless in his city. He enlisted his mom and for 5 years filled and delivered backpacks full of basic necessities to the homeless. He developed sponsors and media friendships and grew his little dream each year.
Jesse can be a role model for my kids. Now focusing on school work to graduate grade 12 with honors, he had to make the rough decision to let go. Not knowing if anyone would step up and carry on his private passion.
In steps Bubbleup Marketing, a local company searching for a way to give back to it's own community. It was a miracle of timing, Jesse reaching out and Jason searching for just that message in the same moments. BubbleUP Marketing will continue to spread the hope inspired by this young man through the Bag Of Hope campaign. There are good causes out there, there are good people who just want to help for the sake of helping. Not for gratitude or financial gain, just to share a little bit of hope to others.
I pray that my children will never have to live through dire circumstances, but rest easier knowing that there are still good people and good organizations that can support them and provide the hope they may need to take just one more step.
I believe that NO ONE is ever homeless by CHOICE. Perhaps there is an illness or addiction involved. I have seen my own fair share of struggles and have handled extreme mental illness and serious addictions in my family. I am eternally grateful to each and every person who has helped those that I love. But who helps those who have no family? Who reminds them that there is a reason to hope? Who can step up and say to them, "There is a way out. It will be hard, but it can happen for you too."?
Inspiring hope, building your own community, restoring faith... that's what organizations like this are for. So much more than a toothbrush or a warm pair of gloves. Sure there are starving children in Africa, but you know what? There are children, families, adults in the same position everywhere. In tough economic times (I'm reluctant to believe that recovery is happening) there are people in need in every city, possibly just down your street. I would bet that there is an organization in your town, your city, doing something to help it's own citizens.
I urge you to step out of your comfort zone. Step up and show someone you care. You have no idea how inconceivably small the effort can be for you, compared to the impact it can have on the recipient. And in due course, it has an impact on your neighborhood, your city, your country. Teach your children to be giving, by being an example.
Give when you are blessed with extra, in hopes that you never need the favor returned.
I believe it can be a simple short slip in life that could send any one of us into despair.
Never take for granted what you have today.