I'm 10 days into my New Year's challenge of giving something every day (a.k.a. 365 gifts) and so far it's been quite fun.
As planned, my daily gifts have been a combination of new/purchased items (i.e. coffee beans to thank our lovely hosts in Kitchener) and donations of used items (i.e. a blanket and flannel sheets for my favourite food bank).
But I've had to pace myself and am purposefully not filling up the donation bags as full as I can. 355 days to go, I remind myself. So in some ways this is curbing my generosity.
Like yesterday, when I was at the Parkdale Food Centre chatting with the Executive Director Karen Secord, she told me about a new bakery in the 'hood - Bread By Us. They have a suspend system where clients can buy a loaf of bread and pay for another one which is 'suspended'. Karen directs her clients to the bakery and they can receive a loaf of suspended bread, no questions asked.
"Go now," Karen urged me - and tried to convince me that 8-month-old Nisha really needed a cookie.
Sounds great, I thought. But I'd just dropped off my donation for the day, so I'm going to save it for another time. This delay felt a bit counter to the spirit of this project.
That said, I have had to make some modifications to the project. Since I don't usually have access to a car during the week, it's hard to deliver my gifts or donations outside of walking distance. So on the days I can't deliver, I'm setting the bag or box in the sun room. And I'm not going to let myself cheat here (no saying, I'll put that together tomorrow). By the time I tweet it (#365gifts), anyone can show up and say 'I hear you have a donation for ... and I have to be able to hand it over. I also appreciate organizations like the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy who will pick up donations.
This means on the days I do have the car, I'm get to feel like Santa, driving around with my gifts to deliver. Ho ho ho!
But I have discovered that this project is going to require a lot of research, at least if I'm going to stick with my goal of trying to intentionally place items where they are needed and not just dump everything in a charity donation bin. I really appreciate the organizations, like Ottawa's Youville Centre, that provide an online list of items needed.
I'm also keeping a little notebook with ideas for donations, places that accept used items, etc. It's great too that friends are starting to make suggestions.
And more ideas are certainly welcome - 355 days to go!