Many are thankful that 2016 is now over. Not everything that happened was positive – we lost beloved celebrities, Britain exited the European Union, there was major civil unrest in America, the Syrian conflict escalated, a treasured gorilla was killed, and clowns terrorized the masses. Even the food bank was hit – our vehicle was vandalized and then our computer equipment was stolen. By the end of the year, it felt like a race to end the madness. But was it really all that bad? What about all of the good things that happened? 200 strangers attended the funeral of a homeless vet with no known family, Seaworld agreed to stop breeding captive killer whales, a man committed to ending hate offered hugs instead of violence to police and protestors alike. Good deeds extended to the food bank as well. For example, a couple who previously used our services gave back in a big way by purchasing brand new equipment to replace stolen items. These events gave us hope that 2017 can be a great year! The smallest act can turn despair into hope.
Small and mighty acts are what keep the food bank’s doors open. We operate on the kindness of friends and strangers who provide food, funds, and time so that those in need receive groceries and nutrition education. Every contribution creates hope – 5 pounds of food, a few volunteer hours, or $10,000. The beauty of helping is that kindness doesn’t cost money, and love doesn’t require a good job. Everyone is welcome to participate, as long as they have a desire to do good in the world. You don’t need to be rich, retired, or in trouble.
So, what will you choose to do in 2017? Will the next 360 days be a treacherous trip of sadness and despair, or will it be an exciting journey filled with new experiences and joy? If something bad does happen, how will you respond to it? Treat each day as an opportunity to spread hope. Do not dwell on the negative, but rejoice in the positive.