Penny Worth of a Difference

 

Lately it seems as though there has been a great deal of bad news in the headlines. But, when I look around at the community of Columbia, Missouri I see a great deal of hope. Last weekend I met volunteers at a bake sale where proceeds benefit the MO Symphony Society. These ladies worked for two days selling, talking and promoting this amazing local organization.  When I asked them why they are a part of the MO Symphony Society committee, they  answered that they loved music.

When the event was over they donated the remaining items to the children and families of True North. True North offers shelter to women and children in abusive relationships.    Karen Hayes, Move in Specialist at The Village of Bedford Walk graciously gave of her time and picked the items up and delivered them to the undisclosed home where these women and children reside.

While the news of the outside world may be horrific, I see people giving of their time and energy to help make this world a better place. Our head corporate office of JES Holdings is holding a contest for the United Way called Quarter Bombs. Employees are divided into four teams, each headed by an executive. We are to collect as many pennies as possible in a week and place them in a jar. Other teams can add silver coins to our jar that will negate the value of the pennies already in there. This morning I had 18 emails pertaining to how our team might best win this game and how to strategize to compete against other teams. All of this fun is in the spirit of giving!

How will you give this holiday season? Wil it be in helping an under-privileged child open a gift at Christmas? The Voluntary Action Center of Columbia is in need of volunteers to help in gift collection and distribution for the many families in need.  The Boys and Girls Club is seeking new  $15.00 toys for distribution to the children they help.  One of my personal favorite ways to give is to volunteer at a food pantry. Columbia, Missouri has several to choose from and they are always looking for a set of helping hands, to serve or stock or donate.

Research shows that giving is good for our health and it makes us happy.  A study done in 1999 by Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkeley found that older adults that volunteered for two or more organizations lived five years longer than their counterparts. This took into consideration age, exercise habits, and general health. Giving promotes cooperation and social connections that we otherwise would not receive.  Furthermore, giving is contagious. Your generous behavior can trigger others to do the same.

In an ever changing world, where there seems to be global distress, the best way to combat it, is one person at a time. We all have control of just one person and that is ourselves. How will you give this holiday season? I do not know the answer to that, but I do know that if I go drop 1000 pennies in that jar outside my office, I just might make a difference.

Happy Holidays!

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