November 28, 2008

My UnBlack Friday

Today is Black Friday. I could have went shopping today. But I didn’t. In fact, I did just the opposite.

I do not think it is insignificant that the color black is used to define this day. I have nothing against the color -- in fact, I’m wearing it right now -- but its symbolism is powerful.

Did you know that someone was killed by a crowd rushing the entrance to a Wal-Mart this morning? I don’t even know what to say to this. It completely blows my mind that our world has reached a point where we are so desperate for material items that we could take the life of a human being this way. This is what this blog is all about: we seriously need to wake up.

When I woke up this morning, instead of standing in line for a deeply discounted television I started packing garbage bags with old blankets, pillows and stuffed animals that my mom and I found in our attic last night. (Disclaimer: I'm not saying this was an easy decision or that you made a bad one if you were out shopping. There were a lot of good deals and I don't blame you for taking advantage of them. Plus, you can do what I did any day. That's the beauty of it.)

I began my adventure in giving by taking a car load of items to Safe Harbour in Carlisle. The nonprofit group provides an emergency shelter for those in need of a secure place to live. It also provides long-term housing and offers programming to help individuals master basic life skills so they may eventually live independently. A list of items you can donate to them can be found here. To give money directly to Safe Harbour, click here.

For those of you who don’t live near Carlisle, you’ll have to do a little research of your own. Google is a fantastic creation. Try typing in “where to donate [insert item you’d like to donate] in [insert city and state here]." A couple other midstate places I found were Delta Community Inc. at 2041 N. 2nd St. in Harrisburg and the Bethesda Mission at 611 Reily St. in Harrisburg. More later on those groups and any others I come across. No matter where you live, there are similar organizations out there. Go find them.

After dropping off my goods at the shelter, I returned home to refill my car -- this time with old comforter sets, curtains and clothing (oh yes, we have unbelievable amounts of stuff in our attic - I had no idea). I hauled this stuff over to The Salvation Army. Perhaps you read my recent post about their Red Kettle program. The group also operates thrift shops, the proceeds from which support their Adult Rehabilitation program. They accept clothing, furniture and many other items. To find a shop near you, click here. To donate directly to the Salvation Army, click here.

I hope my small amount of effort today brings some warmth and comfort into the lives of those in need. I invite you to give it a try.


1 comment:

bruce said...

wow, you motivate me to make a difference. being here actually made me forget about this "wonderful" day we americans call black friday. it's amazing that you could take the day to focus on others and not yourself. i think i can learn from you jess, thanks for the inspiration!