Vending Some Hope For Humanity

, , , , , , | Hopeless | March 16, 2018

The week before Christmas, my brother-in-law and his family stayed with us for a few days. They wanted to meet up with his grandmother while they were here, so we tried to think of a warm place to sit and visit with her. We decided on the lobby of one of the buildings on Temple Square, since it was near Grandma’s apartment. We also wanted to visit the Light the World vending machines in that lobby. These were five charitable vending machines that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had temporarily placed that allowed the user to choose specific donations to some organizations.

When we arrived at the lobby, we found that a local high school madrigal group was performing Christmas carols. We very much enjoyed visiting quietly on the ground floor while the choir sang in the mezzanine above. As we neared the time we had to leave for other appointments, my nieces and nephew were steered toward the vending machines to choose their gifts for the charity.

One niece chose 100 meals for the food bank. The other chose a pair of glasses for the eye-care group. As my four-year-old nephew was trying to choose his gift (he eventually chose to help the water charities), I realized the choir had stopped singing. I looked around to find that most of those teenagers had joined us at the vending machines, even having to stand in line to reach them. They had just finished their third of five concerts in various buildings on Temple Square that same day, and instead of resting or visiting the small cafe in that same lobby, they had come to spend their money on other people. No one forced them. No one was watching to make sure the money wasn’t used elsewhere. They chose to do it.

Makes you think there’s hope for the future, after all.

Toying With The Charities

, , , , | Hopeless | March 6, 2018

(It’s December. My mother is at the checkout in a supermarket.)

Cashier: “Hello! Today, and only today, you can have a free soft toy with your groceries! Would you like one?”

(The toys are adorable, small, and soft baby animals.)

Mother: “Yes. Can I have the baby penguin one, please?”

Cashier: “Of course. You’re going to make your grandson or your granddaughter very happy!”

Mother: “Actually, I do voluntary work for a charity. Every year, we give Christmas presents to children whose parents are too poor to afford it.”

Cashier: “That’s such a beautiful thing to do!”

(She looks very moved. The following week, my mother goes to the same supermarket. At the checkout, there’s the same cashier.)

Cashier: “Hello! You’re the lady who works for a charity, aren’t you?”

Mother: “Yes, I am.”

Cashier: “I told all my coworkers about you and we all agreed to do something for you. These are the soft toys nobody wanted. We would like you to give them to your wonderful charity!”

(She gave her a big bag full of cute toys. So, thanks to these lovely ladies, more children had toys for Christmas!)

Cancers On Society

, , , , | Right | February 9, 2018

(I work doing door-to-door fundraising. At this moment we’re representing a cancer charity. I knock on the door of a house, but it appears that it’s going to be a “No Answer.” I start to head off, but I spot a man in his dressing gown coming out of the side door.)

Me: “Hello, how are you doing? My name is [My Name]. I’m from [Charity]! We’re just doing a local campaign in your area.”

Man: “Oh. I thought it was something important.”

Me: “Well, cancer is important.”

(He headed back inside, regardless. You’d think if you’d bothered to walk all the way out of your house in your dressing gown, you might as well spent a minute or two hearing out my pitch.)

Acting Like They Were Born Yesterday

, , , , | Working | November 28, 2017

(My dog has just given birth to puppies. Two days later, when I take them and the mother to the SPCA — Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — to get checked:)

SPCA Person: “If you want us to check your dog who just had puppies, you need to supply a certificate to show she’s been neutered.”

Me: “…”

How Very Tot-ful

, , , , , , | Hopeless | November 18, 2017

Every fall, we run a donation drive to benefit Toys for Tots, an organization run by the United States Marine Corps which collects new, unwrapped toys, and donates them to children whose families can’t afford them for the holidays.

Today, I had a family come through my line to buy a parakeet: a father, his daughter, around 12 or 13 years old, and his son, around 9 or 10 years old. After ringing up the bird, I asked the father if he’d be interested in donating to Toys for Tots. He turned to his daughter and said, “It’s your money; it’s up to you.” She said, “Yes. It’s a nice thing to do.”

This year, we have stuffed dogs, cats, and bunnies available for donation. The bunny is very popular, and when people ask to donate a specific toy, that’s almost always the one they choose. I asked the girl if she cared which toy she donated, and sure enough, she chose the snuggly pink rabbit.

Each toy has a name. The dog is Chance, the cat is Lucky, and the bunny is Hope. So, I told this sweet young girl who chose to spend $5 of her own money, “Thank you; you’re giving a child Hope,” and her face lit up. I won’t soon forget this young girl or her generosity.

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