Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmoose

A completely off-topic post about volunteering and generosity. I took up Dirk Hayhurst on his Best-Snowman-Slash-Best-Cookie challenge, to possibly win something.

Hey, it's Christmas Eve Eve, and I'd be doing my baking anyway, so why not?

I present... (drum roll)... The Garfookie.

It was the most disturbing thing to come out of my kitchen since 1998, when, for a Halloween party, I scammed some tubes from the hospital lab at which I worked and filled them with shooters that eerily resembled human blood.

Everything went wrong with Mission Garfookie. It was almost a giant pile of GarFail. I sculpted a brilliant Garfoose out of cookie dough, then forgot that cookie dough melts as it bakes. So I had to perform some surgery half way through and put it back in the oven. Then, my red cake gel was all watery - go figure, it was three years old - so the accompanying baseball Garfooseberry cookie looked like someone randomly bled on it.


No matter.

He didn't attach any trivia this time, but a lot of Hayhurst's motivation behind his contests is to educate people about causes that are close to his heart. Whether it's something that resonates with you is irrelevant: he just wants you to do something, and so do I.

I had an interesting conversation with a coworker last week. We were discussing volunteering. When you think of the word "volunteering", you automatically associate it with a job. Even if it's just three hours a week, it's usually structured like a job. You have to go for training, you have to find someone to cover your shift if you can't make it, blah blah blah... who has time for another job?

Not me. Not him, as we discussed.

But honestly, what I think is more important is having a volunteer spirit. Look around you and see what you can do. Think of things that involve little or no money:
- Is there someone to whom you could offer carpooling?
- Are there young parents you could help out by offering to babysit?
- Do you know any elderly neighbors, friends or family members who could use a hand? You could take them shopping, help them with yard work, or walk their dog.
- The next time you shovel snow, could you keep going for other people on your street? I always do my entire street. I live downtown and weekend snowstorms in particular leave travelers struggling to get to the bus terminal at the bottom of my street. Been there, done it a million times: I sure feel compassion for the pedestrians trying to navigate downtown streets.
- Practice random acts of kindness wherever you can. Recently, I printed off a bunch of copies of a coupon for a local discount store, and handed them out to anyone in the store that looked like they were spending enough money to use the coupon. Spend $50 and save $10. I knew I wasn't going to spend that much, but to those doing their Xmas shopping there, that $10 can mean a lot this time of year.
- Donate your old stuff to charities.
- If you have a few bucks, buy a few things every time you're at the grocery store, and put them in the food bank bin. Most major grocery stores have these.
- Are there charities that could use your skills? Graphic design, data entry, health care, skilled trades... is there someone who could benefit from your skill set?

Point is, don't give up on the idea of volunteering just because you don't have time for Capital-V Volunteering. Do what you can, whenever you can.

Merry Christmas. ♥

1 comment:

eyebleaf said...

Merry Christmas LJ. The Garfookie looks fantastic.