Giving a Hand Up, Not Out

Gathering Donations

Every now and then something just happens in life and an opportunity to really make a difference in another person’s life presents itself.

If you are like me you want to help others whenever you, can but it is difficult to know how to step in and help those in need in a direct kind of a way. You know what I mean, you might know a family that looks like they could use some help, but the last thing you want to do is offend them so you hold back unsure of yourself. Other times you might see a homeless person panhandling on the side of the road and part of you really wants to help but you don’t want to give them cash if they are an addict; instead you want to help clothe them or feed them and that seems so big that we get scared away. In the end we give to charities that we hope put the help in the hands of those who need it but we never know for sure.

This week an opportunity presented itself to me on Facebook of all places! You see I was just checking on my friends various lives when a post come up from a friend asking if anyone had a baby crib available. The post was from an old friend of mine, the dad of my daughters’ best friend and college roommate. Billy owns an auto repair shop and said he had a young man (only 20 years old) working for him who just got custody of his 7 month old baby boy and he was in need of baby equipment, specifically a crib.

My first response was “darn, I don’t have one, I long ago gave away all our baby gear. I wish I could help but I can’t” but then a thought hit me, “Wait a minute! I don’t have any baby gear anymore but I sure do know a lot of moms, maybe one of them has a crib that this young Dad could use.” I wrote back to Billy and told him I would send out an email to a bunch of my mom friends and see what I could come up with.

I sent out the email and explained the situation. Within minutes I started getting responses. One mom had no crib, but did have a changing table and dresser, desk and full size bed. I shot an email off to Billy and asked if the young Dad could use this stuff. Just as fast was the answer “yes, this kid could use anything” in fact, “about all the young Dad has is a job with me.” Billy finally told me.

Next came a crib offer, complete with a mattress! Soon a high chair and a stroller were offered. Baby boy clothes and toys were promised.

I spent the afternoon receiving and sending email messages back and forth. Every time something new would come in I’d send a note to Billy making sure the young Dad did in fact need the donated item. Soon enough of the puzzle pieces had fallen into place. The young Dad needed everything in the way of baby equipment and clothes. Billy stated repeatedly that the young man was a great guy he was just in a very difficult situation and it was a long sad story how he came to get custody of the baby boy.

That was all I needed to know. I spread the word among the mothers, explained that anything they could donate would be a GREAT help to this young man. Even if the donation were an old stroller, at least the dad would have a stroller for now!

Several of my mom friends got back to me and said they had also given away all their baby stuff but that they would be happy to pick something up for this young Dad. “Wow!” I thought. “These mom’s are impressed enough with this young Dad’s courage that they are willing to buy something brand new for him!” I was amazed at the generosity of my friends.

A Full Load

The process continued for 4 full days, the donations arriving daily. My husband and I got the trailer from work and went around and picked up the larger furniture items and soon the trailer was full.

On Sunday one friend showed up with a dozen brand new items and a toy storage unit her children had used when they were little. It seems this mom took her kids to Target and got them involved in helping this young Dad and his son. Her kids helped her select bottles, sippy cups, bibs, blocks, diaper ointment, baby cereal, bath toys and more!

My own daughter went through her entire bedroom and came up with 3 well loved Teddy Bears, several books and a couple of toys. As I started digging around the house I found an extra first aid kit, a toy box, and an extra vaporizer. Then I headed to Target myself and found a dozen little boy items on the Clearance isle including a winter coat!

I heard back from my friend Billy today as I let him know of the extra items that had rolled in. His reply was perfect “OMG, this kid is going to shit! Lol!”

Well, I do hope that he understands that the world is full of very good people and when you stand up for what is right and try to do the right thing people notice.

I will tell him when I meet him in the morning that there was an army of mom’s out there and when they heard about his situation wanted to donate so that he had the proper tools to take care of his son. This was not a hand out, it was a hand up and there is a big difference. The only thing these moms wanted in return was his word that he would take excellent care of his baby boy.

Truck Full

I had several people tell me what a great thing I was doing to help this young Dad. I only sent out some emails but it did feel good to know that a 7-month-old baby boy would sleep well tonight in a crib, wrapped in soft blankets with a full tummy. I hope this young dad realizes the huge responsibility and blessing he holds in his hands. I pray that the two of them will make their way safely in this big old world.

One of the items on my bucket list was to help someone who really, really needed the help. I think my friends and I might have given a hand to a young man who really needed it this week.

Baby Items

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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  1. vicki creigh says:

    Very special, we can all help a little and that builds up to a lot!

  2. What a wonderful & inspiring story! Now that’s a great way to use Facebook!

    • Bucketlistblogger says:

      Annette, I thought it was a pretty cool way to maximize social networking too! I did meet the young Dad and he is amazing. He was so grateful for all the love and support and when he looked through all the donated items it as like he was a kid a Christmas time! He is so excited for his son and says his apartment now looks and feels like a real home. That is about the best thank you I could imagine hearing. Thanks again to all my friends and family how donated items. You guys are the best! I have been blessed with incredible friends.