I often will get an idea or thought that seems to bounce loudly around inside my head, sometimes the ideas are a tad odd even from my perspective, while other times the ideas are more useful or maybe even productive. I woke up this morning with one thought that stood out above the rest. “A little help from everyone can do a lot” is the thought. I know there are those who might say “I’m poor and can’t afford to help others”. I’d like to challenge this thinking, with examples of things I do myself that anyone with a heartbeat could potentially do.
I know I’ve talked about these things on here before, but I feel like it’s a good reminder to each of us, even myself, about how powerful a simple action can be to someone else.
I give blood, hair and pull tabs when I’m able to. By saying “when I’m able to” is basically saying that there are things that come into play that prevent me from doing this more often than I do now. With blood donations which really could be viewed as the gift of life, I seem to randomly qualify to give. Sometimes the finger prick test indicates I’m not able to donate because some level they are looking for is low. One time, I was told I couldn’t donate because my pulse was too fast that day. So medically speaking even though I show up to donate, things don’t always work out to where I’m able to do so safely. I would love to make more hair donations as well, but unfortunately hair grows slowly, so it takes a few years for me to grow enough length to make a donation, but it is something I aim for and once I have 10 inches of length I make a donation and start the process over again. Pull tabs are something I’m able to donate more often. I not only save the tabs I dig up while metal detecting, but I also will watch for stray cans lying around on the ground when I’m out walking. I’ll harvest the tab, and toss the rest of the can in my recycling bin.
This blog is something I view as a way I’m able to help others as well. I don’t always know who I’m impacting, but over the years I’ve met some of my readers and have been blessed with compliments about my efforts. I don’t get paid money for maintaining this blog, but for me, just knowing that maybe I’ve raised awareness about a given issue pertaining to mental health is payment enough. I also use my blog as a platform to try to enable those on the front lines of the issues to shine and raise awareness of the efforts they are making. based on some of the people who I’ve met that have said they read my blog, I know that folks seem to come from all walks of life. I’ve gotten feedback from journalists, lawyers, self-advocates, others who like me face a daily struggle of living with a mental illness. Those are just the folks I know about, I’m sure there are many others that also read this blog.
I’ve taken up loom knitting over the past couple years, and have found I really like knitting cloths that can be used as either dish cloths or face cloths. Since I’ve given cloths to all my friends and family, I’ve got an idea for a way I can help someone else through my knitting. There is a women’s shelter in my area, and I’m thinking about reaching out to them to see if I could donate a bunch of cloths to them to help the women who come through the shelter who may be in a place where they are starting their lives over. The only cost with this project is the yarn, but the dish cloth yarn is pretty inexpensive and I can get LOTS of dish cloths out of a single spool of it, I estimate that I have gotten at least 30 cloths knit from one spool of this yarn. The spool is about $8 at Wal-Mart, for Peaches & Creme yarn a spool of it weighs just shy of a pound coming in at 14 ounces. I keep a few for myself, but mostly I knit the cloths for the purpose of giving them away. I love to see the smiles on people’s faces when I give them a cloth that I knit. I’m always amazed at how impressed people are with these little cloths that I think take me about an hour or less to knit, yet to see the reactions to them, I get the impression that people think I worked on each one for days. Sometimes helping others offers some amusement for myself, not to mention when I’m feeling moody or maybe even a little depressed, I’m finding that giving someone a dish cloth actually brightens my mood when I see their wonder and amazement over the simple gift.
These are just a few of the things I have found that allow me to help others for little or no money. I live below the federal poverty level so I feel like this is a case where I truly am suggesting something that anyone with a heartbeat could potentially do.
I would like to encourage folks reading this to look at what they do have and see what kind of creative ways they can find to help others it doesn’t have to cost a lot, but sometimes the greatest gifts I’ve received were the ones with the smallest price tag, because to me it was more about the idea someone cared enough about me to give me something or spend time with me, or even help with my odd projects. Sometimes simply caring is the perfect starting point.