Monday, November 10, 2014

Give Back

For years, I have given money to charitable causes, but not my time.  I am a bit of an introvert, so the one time we went to help at a rehab center for Christmas, I was awkward and uncomfortable, which my wife recognized right away.  I did not feel good and felt like I did not help out…I was done.  My daughter, Rebecca, goes a few times a year with my mother-in-law, Barbara, to a food kitchen.  When she comes home, she always feels good about herself and has wonderful stories about her day and the great impact she feels she is making.  I am very proud of her and secretly wish I could be like her in this case.

How many of you give to charitable organizations?  With almost a predictable certainty, at specific times of the year, we get calls (usually around dinnertime) from a donation drive, which may or may not be legitimate.  I love when you ask for more information to be sent in the mail, they “drop the phone”, and the line becomes instantly disconnected.  Sometimes, friends of ours are involved in a walk or a run, which we happily donate in support the events and our friends.  These are causes that they are personally touched by and passionate about.  Two of our friends do Meals-on-Wheels and enjoy the time they spend with the people receiving their deliveries.  It takes a special kind of person to interact with those in need.

And then, one day, a few years ago, a friend and fellow musician (he is a great saxophone player) asked if me if the band would want to play at a walk-a-thon for J-ADD (Jewish Association for Developmental Disabilities).  I pulled together a small group that included one of my brothers, the singer from our band, a friend (that has recorded albums with various groups) and my friend the sax player.  We practiced a few times, then played for a half hour before the walk and a half hour after the walk.  For the second set, we had most of the walk participants up on the stage with us dancing along.  At that one moment, it hit me…my heart swelled and a tear came to my eye (as is happening as I write this)…I found a way that I could have a personal, positive impact.  I looked over at the other band members and saw the same emotion etched on their smiling faces.  That was seven years ago and every year since we look forward to this most special gig.  Sometimes the member of the band changes, based on availability, but we all enjoy the opportunity to give back.

To donate to this wonderful organization, go to their website, http://www.j-add.org/ and click on the donation button in the top right corner.