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Posts tagged ‘Christmas volunteerism’

All That Good Food: Plates for the Homeless COUPLES

Three homeless couples sleep in an empty duplex in the east part of St. Cloud, Florida. Two couples are in their late fifties. The third couple is in their seventies.

 

Two of the men are military veterans. Their physical damages, from serving in the Afghanistan War, are not considered severe enough to qualify them for help from any of those TV-publicized organizations for veterans.

 

In November of 2017, the owner of the duplex learned about his “guests.” He had the utilities turned back on through April of 2018.

 

My mother heard about the couples, while helping her local Friends of the Library group host its annual luncheon for the library staff.

 

So, what did she do?

 

An hour or so after the event ended, she went into the library staff’s kitchen. And, she fixed plates of leftover food for those three couples.

 

For each person, she fixed a plate with the following: a 3-inch sub sandwich, fresh (finger) veggies, fresh fruit sections, a tomato slice and large spoonful of cut lettuce, a few Dorito chips, and, a large spoonful of popped corn. Plus a thick, creamy-frosting topped cupcake, dropped into a foam cup for safer traveling.

 

Then, she took the two plastic bags of plated food to the nearby trailer park resident that knew the couples’ location.

 

Did my mother do the right thing?

 

After the lunch, a large quantity of food remained. After she fixed those six plates, a lot of food still remained for the library staff to munch on later.

 

Hopefully, why what Mom did – and how she did it – will count for something.

 

Christmas season or not, people need to eat to keep up their strength. And to avert more serious health problems. People over age 55 tend to have less reserve. Thus, they need to eat regularly and healthily. Preferably more than once a day.

 

When word about the couples reached my mother’s ears, she knew what she needed to do.

 

Even if it meant leaving a ten-twenty dollar donation in the Friends of the Library’s “Jack Lynn Sorting Room” at the local library. (Which she’d do anyway.)

 

Even if it meant that she needed to inform the rest of her group about what she’d done. (Which she’s doing today.)

You see, until a year ago, all three men were able to work at least part time. One, in fact, as a residential painter. Now, only one of the men is able to stand or walk more than fifteen minutes at a time.

 

I’d like to say that Mom’s spontaneous, though unauthorized, act of kindness, on behalf of the group, was 100 percent okay. I don’t know for certain.

 

What my mother learned this morning, from that trailer park resident, makes me glad about things like the possible hidden opportunity that all that food provided.

 

Simply put: A need could be filled. Immediately.

 

HOW OFTEN DOES THAT HAPPEN WHERE YOU LIVE?

 

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Stepping out of one’s comfort and safety zone, for others, can be a sure step for society.

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Best regards. And thank you for clicking on “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World During Christmas

His eyes. There was something so familiar about those eyes. I couldn’t stop staring into them.

 

I was only two years old. But I knew those sea green eyes. From somewhere. Glistening and clear.

 

Of course. This was Santa Claus’s lap that I was sitting on. And, it was Santa that kept smiling, and laughing so jolly-like at me.

 

He was all dressed up in his bright red plush suit with the white fur trim, matching hat, and shiny black boots and belt.

 

Of course. My instincts were correct. The big, tall man with the white wavy beard that touched his chest?

 

It was my own father. He was playing Santa at IUPAT/ IBPAT Local 8’s Christmas party for the union member’s children. Like my one-year old sister. And I.

 

Christmas season can be a fun and rewarding time for a painter.

 

The union painter may be recruited to play Santa at the annual Christmas party for members’ children. (Like my Dad did for over five years.) He or she may serve as coordinator for the big boss and his wife’s holiday night out for the employee painters and their spouses/significant others.

 

A painter may be one of the volunteers that assembles bicycles and other “vehicles” to help out Santa’s helpers-parents. He or she may help collect, then wrap toy donations for the local children’s home. The painter may represent the shop, and make the rounds to the local paint manufacturer’s stores’ open houses held for trade customers.

 

He and other crew members may be “volunteered” to paint scenes and props for the local Christmas parade float. Or sets for the community theatre’s annual Christmas production starring local children.  The painter may join the construction trades’ community charity chorus.

 

The independent painter may reach out to his or her community, and lend a hand wherever it’s needed. Even in the public school system, or at a shelter. He or she may offer tools and equipment to make others’ holiday tasks easier, and safer. Special skills and abilities may be donated to help local non-profits tackle their holiday community projects and programs.

 

At any older neighborhood church, the help of a younger and more agile painter/ craftsperson would be appreciated in decorating. Also setting up the traditional outdoor nativity scene. Even preparing for the special meal for people that are homeless or alone.

 

What about the staff painter? Show a little enthusiasm for the season; and you’re recruited for major holiday decorating. Stringing thousands and thousands of Christmas lights throughout the property. Examples: Those tall, tall Palm trees. Decorating the swimming pool areas. Painting, then setting up exterior and interior holiday displays. Helping create a special space – presence – for dear old Santa. Decorating the halls and lobbies, and other high traffic areas. (One year, we also decorated the public restrooms.)

 

What had been one of my favorite on-the-job holiday projects? Helping the rest of the staff set up their special displays and holiday activity areas.

 

By the way, your ChristmasNew Year week may be just around the corner – or already here. There’s still time. to grab your talents, pack essential tools and equipment, and head out to help make the season bright, cheerful and hopeful. For others!

 

And, that’s what this season is all about.

 

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Holiday bliss follows a benevolent heart, and extra pair of hands.  RDH

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Best wishes from the network of people that make “Painting with Bob” possible.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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