WHAT IT IS
Each year for Grandma Lucy's birthday we do an act of service. We decided to make brown paper bag lunches to pass out to the homeless. We generally put in a sandwich, bottle water, fruit, granola bar and a treat. My cousin Courtney made the printout to staple the bags closed with.
HOW IT STARTED
There are two things that lead to this. The first is my aunt Holly. She had friends who did this for Christmas and so a few years ago it inspired my aunt to do it with her family as well. The first Christmas they passed out the lunches in Las Vegas. I think she did this for a few years before my family got involved.
Christmas 2011 my family was visiting Holly for Christmas in Mesa, AZ. Between our two families we made 100 lunches to pass out.
Christmas 2012 my family, Holly's family, my aunt Brenda's family and my uncle Merritt's family passed out 100 lunches in Salt Lake City, UT. It was during this time that we decided we wanted to do this another time of year as well and shouldn't just a be a Christmas tradition. That's where the second part comes into play. My uncle Merritt told us that for Grandma's birthday each year he does an act of service in her memory. So we decided to put the two together and do this for her birthday which is February 13th. Our family is a bit scattered so it's nice that no matter where each of us are we can contribute and have the service all throughout.
This year, my family along with Brenda's (Brenda's daughter and grandkids live in Portland so she decided to fly up and join us) family put together 101 lunches to hand out in Portland. It was an interesting experience. At first there were some people who didn't want to take them (a little paranoid) but once we found people they were so grateful - it was even someone's birthday. He was so happy to receive a lunch and he said he was going to go down to the waterfront to enjoy his birthday meal. He was all smiles and even laughed..I know Grandma would be so happy.
Now, sharing all of this is less about what we did and more about inspiring others like Lucy inspired us. Service is the best thing we can do for people we love and other's in our community. And I've mentioned before that acts of kindness is what's really going to "save us" and give everyone a bit of hope for the future. Things are scary out there and are probably only going to get worse. But I'd like to think we can all do our part to share the love we have for each other. Whether you're religious or not you can't deny that service to others .. even strangers .. will bring hope and happiness to everyone.
Our extended family has decided we'll continue to do this and would like to invite others to join as well. Whether it's one lunch or 100 .. it doesn't matter. You don't even have to make lunches, there are countless service opportunities out there, that's just one idea.