The Power of Doing Good

Mediaon December 7th, 2017Comments Off on The Power of Doing Good

Tiffany Smith was on her way back from Singapore when I called her on the phone. She had been traveling overseas on business and was eagerly looking forward to sleeping in her own bed that night. Despite being jet-legged and exhausted, she made time that night to meet with the small group of girls she had mentored and guided for many months.  Tiffany is one of many moms in the Ivy Hills neighborhood of Anderson Township in Cincinnati who mentors a group of little girls from Mercer Elementary. She invited me to join her group that November evening at her home.

In the early evening hours of that cold and windy day, I arrived at Tiffany’s beautiful home. I walked into a warmly decorated living room furnished in bright colors to meet nine remarkable little ladies who were smart, articulate, well-mannered and kind. They took turns describing their project in great detail to me and together we watched a movie clip about the Freestore Foodbank. They charmed me with their innocence and inspired me with their faith in the power of doing good. The girls, ranging in age from five to eleven meet informally every week. They hang out together, do projects, talk and watch movies. For many weeks the group had been collecting a couple dollars from its members at every meeting. They developed a list of how they could put the money to good use to help others in the community and voted to pick the most popular idea. The winning option was to help children whose families could not afford to celebrate birthdays. “Birthdays are so important to us. We cannot imagine how sad it must be for kids whose parents cannot afford to celebrate their birthday. So we decided to help them,” remarks Audrey Smith, Tiffany’s ten-year-old daughter.

The group made plans to prepare 20 party bags, each filled with supplies needed to celebrate a child’s birthday. In early November, the girls purchased 20 boxes of cake-mix, icing, disposable baking pans, party favors, party hats and decorations as well as $5 gift cards to the neighborhood grocery store to get oil and eggs for the cake. They also bought 20 sets of invitation cards and thank you cards. The plan was to donate them to the Freestore Foodbank. As I sat on the couch with the little girls scattered around me and a friendly black Lab nuzzling my hands I felt that teaching children to be kind was perhaps more critical than math and science!

I watched with admiration and wonder as Tiffany pulled a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies from the oven and worked with the girls to put colorful “birthday bags” filled with goodies together, only a few hours after stepping off a flight from Singapore. “I cannot think of a more wonderful and worthwhile way to spend time with the girls,” she commented as I watched her help the girls fill bags and prepare cards. The next day, the girls delivered the bags to the Freestore Foodbank’s Customer Connection Center.

As the Freestore Foodbank works to end hunger and bring stability to the lives of our neighbors, we are grateful for the opportunity to inspire others to do good and spread the message of hope and generosity in the world.