Updated: Jan 16
At the beginning of January in our community, there was an apartment complex fire. The fire displaced all occupants of the 11 unit complex. That night on a community Facebook page someone posted about the fire. The outpour of kindness and compassion among those in that group was some kind of wonderful. A little girl had lost her prized possession, a ukelele and a guitar. The members of that group took to finding her a replacement immediately. I was overwhelmed by how proud I was of where I live and the people that make up this beautiful fellowship. (I have talked to that little girl she now has 3 of each.)
Reading these posts at the same time my boss was could have been a coincidence but what happened next was utterly intentional. Tara and I were up all night trying to come up with ways to help. The next morning we got together to devise a plan to aid as much as we could. I am proud to work for Bella Sol Wellness Center where I get the opportunity to give back to the community in which I live and work in.
This time the cause was bigger than we dealt, so I started thinking big. I am tenacious so when I say big, I mean I was on hold on the phone for a good hour and a half to Procter and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, and Arm and Hammer. This was to no avail, due to the virus they have exceeded their donation allotment. They had grants but because of being in the cannabis industry, we are not a Federal 501c company. In lamens terms, our grants would have been denied. I do not mention these companies in a negative way. They were all very compassionate about our cause and tried to point me in the right direction. Being in the cannabis industry, I am used to the answer being no when asking for participation. It has actually lead to some of my best thinking outside the box to accomplish my goal. This time I needed to think smaller more specifically I needed to think locally.
Tara and I stopped in the Trophy house we were hoping perhaps they had an overstock of hats and gloves they could donate. When we explained the cause to the manager he did not hesitate to grab hats off displays and shelves as we spoke. Tara and I were browsing through the coat sale, when we heard I found some coats for you ladies. As we turned around and see the ample supply of brand new coats he was donating. You couldn't even see this man's face he was heaping with generosity. Tara and I walked out of there absolutely elated at the Trophy House generous donations. Tara and I went back to the phone lines in the lure of more donations. Tara called Dental Dreams they gave us so many cases of toothbrushes and toothpaste we had to make 3 trips back in to get it all. I called E&A they donated toiletries, Then on to JC Penny Salon in the Lakes Mall who donated shampoo and conditioner. Eikenhout gave us new t-shirts to give out to the families. Dominoes contributed a free hot meal to each family. Our patients were donating clothing my office soon began looking like the general store. Bella Sol still felt we could do more. These families had lost everything in that fire. Bella Sol donated $200.00 gift cards to Meijer per family.
Now we had to find a way to contact all the families affected by the fire. United Way helped put us in touch with a few tenants. One of the residents of the complex was able to provide most of the contact information. The local radio station 103.7 The Beat helped us find a few of the families as well. We were on a mission to be the helping hands they needed.
Upon meeting these families to give them their care packages we had collected. I did not anticipate the impact it would have on us. Tara and I have been involved in community outreach for over a year! We have helped families through the holidays and just as random acts of kindness, throughout the year we adopt a family to lend a helping hand to. We had a really positive experience just last month with our family we adopted for the holidays. It truly is better to give than to receive. Somehow Neither of us was prepared to be just as overcome with emotions as the families we were helping. To share a raw beautiful moment with a stranger will leave an impact on you. It's a positive one I am sure I would not do justice in a description. For that kind of beauty, it is not enough to just feel it you must let it overwhelm you. The pride we had in our community for stepping up. The pride in working where we do, that we were able to fill a need in the community. The joy of restoring someone's hope is picturesque!
We've had the pleasure of helping our fellow neighbors. If you have not had that opportunity to give back. You are truly missing out on some of the most sincere connections with a stranger you will ever make.