Marc and I were invited to a unique gathering last night. Two couples hosted a wine and cheese reception for a group of about fifty people. Those in attendance may or may not have previously known one another, ages varied (we were definitely among the youngest participants), we all came from a range of backgrounds and interests. That said, we all had at least one thing in common: All are actively engaged in some way or fashion in community service.
After some mingling and wine tasting in a lovely home, everyone was shepherded to the basement where we were formally greeted by the hosts who described the event as both social and experimental whereby they hoped to introduce their diverse group of community-minded friends to three organizations with one mission – “to help make a difference in our community.” Then, we were treated to brief (about 7-10 minutes each) presentations by three local not-for-profit organizations:
- The first, Boys Hope Girls Hope, empowers academically capable and motivated boys in need to overcome the ill effects of adverse family, school and neighborhood environments.
- The second, Care of Poor People, provides food, clothing and other materials to the poor and homeless for their survival during winter and summer.
- The third, Community LINC, seeks to end homelessness, impact poverty and remove barriers to self-sufficiency by providing shelter, coaching, housing, life skills, budgeting, wellness, employment and children’s programming.
I, for one, was not previously aware of these worthwhile and important organizations; it was wonderful to learn about them. What I loved best was that we were not asked expressly for money. No; instead, each organization shared a variety of ways that they could use our involvement. Sure, I am certain that each would welcome financial contributions. Beyond that though, we were invited to get to know recipients of the organizations’ services, to help tutor children, to sort and distribute donations, to offer gifts of expertise like web design skills or database management insight, etc. We were introduced to any number of ways that we could consider getting involved. In fact, Marc and I committed to preparing a meal for the two kids living at the single family home operated by Boys Hope Girls Hope and to volunteering as a family for the COPP holiday event in November.
In addition to getting to know three organizations in the community that I had no prior knowledge of, I also met or became reacquainted with several of the other guests – with whom I share a common interest in community service. What a fun way to get to know others!
Do you have a charity or cause or concept about which you are particularly passionate? Want to educate your friends about it, too? Consider this type of event in your community. Especially as the holiday season approaches, the combination social – social justice theme could work quite well for a holiday get-together with both community and social benefits.