As Dave and Jan were driving back from the airport, after dropping Mark and Candace off, they were discussing ways to put into action their plan to impact the local community. They had been inspired by Mark and Candace’s new adventure, but knew they could stay closer to home and come up with ideas on how to do this. Dave suggested they get their friends together and see how many others would like to join in. Jan took it a step further and suggested they do a “farm style” dinner, where they could sit out under the lights in the backyard, enjoy good food and wine while they put their heads together.
As the date for the dinner approached, they realized that four couples had responded and they’d have ten for dinner. It was harvest time, so Jan suggested everyone bring a food that they had prepared with something from their garden. As their friends arrived and they placed the food on the table and gathered around, they looked overhead and saw the thunder clouds approaching. They decided to keep the dinner table out on the grass under the clouds and lights and take their chances. Karen, their next door neighbor and friend for many years asked about Dave and Jan’s ideas about how to impact the local community. She explained that she and her husband, Greg, had been talking about this but didn’t know how to put it into action. Rob and Hannah, sitting across the table also chimed in and said they had been excited to attend the dinner and might have an idea or two.
Rob went on to explain that school was starting soon, and both students and teachers would need supplies. Jan agreed and wrote this down as their first community outreach, and then added that paying it forward with their garden harvests would be another way to help. All of them at the table had planted large gardens and had zucchini, carrots, watermelons, herbs, potatoes, and other fresh greens that were ready for harvest. Hannah suggested they could put together a farm stand on their front yard and give away their garden harvest. Everyone loved the idea, and Jan wrote that down as number two on the list.
Other ideas came up like spending a day at the park picking up litter that had blown up against the fence, volunteering their time at the local homeless shelter, and also becoming a mentor to local kids. They all had different skills which could be offered to kids for free, like teaching piano, art, woodworking, and even tutoring math. Jan was busy writing all these ideas down, when the sky lit up with lightening and the thunder cracked so loud it made them jump. Still no rain, just a great thunder and lightening show, so they stayed outside and enjoyed the dramatic skies.
As they talked about their latest travels, their grown kids and grandchildren, more ideas were shared in their “think tank” at the farm dinner. One of them mentioned they’d be wiling to do a clothing drive to the Goodwill if everybody wanted to put a box of clothing together, preferably winter clothes, since winter was just a couple months away.
Dave asked Jan for the list and clanked his water glass with his spoon to get everyone’s attention. As they quieted down, and the thunder kept rolling, he read the list.
Garden harvest stand
Pick up litter at park
Volunteering at the homeless shelter
Hannah raised her glass and said “we're off to a great start." As they all raised their glasses in a toast to a successful dinner and discussion, the clouds let loose and the rain poured. They quickly jumped up, grabbed as much as they could off the table and moved their discussion indoors.
Dave and Jan’s idea to invite their friends and neighbors over for a “think tank” to discuss making a local impact, can give you some ideas on how to make an impact in your community. Would it be easier to partner with your friends, and/or partner with local charities? What do you have that you can offer to others? Maybe it’s just remembering to pay it forward. When someone is kind to you, reach out and be kind to the next person who crosses your path. What is it about ourselves that make us want to help other people, and lastly, what is it that is most fulfilling when we do have an impact on others?
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