Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lessons on Giving, Energy, and Abundance

Blog Post by Elyse Leeds Acanda

This past Saturday, five years of planning resulted in 23 sweet children receiving all the supplies they need to start the school year.  Be A Blessing truly came to life in the lobby of the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter!  In a flurry of activity and excited chatter, backpacks were loaded full of brand new supplies and hearts were left full of gratitude—on both sides of the exchange!

Three large tables were set up, one each for Elementary, Middle, and High School students. The tables were overflowing with stacks and stacks of supplies in beautiful abundance! It was our Amazon Wish List made manifest. We provided check-off lists so that each child could pick out their own items required for their grade, from backpacks to pencil sharpeners to flash drives. The Be A Blessing founders and a couple of loving volunteers helped organize the ‘shopping’ activity and made sure each child received everything needed, in colors of their choosing. The kids loved it.

We’ve all heard before that “When you give, you get,” and “It is in giving that we receive,” and on this past Saturday, Be A Blessing proved these theories fact.  One mother of two literally gave us all chills and brought us close to tears when she said, “You really are being a blessing today.” 

Our mission is to serve women and children by creating opportunities that make it easy for others to join together to fulfill an identified need. The Be A Blessing network came to life and rose beautifully to the occasion of our first project, purchasing over $3,500 worth of school supplies in just 30 days.  In fact, we had over $1,000 donated in the final week of our campaign!

Be A Blessing is a co-creation of four women with demanding full-time jobs and families. We identified a need and made it easy for people to contribute. We managed all the details with the shelter, coordinated an Amazon Wish List to match the need, conducted a daily marketing campaign to spread the word, organized the incoming product shipments to keep a tight inventory and deal with errors, met on a weekly basis for updates and planning, and personally contributed financially. The month of July was abuzz with Be A Blessing activity for us, right along with our family and professional responsibilities. Each founder took on the roles best suited to her strengths, and we committed to make it happen! 

...And so August 10 was a beautiful day! Working together to see a vision realized is incredibly satisfying. We witnessed the joy in the children’s faces as they were loaded down with heavy backpacks, and the gratitude in the faces of the relieved parentsnow with one less thing to worry about. When all of the children had been served, we cleaned and reorganized the remaining donations into the Shelter’s school supply closet. And through all of this work, I believe WE were the ones most energized by the experience.

We are so grateful for the power of the Be A Blessing community—our friends and family, and everyone two or three (or more!) times removed who heard about our project and made a contribution. THANK YOU! 

I am incredibly thankful to be one of the founders of Be A Blessing. Working on a project with some of my best friends has been challenging AND very rewarding. It has stretched me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to impart my values to my children through tangible action. It has helped me stay positive through a very rough time in my life, while feeling incredibly supported by powerful, capable women. And it has shined a spotlight on my strengths and reminded me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I am very excited about the future of Be A Blessing and can’t wait to see what we do next!


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