When we have good intentions, truly commit and ask the world and universe to assist us in those intentions, it is amazing what falls into place. Not that the road wont be hard or rocky, for it is those moments that are necessary to build the stepping stones required to reinforce our journey. Never has that been more evident in my life than the Bring Smiles to Seniors program.
When I made the initial decision to just do a Facebook post and ask my friends to send cards that I could deliver to the residents in my grandmother’s nursing home, my intention was to do that as a one time thing. For that moment, I would be able to bring a little cheer into the lives of some people who needed it most. But often it is those temporary intentions that plant seeds within us that, when nurtured, turn into something far more than we ever expected.
Acts of kindness and expressions of gratitude have this way of becoming the roots of a tree that take hold and grow one branch at a time. The more we water and fertilize it, the more the branches start to appear. Then as it matures, the branches produce leaves and sometimes eventually flowers. At end of the day those little seeds become something wonderful to behold. Such was the case with the Bring Smiles journey.
In the first year of the program I spent thousands of my own money trying to build our card angel network through Facebook, buying cards and supplies and ensuring that cards were delivered. You came one by one. Even when the card bins were bare and the post office visits turned up empty, we continued to believe in our purpose and our mission and out of the blue a post or word of mouth connection would bring another person that believed in what we were trying to do. A new branch, a new leaf and a new flower.
Last year when I made the decision to go big and start delivering cards to all 50 states, I did so because I wanted to thank all those who are donating cards from all over the country. I was also petrified because I knew that postage was going to become our number one expense as we now were delivering packages of prepared cards to senior communities from Florida to Alaska to be handed out to residents. Then of course postage costs went up and that expense became even greater. At the time when I thought I might have made a big miscalculation, we won the $5,000 grant from the Tampa Bay Lighting foundation with the community hero award. Another leaf on the branch.
This year we are adding even more communities in more states and continuing our outreach to more senior community homes. We sit with a little over $2,000 in our fund to continue our work and today fourteen more packages are headed out in the mail all the way to Hawaii and Alaska. We will keep sending until we get to zero and aren’t able to send any more. However, although not being able to continue is my biggest fear, it is also my greatest challenge and if you have regularly read my posts or listen to my podcasts, you know that ‘no’ is my least favorite word.
At the end of the day I don’t believe that those who believe in our cause will ever let us get to zero. No, we aren’t a large national non-profit that enjoys the benefits of millions of dollars that pour into the coffers every day. But we are just as resolved. We are diligent with our resources. We find bargains and sales to acquire our supplies for our decorating program and we make every single dollar that we receive count. Yes, there is a message in this, we are constantly in need of help. But there is no going back now. The roots have taken hold and there are way too many branches and leaves to turn back. We will hit 50,000 cards delivered this year. We will deliver to all 50 states. We will continue delivering one card, one smile at a time. As Ella said, “Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong”.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.
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