As many of you probably know by now ISP is all about making simple thoughts, activities and ideas into acts of kindness that are easy and fun. For October we are launching our various charitable campaigns for anyone and everyone who has a philanthropic and kind spirit to help.
For the official ISP launch the monthly challenge is a backpack drive (ISP Monthly Challenge Link). We started this for kids in August, delivered in September as the kids were going back to school and thought we were done. When we arrived at the charity’s facility that Wednesday morning in September we found out that there were still many kids that needed school supplies and we shouldn’t stop just because the kids are back in school. The Director explained to us that if we were willing and able they were certainly in need of more supplies for these many kids. I told her we were happy to oblige.
For those of you that don’t know much about Orange County, California, U.S.A. it is known around the world for being an extremely wealthy place where residents lack nothing. Although we have several beautiful beach communities and have certain cities that are sought after and known for their world-class education (such as Irvine), there are still people with extreme needs in our communities. It is very easy for many who live here to forget that even though we are fortunate to live where we do, there are still people that need our help. Many without jobs, food, proper shelter, or basic necessities like any other place in the world. Living in the extremely fast-paced lifestyle I do maintaining my company and now ISP – I too forget that OC has people that are struggling daily even though they may not be right in front of me each day.
This reality hit me like a ton of bricks early one Wednesday morning. I grabbed the twinsies, explained to them that we were going to give backpacks and supplies to kids that don’t have any. Like any 4 year old they had roughly 25,000 questions about this during our 40 minute drive on the 5 freeway in morning traffic. When we pulled up I was floored by the length of the line in this unassuming city. The line reached far around the building and was composed of adults, elderly, children, babies and from all races and cultures – no one was exempt. Some looked as if they had fallen on hard times, but many looked just like me. They were all there for food and water. The backpacks that day were just an added bonus.
I instantly had a huge level of discomfort – like I had no business infringing on these people. I can’t explain why but I just didn’t want to park my car in front of this line nor get out. My twins were all dressed for their day in cute toddler clothes with bows and all smiles. I was in work-out clothes and no make-up. The Director saw me and motioned to park right at the front of the line so we could unload the car straight into the warehouse.
Nevertheless we parked, smiled at those in line near us and the girls started handing the full backpacks out the car. Just like children do – they smiled at everyone, said hello, and said their names and age to anyone who would listen. It’s what we love about children – they didn’t see anything different about everyone in line. They just wanted to make new friends.
The Director, Michelle, gave us a tour around the warehouse and where and how they get all their food for distribution on Wednesdays. Several local volunteers were loading up boxes of food and giving them to everyone who came that morning. No qualifications, no questions. If they were there and needed food, food was given. The most amazing part was many of those there helping were kids. From age 8 to teens – I was told many of them had been helping since they were very young and this program and serving others was a way of life for them. Clearly, it was no surprise that these kids were all magnificent in their own right and were right there for hours, smiling at those less fortunate and working their tails off on the last day of their summer vacation.
Before I even left the facility I learned all the backpacks had been snatched up by those that needed supplies for their kids. I was so surprised they were gone that fast I decided we would continue this project as a campaign into October due to the need I saw that morning.
Please contact ISP if you would like to have your child become a Kindness Ambassador (Kindness Ambassador Information) and gather kids at their school to assist in the monthly challenges. If you don’t have kids – just as well! Adults can collect from their friends with kids old backpacks and donations to fill them for others that don’t have notebooks, calculators, pencils and binders.
We are looking forward to hearing you stories and getting your photos of the first ISP monthly challenge!