Tuesday, December 25, 2007

the Random Christmas Giveaway of Super Craziness

Although we had tried to coordinate a big group soup kitchen volunteering day, the soup kitchens were booked for volunteers for the holidays. Instead a few of us threw in some money and bought some sweaters from Value Village as well some clothes that had been donated directly to us. We took these downtown and handed them out to people whom we saw sleeping on the street or who looked like they needed a hand.

The Giveaway was an interesting day for everyone who came along on a number of different levels. Myself, I learned a little about the homeless, my friends and myself that day and I wouldn't trade the expereince of that day for the world.

After driving around handing clothes to whatever disadvantaged people we could find we realized that we would take far too long to hand them out at that rate. We had amassed a pretty impressive collection of donations and it seemed the rain had driven a lot of homeless people to hard to find places in search of shelter.

Passing by the Good Shepherd Shelter on Queen near Jarvis we found them serving dinner to people in need. With the permission of Father Ed we placed the clothes in an area that the shelter keeps where clothes is distributed to whoever might need them.

It was an amazing, powerful experience handing clothes out to those people. I helps keep one grounded as we celebrate the holidays, reminding us that not everyone is as fortunate as we are and it's better to give than to receive.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Soup Kitchen plan in the Works; Kyoto Now Protest

The decision has been made to volunteer at a soup kitchen as a group as the next activity. Group members who have expressed an interest include Nisse, Lalor and Shane. Finding a soup kitchen to volunteer at and getting a good time when everyone can make it are the next priorities. Tomorrow I will call around to some organizations engaged in this kind of charity work and find out how to proceed.

I will also be heading down to the Kyoto Now protest on Dec. 8. I've invited everyone on my facebook for some reason. I took the chance that it will be a worthwhile organization/activity and invited everyone on the grounds that only people who really have time to spare will come anyway and if they do then worst come worst we can talk about future group plans or just catch up or whatever.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Looking for Ideas

Since the Twin River Clean Up I have racked my brain for ideas for another group activity. The ideal activity would be one which can be done as a group, can be completed (or at least a significant contribution should be made) within a couple of hours, and which does not have any significant costs attached. That being said, I don't believe any activity such as this will have much merit without a certain element of sacrifice.

I have tabled the idea of a group blood donation day to several members privately and the response has been lukewarm. Anxieties seem centred around the invasiveness of a blood donation. Although members seem to be either opposed on these grounds or indifferent, no one has seemed very excited about the idea so I've shelved it for the time being.

Physical activities organized by large, corporate charities to raise funds has been a recurring theme in the group. These activities have generated a lot of positive feedback but they are sometimes exclusive in the sense that they often maintain minimum fund raising goals which make it difficult for some group members to participate. The Group to Make the World a Better Place is nothing if not inclusive regardless of economic status.

Although it may be difficult for some, if not all, Group members to overcome initial trepidation regarding the idea, I think that the popular movement known as "Free Hugs" would be an excellent use of Group time and energy. An idea like this is probably best promoted during the summer months, however, and will probably require a little convincing on my part.

With Christmas fast approaching, Food Banks will need a few extra pairs of hands to help out so that is always a possibility although the limit of ten volunteers at a time that I've seen on the web-site is a bit limiting.

Without any ideas standing out as extremely attractive off the bat I'll have to wait and see what materializes from further discussion with group members.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Twin Rivers Clean-Up

There was a healthy turnout to the first activity of The Group to Make the World a Better Place today, The Twin Rivers Clean Up. We started cleaning where Twin Rivers Dr runs over the Rouge River, on the east bank of the river. From there group members spread out, some following closely along the bank of the river, some scanning a nearby field, some following the road. Some worked quietly, others caught up with old friends they hadn't seen in some time, still others joked around and made a game out of it. After all the work was done some of us climbed the hill on the road's south side, which gives a beautiful view of the valley, and watched the river go by. It was a moment of reflection after a job well done, a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Did the Twin Rivers Clean Up really make a difference? I don't know if it did, but I'm glad I did it.