I woke up early this morning thinking about our food drive. Would anyone participate? Was it worth braving the sweltering temperatures yesterday to pass out fliers? Does it matter? Is this a good way to honor the memory of the people lost on 9/1/1?
I would only find out by moving forward and seeing what would happen.
Our food drive started by inching our way down our own street. Ah! A bag of food sitting on a front step! My daughter ran up to get it. Cans of food and boxes of cereal! My son ran to another neighbor’s house. Another find! Then a third! We collected three large bags of food just on our little cul-de-sac.
The five of us continued, driving slowly down streets we had wearily trudged upon the day before. Every so often we would see another bag. It was like a treasure hunt!
Occasionally we would meet a home owner. They always thanked us and I made sure to thank them graciously. One mother put out a bag as we approached.
“I’m sorry, but it is only a little bit.” she said embarrassingly.
I thanked her and added that just because we can’t do everything, doesn’t mean we can’t do something. She smiled.
Sometimes we got a note on the flier. “Thanks Winger Family” one read. Another said “Thanks for doing this!”.
One family who recently moved from Georgia gave us several boxes of clothes and food. Their son named Omare helped me load it up saying that he has to give away his shoes because he is growing too fast. I smiled.
All told we collected approximately 45 bags of food, plus a couple big piles of clothes. Our friend Linda Cohen even stopped by with a bag of food. We chatted in front of the open van door, my back to piles destined for the pantry. We talked about volunteering, new ideas, and ways to give back. Eventually, our neighbors Wade and Irene stopped by to see how it went. We talked for awhile longer, interrupted only by a caller who had put out a late bag of food which I ran over to pickup. I got another call later from someone with many clothes and canned goods to share.
Those questions I had fell away as we talked. This was a success.
As we look back on the events of 9/11 and the ten years that have passed, we remember the horror and sadness that followed. We remember the victims, the first responders, and all the people who suffered.
And as we move forward in life, we look ahead humbly with anticipation. We look ahead knowing we can make a difference if only we are willing to act differently. We know that when we work together, we can do great things.
We look back, but we move forward.