Feels great to give

There’s a line on my budget spreadsheet that says “charitable giving”. It’s been pretty empty this year, as I focus on trying to pull my head out of the fiscal muck.  Actually, having fewer donations to causes that I care about does NOT align with my values. I have been a reasonably consistent donor to a few causes.  Not buckets of money, but some.

Only now am I starting to return to giving back, and man, it feels SO good.

Today I wanted to share with you one good deed that I was able to accomplish with the help of others, and how that grew.

I’ve shared with you before that I work part-time with Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers has just wrapped up their second “Lose for Good” Campaign.  Recently, I’ve just started working as a leader at two meetings (I’m still a receptionist at one meeting). In the meetings that I’ve been leading, I pledged to my members that I would personally donate $1 for every pound they lose during the last four weeks that I’ve been their leader.

Only part of our $300 haul!

This was a calculated pledge on my part. The two meetings that I lead are small, about 18-22 members in each. I had reviewed their total losses on a weekly basis prior to making the pledge, to ensure that I wasn’t committing to something that I couldn’t actually carry out.  Hey, I’m still a single mom with debt, not that my members know that. In my budget, I had $200 for charitable giving set aside for December. I opted to make the pledge, thinking that I’d be able to do so and stick within my charitable budget.

Last week was the end of the Lose for Good Campaign.  In one meeting, my members lost 76 pounds in four weeks. Not bad!  It is my smallest meeting.  In my second meeting on Saturday mornings, my members lost 90 pounds!  I was totally blown away! As the members returned from their weigh in, they were jokingly saying “we’re going to bankrupt you Tracy” and I just smiled and said “bring it on!”

On Saturday, the charitable bug was very contagious. My colleague at Weight Watchers made a contribution of $40 to help the cause.  Another member, who wanted to remain anonymous, matched my contribution of $90!  Add up all those amounts, and we rounded it all up to a $300 contribution to the Food Bank. My colleague and I then proceeded to take our $300 to the grocery store, and pack up our cart. It occured to me that I’ve never spent $300 on groceries in one fell swoop before.  It was actually difficult to consider the kinds of quality foods and grocery items that we wanted to contribute, and try and keep the tally in our heads as we shopped.

We bought a couple of huge boxes of diapers, some formula and baby cereal.  I was a bit overwhelmed emotionally as I put the baby formula in my cart. I remembered what a hardship it was to lay down $45 when the girls were tiny to get this formula. I can report that it hasn’t gone down in price any since I last used formula, and I was just so thankful to be able to give some of this liquid gold to some other parent(s) to help their journey.  We stocked up on pasta, pasta sauce (both on sale), tuna and salmon, oatmeal and some cold cereals. As we were wrapping up our shopping, my friend said “imagine going to a food bank and not having any coffee?”  I totally agreed, and we threw a few pounds of coffee in our cart.

As the cashier was ringing us up, we told her what the purchase was for.  She was excited.  We also told her we wanted to spend $300.  When the subtotal hit $260, we knew we had more shopping to do.  With apologies to the slightly cranky person in line behind us, I ran to the peanut butter aisle and carried four large jars up to the cashier.  Still having some money left over, we stocked up on some more cold cereals on sale.  The total: $301! The total weight of the food contribution was just over 205 lbs. My contribution went on my VISA card, and will actually leave another $10 left for charitable giving in December.

I was literally on top of the world all weekend with this little adventure. I can’t wait to show my members the pictures of what we accomplished together.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Wow, that’s so awesome! I tend to give cash to the food bank because I *think* they use it to buy meat and other perishables, like milk.
    I’m going to have a “work for charity” day coming up here. That’s what I usually do once a quarter. Just remind myself that surely I can work for a good cause 4 days a year and give them the money I make at a job rather than volunteer (which I never used to have the time to do.)


    • Normally I do the cash thing too, Jacq. WW corporate was wanting to go for the actual food, I think likely to illustrate the contribution in pounds (since they’re in the pounds business). I must admit, it was more fun buying the food, but just as gratifying to give, whether in groceries or cash.


  2. Ditto the kudos. Good for you… and your other Secret Santas from WW!


  3. That is SOOOO awesome! What a great way to help out! There will be some very grateful and happy families this December due to the generosity of people like you. I’m inspired!!!! Must give my “giving” some thought and prayer. I don’t have as much as you set aside, but between what I have and the kids have, we could feed a family for a week!


  4. That’s awesome – you must feel fantastic right now! And great that others were motivated to join the effort – it’s contagious but takes someone to get the ball rolling – way to go!


  5. That’s AWESOME!!! What a great experience!


  6. That’s totally AMAZING!!! Good stuff!!! 🙂


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