Operation Give Back IRL: The Results!

Good morning!

So when I last left you, I had an epiphany that I should be giving back more (time-wise) but instead of doing it online like I tend to do, I wanted to test it out in Real Life and make better use of my mornings. You know, now that I don’t have a job ;)

But the question was – would it work out in the same way? Simply walking into places and asking if I can help them out for an hour or so? Or would they look at me like a total weirdo and reject me right back into the coffee shop?

Well, I tested it out and learned a TON in the process. Below are the results… (I still can’t believe I actually went through with this, haha…)

Attempt #1: The Community Nonprofit

As I left the coffee shop that morning, completely nervous to the bone, I crossed the street and serendipitously found a nonprofit that’s literally set up to give back to the community – perfect!!

They were closed for the day (womp womp), but I saw people milling about inside so I knocked anyways until one of them opened the door to see what this “character” wanted (or should I say, they “cracked” the door as they were definitely dubious of me!). I then muttered out my first attempt of my spiel:

“Hi! Uhh…… Do you need help with anything? Like, umm… I have a free hour? And I think I want to give back?”

(Total fail of communication, haha…)

“I am not sure exactly what you’re asking? How can I help you?” the gentleman responded, probably regretting he even came to the door 😂

“Yes, sorry. I’d like to volunteer my time and wondering if your organization needs some extra help?” Much better!

“Oh, great. Hold on one moment, let me get you the card of our volunteer coordinator”. Minutes later he comes back with it and tells me to try again the next morning as maybe they will have something for me then.

“I sure will!” I replied, and off I scurried before I made an even bigger fool of myself.

Win for asking (I was so nervous!!) // Fail at helping… for now.

Attempt #2: The Sporting Goods Store

After striking out with my first try, I was determined to go again especially as the entire attempt above literally only lasted 4 minutes from start to finish. I walked down the street until I found a place that was open this time – a sporting goods store – and walked right in as fast as I could before changing my mind (it really is scary asking this!).

“Hello!” I happily greeted the two ladies at the register who were waiting for customers.

“I have a strange question for you.” I led with, hoping to set the tone better this time, haha… “Would you happen to need any extra help at the moment? I’m trying to give back to the community more and I have a free hour on my hands.” #NailedIt

The two ladies were dumbfounded, and turned to each other hoping that the other might have a good answer for me :) Unfortunately they didn’t, and we stood in awkward silence for a bit until one of them recommended I visit the nearby churches instead as they’re always looking for extra help. They admitted they’d never been asked such a question before (and didn’t need any help either), but loved that I was going around asking which gave me an extra bump of courage I needed to continue on.

“Oooh great idea, thank you!” I chimed back with. “And I love your store, btw.”

I realized I had just been in there weeks before buying a pair of sunglasses, and was glad to be offering my services to a place I actually liked! Not that it would stop me from volunteering there even if I didn’t, but it felt like I was on the right path even if I had now failed TWICE in a row, haha…

Another Win for asking / Another Fail at DOING.

Attempt #3: The Church!

Three times a charm, right? I took the ladies’ recommendation to heart, and walked further down the street until I came across a church. I walked in and found the business part of it and gave my more polished spiel again, throwing in a little flair and hoping to finally get a “yes.”

“Let me get this straight…” the kind church lady replied with her beautiful – stunned – eyes. “You have a free hour from your kids, and rather than spend it at a coffee shop reading and relaxing all morning you’d rather spend it with us helping out?”

“That’s exactly what I’d like to do!” I responded with, laughing a bit to myself realizing how different my goals are now from just a few months ago…

“I can think of 3 things we can use your help with” she came back with.

“1) You can help answer our phones (perfect – I used to be a customer service manager!), 2) you can help prepare and move all the food we give out every week to our less fortunate friends (also my speed! I can help while giving my muscles a work out at the same time!), and 3) if you’re willing to hop in your car, we always need help picking up the food that local restaurants donate to us (not a problem at all – I can listen to music while I drive!).”

“Is any of this something you’d be interested in?” she wraps up with, still rather cautiously.

“YES!!! To all three! Let’s do it!” I excitedly shout back, can’t believing it’s working now!

“Great! Let me take down your info and will have a coordinator get back with you to get the ball rolling….”

D’oh…

Another Win for asking, but another Fail yet again at the actual doing… at least for now.

Takeaways So Far…

Okay, so up to this point I’ve come to realize a few things:

1) It’s MUCH harder to do stuff *on the spot* than I originally hoped for. Looks like I’ll have to tone down my expectations a bit and account for some “intro/organization” time, at least for those organizations like churches that have their own systems in place.

2) While time will still tell, I think I was more successful with future volunteering because 2 of the 3 places I stopped by were charity-related where it’s more “normal” to volunteer at. It’s going to be a much bigger challenge if I want to help out at regular stores and such like the sporting goods one, just ‘cuz it’s so out of the ordinary. But I’m not giving up on it yet!

3) You can always guess at what will happen with your projects/ideas, but you really don’t know how the world will respond until you actually put yourself out there. I could never have guessed those 3 things the church needs help with, nor that they’d all be up my alley!

4) It’s MUCH more exciting testing stuff in real life than in your mind :) You can do all the thinking you want, but none of it actually matters until you DO SOMETHING about it. This very much applies to your finances and career too.

5) Lastly, getting your money straight allows you to have such freedoms to experiment in this world! As soon as I came back from testing this, I immediately opened up my notepad app on my phone and furiously took notes. Here’s the first thing I wrote and probably the most impactful:

what time affords you

This is the epitome of what money affords you – TIME. Time to spend time with your loved ones, time to work on your passions, time to work on yourself, or time to do whatever it is your heart is requesting of you in that moment.

This day it happened to be around giving back and experimenting, but other times it’s been all about the leisure or spending time with the fam or even being consumed by puzzles ;) But it’s all a result of getting your MONEY down first!

******

So all the above occurred during the *first* day of experimenting, and in the days since I have tried a number of more times with somewhat better results. If you’ll allow it, I’d like to highlight two more attempts that have both solidified my hope with this project :)

Attempt #4: Back to the Community Nonprofit!

I wasn’t really feeling it the next morning (the doubt started creeping in) but I pushed myself anyways and as always I was proud of doing so in the end. Again, because half the battle is just showing up!

I went right back to that original organization when they opened the next day per the gentleman’s advice, and was quickly immersed into such a new experience it was like an out of body experience… Below are my notes from it which I’ll just copy/paste here since it expresses it pretty well.

******

– Went back to [redacted] as previous day’s guy advised, and a gaggle of homeless(?) people were hanging around the front door, as well as a group who stopped by to drop off backpacks of goodies for them.

– Super nervous and eyes watering (worst timing ever – why does it only happen when I’m nervous?!), but mustered up the courage and waited in line in front of a makeshift booth to offer my services.

– Whole place smelled and looked funny, but also filled somehow with so much joy and love too? I immediately felt part of a community. Also had no idea how much they do there! Overheard conversations about taking showers and saw someone getting help with job-related stuff with a volunteer behind a computer. I get the sense they do FULL help all around and not just food or donations – so cool.

– A look of confusion as usual when I said I have an hour to assist, which is weird since its run by volunteers?, but the lady went back to talk with someone and said I could help fit all the incoming backpacks into storage if I’d like. Great!!! My first task!! And my first problem(s) too, haha…

– There was a line of people blocking the hallway waiting to get into the storage, and when we walked in it was completely dark and none of us could find the light switch. Eventually the leader of the group did, who was a homeless volunteer I’d guess*, and then we were ready to stack. Only the said leader started doing it for everyone so I basically just stood there like a big idiot doing nothing waiting for everyone to be done. When the dust settled and everyone was out, I reorganized everything though which I thoroughly enjoyed!, but also knocked some stuff over in the midst of it all so had to re-organize that too, haha… But first mission complete no less!

(*The leader of the group asked if he could have one of the backpacks on his way out, and I told him I wasn’t sure as I’m a new volunteer, but he said he’s taking it anyways and I replied, “go for it dude” as it seemed he needed it!)

– Went back to ask what else I can do now that I beautifully arranged their storage cubby, haha, but that was all they had for me :( Said some days are overwhelming and need all the help they can get, and others not so much.

– Was in and out within 8 minutes- wild!

– I asked what “things” they need more of before I left, like food or clothing or something, and she rattled off a list: clothes, shoes, toiletries, razors, and especially underwear. Of all sizes and sexes. Particularly boxers for the men.

– A homeless(?) guy in the corner chimed in with “except for me! I prefer thongs!” and all of us erupted in laughter. Couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. I kinda feel like he was ;) Also found it ironic as I’m on day #7 of wearing NO underwear right now!! (an experiment for another day)

– I finished up chatting with the volunteers, and on the way out the jovial, round, toothless, thong guy yelled out, “don’t forget my thongs! I like them pink!” and I died laughing again.

– I think this experiment is going to do me a lot of good :)

********

So I finally DID something!!! YAY!!! It wasn’t at all what I was expecting (not that I was expecting anything in particular?), but it got the ball rolling and I’ve since been back a number of times donating whatever I can find for them.

Which turns out I’m really good at! I’m always finding deals on stuff and running into people with boxes of overflowing things from their overstuffed houses/etc. Now I just funnel it all to one main place there which distributes it to those who can most benefit from it! (And they are fast, sometimes they turn around and give the items out while I’m still standing there!)

But the biggest takeaway of all this is that there are *opportunities* to help allllll around us if we’re brave enough to keep our eyes open for them. Not necessarily by just walking up to places and randomly asking them to help like the dummy I am, haha, but by *noticing* the people around us too who might not be as blessed in life as we are.

I’ll give you one last experience I just had that completely made my day, and reminded me once again that I can do more if I just make more of an effort.

Opportunity #5: “Lizzy”

I met Lizzy (not her real name) 4 days ago on the streets, with no home and nowhere to go. Rounding 60 years old she came up to me asking for a few bucks like many in her position do to keep surviving, and of course I obliged per my rules of “always having to say yes” and “give the biggest bill in your pocket so it stings!

I happily gave her a $20 and tears immediately started welling up in her eyes. “Gosh” I thought…”This $20 means nothing to me but is everything to her!!”

I then went about my day as normal…

Two days later I ran into her again, and it was just starting to rain/sleet and I had to consciously choose whether to stay put and chat with her or to run to my warm cozy car which I wanted to do SO BAD!!! But something forced me to stay right there and strike up a conversation as if it was something we both needed, but for different reasons.

And then we chatted… and chatted….. and chatted.

We stood there in the rain for a good hour laughing and learning all about each other and it completely made my morning. I learned she had some kids of her own, once owned a nice house and car/etc, and just genuinely seemed like an overall beautiful person. Of course I WANTED to find out what happened to leave her in such a miserable position, but I didn’t pry and chose to listen instead.

The whole time I just stood there and did my best to let it all sink in and really “feel it” instead of blocking it out and moving on with life as many of us tend to do. I stopped thinking of my damn warm car and how wet I was getting and just sucked it up for an hour as this poor lady will be drenched the entire day so who the hell am I to complain?!

My heart went out to her so much. Maybe because it was her, maybe because I was in a time of my life where I could pay attention more, or maybe it was just something else totally unrelated. All I know is that it hit me hard and I felt like we were genuinely going to be friends from that point forward.

I also learned she had just had most of her stuff stolen and had been wearing 3-day old clothes as the remaining items of hers were completely soaked from past days of rain! She was literally down to her only pair of underwear and hasn’t taken a shower in almost a week!  SO DIFFERENT THAN THE LIVES WE LIVE!!!

But I think it hit me most when she said she just wanted to brush her hair but the same asshat stole that too, as well as her purse which held all her IDs (annoying enough to replace even when you have a home and money!). I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and all I thought was to just give her the biggest hug I could which I did. Twice.

We then parted ways and I made it my mission that day to fill up a bag full of warm goodies specifically for her.

I jumped in my car and went straight to Walmart, Goodwill, and the grocery store and picked up everything I thought she could mostly use like new clothes, underwear, and of course a hairbrush.

And even going through these stores with my new knowledge was completely eye opening to me. There was so much superfluous stuff at these places – particularly at Walmart!! – with half the stuff being worthless on the streets. I love me some fashion, but damn – half the clothes were midriffs or super thin or had a million holes in it! And other amenities we’re so accustomed to having requires electricity which of course does you absolutely no good in their daily lives…

It was like I was in the twilight zone and I actually started feeling a bit nauseous thinking about it all. Eventually I snapped to, and continued on with my plan…

Here’s what I came up with!

backpack of goodies

[Notice the muted colors of the backpack to easier hide from thieves! She literally has to stash her belongings in bushes around town, ugh…]

goodies 2

[I took the first picture, and then realized I had forgotten a few things so went back to collect some more… The fanny pack I thought was a brilliant idea from my wife so she can keep the most important stuff on her!]

Then the next day I patrolled the streets, found where she was hanging out, and gave her the bag as well as another big hug.

I didn’t stay long enough this time to see how helpful they all were (I also included some snacks, a notebook and pens, and other little goodies) but I could tell she was touched. And so was I.

It was the first time in my life I ever did something like this and it felt amazing. And personal, and direct, and *took effort* rather than just opening up my wallet again! (Which of course is still helpful, but it was nice to have an *arsenal* of ways to help now going forward). She was the best thing to happen to me all week.

Win for paying attention to the opportunity // Win for executing on the opportunity!!!

*******

So yeah, what a whirlwind! All within a week that would have otherwise just been so terribly normal!

And to think this all happened because I took out a pen and paper and just let my brain flow out… That quote was legit:

“When you’re stuck, just sit down with a notepad and start writing… your brain has things it wants to say even if you don’t know what they are.”

Indeed it does…

I hope you found something helpful here, and remember – you can NEVER go wrong taking action on your ideas. You might not get the response you’re looking for, but it’s an automatic Win the second you stop thinking and start *doing*. It might change your life in more ways than you think.

XOXO,

j. money signature

PS: Here’s part I of the story that instigated all this: When you’re stuck, just write…

(Shout out to Impersonal Finances for reminding me that this quote came from the new Jonah Hill documentary, Stutz! A beautiful movie on it’s own!)

(Visited 1,702 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!

52 Comments

  1. Scott February 3, 2023 at 9:01 AM

    Nice job, J Money! This really resonates with me. I’m going to take action myself. I already know where to volunteer and who to help, so in that sense I am one step ahead of where you were when you had your epiphany.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 10:37 AM

      GOOD!!! Make it happen and then tell me all about it please!! :)

      Reply
  2. Matthew in Michigan February 3, 2023 at 9:11 AM

    Dude, you are truly a good human. Thanks for sharing this, it’s exactly what the world needs more of. ✌️

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 10:38 AM

      Appreciate you 👊

      Reply
      1. Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto February 3, 2023 at 11:09 AM

        Awesome story of Lizzie. Reminds me of my brother-in-law, who does service calls to factories in inner-city Detroit. He struck up a friendship w a homeless guy who also had his stuff stolen, so he bought a garbage bag full of stuff he thought the guy could use and gave it to him the next time he was in the neighborhood. I hope your post starts a trend…I’ll definitely be on the lookout for homeless people in need. Let’s all make a difference, one needy soul at a time.

        Reply
        1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 3:54 PM

          Yes please!! Someone just emailed me and said she puts *kits* in her car too for whenever she sees people in need so that she’s always prepared – so smart. She puts water bottles, snacks, scarves/hats and toiletries in it. I’m gonna make a few too and maybe throw in a $5’er or something so they get a little bit of everything!

          Reply
  3. JB February 3, 2023 at 9:30 AM

    One of the better posts I have read in a while. This will hopefully catch fire and grow with others. Keep up the good work, even of you only help a few it will be worth it.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 10:39 AM

      Yes – all about that starfish :)

      *****

      One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

      The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

      “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

      After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…

      “I made a difference for that one.”

      Reply
  4. Lynne Beauregard February 3, 2023 at 9:36 AM

    Thanks Jay for your beautiful input. You make me feel closer to Anne whom I miss daily. Xo Lynne

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 10:40 AM

      Oh gosh, you are going to make me cry!

      Reply
  5. Barbara February 3, 2023 at 9:37 AM

    ❤️❤️❤️ this! These are things I’ve wanted to do but never seem to find the oooomph to start. Inspirational stories and wise words!! Thanks, it’s just what I needed to read.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 10:42 AM

      I’m so glad to hear that, Barbara :) I hope you can find your own way of giving back in some way too! Try just doing *one small thing* this weekend and see where it leads!

      Reply
  6. Shay February 3, 2023 at 9:46 AM

    I retired at 62 and now volunteer part of my time every week. It’s a great feeling and I enjoy the camaraderie with the other volunteers. Just thought you should know that retail stores probably can’t use you as a volunteer due to liability issues. You could be a convicted sex offender (huge liability issue), a thief, etc. The volunteer organizations can always use help. Their needs may vary from week to week, so don’t give up. We grow when we step out of our comfort zone.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 10:44 AM

      Amen to that… Plus the volunteer organizations are probably doing more “good” in the world than yet another store, eh? Will have to see how it all feels as I continue on with this crazy mission… :)

      Reply
  7. Topher February 3, 2023 at 10:36 AM

    Like you, I had to try several times before finding places to volunteer. Some were so swamped that they couldn’t work with new volunteers. I found a few places to volunteer after striking out multiple times. It was well worth the effort, and I know the organizations I volunteer for are glad to have the help.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 10:47 AM

      Great!! It’s such a whole new world for me learning about the ins and outs here… Excited to keep poking around and seeing how best to fit into it all :)

      Reply
  8. stephanie t February 3, 2023 at 10:47 AM

    It’s so cliche but…in a world where we can choose anything, choose kindness.

    Thank you JMoney for living this mantra that hangs on a tattered slip of scrap paper above my desk. Every damn one of us COULD do it; you showed us exactly how.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 3:56 PM

      LOVE THAT IT’S POSTED ABOVE YOUR DESK!!!

      Reply
  9. Alyssa February 3, 2023 at 11:02 AM

    I fell into a similar type of situation… kinda. When I got my first full time, “adult” job and settled into my new home, I realized that I didn’t know anyone in my community and all my friends had moved away to start their adult lives. It threw me into a slightly depressed state that my boss actually noticed. He suggested I join a local Rotary club that was geared towards young professionals as a way to meet kind people who were at a similar stage in life. It was life changing! I’ve met a TON of amazing people who selflessly give their time, met my new friend group, and had a chance to volunteer at a different local organization every month. I’ve actually moved on to a new firm, partly because of my Rotary connections, I’m serving on the board of directors for my club, and I’m gaining leadership skills by being the chair of a committee. There are a ton of opportunities out there, but they are sometimes hard to see until you start looking closer. Congrats on your volunteering attempts and successes! It does good and makes you feel better – win-win =)

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 3:57 PM

      That’s a wonderful story!! I hear about them every now and then but never knew *exactly* what they did? I’m making a note to look into this more as I believe there’s one in my city and I can always use some new (nice!) friends! Thanks for the rec!

      Reply
      1. FL/GA gal February 3, 2023 at 8:57 PM

        Rotarians are the best! My Dad has been one for 50 years….and we just relocated to a new city and he joined the club here. Rotary is a wonderful international service organization whose motto is “service above self”. Awesome folks who all have a servant heart.

        Reply
  10. Katie @SolopreneurCafe February 3, 2023 at 11:35 AM

    There really is a learning curve with giving, but the most important thing is to start and keep going until you find a way that “fits” for you.

    The biggest impact I’ve had, without expecting it either – involved craigslist 2009-2016. I found basically regular people suddenly struck with a bad situation they had no idea how to get out of (eg landlord hadn’t paid mortgage, foreclosure imminent). I gave them boring stuff like toilet paper, lysol wipes, good shampoo to “free up” their cash for things where preference mattered (food, Christmas gifts). These women were moms in their 30s and 40s, half were married, and their faces would, at some point, crumple in both humiliation and gratitude that a total stranger cared. They would even email me months later to say that moment was a turning point. To me it was just Pantene, Glade, Quilted Northern and Palmolive, but to them it was restored faith in humanity.

    I like one level of separation, as it turns out, so I do all my super-duper Walgreens and Amazon subscription deals and bring them to my local high school’s “free boutique” – because can you think of a worse time in your life NOT to have deodorant or underpants?? And I also give cleaning gear, food and collars to the shelter where I adopted my little dog.

    So keep going, J$ – you’ll find what “fits” both your style, your schedule and your soul :)

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 3:59 PM

      That’s beautiful Katie, thank you :) Seems you’ve 100% found your “fit” too – love it! And interesting way to think about it w/ the “freeing up of the cash” part – never thought of it that way.

      Reply
  11. Tammy February 3, 2023 at 2:35 PM

    J. Money –
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience. When getting myself through college as a single mom, so many people stepped up to make our lives a little easier. Now that my daughter is on her own and I’m working full time I can give back to people in the community. It feels so good to help because I know how much it meant to me.
    Money = Time & the opportunity to help others.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 4:00 PM

      Love that you’re now able to pay it forward :) Money = Time indeed.

      Reply
  12. Karen Rust February 3, 2023 at 2:52 PM

    What a great project! We never realize just how fortunate we are until we see someone that really needs help. And, when we can give just a little hope in their somewhat sad life, it makes both the giver and receiver feel good. Cheers to you and your generous heart!!!

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 4:01 PM

      Thank you Karen :) May us all continue to be blessed so we can pass on these blessings!!

      Reply
  13. ZJ February 3, 2023 at 4:14 PM

    Yup, this is all good stuff. I love reading about your growth/transformation…and so timely for me. This morning in my journal, I wrote that I need to open my eyes so that I can actually SEE what’s going on around me – who needs help, who’s hurting, etc… And the title of my journal prompt was “start before you’re ready”. :-)
    I think you’re definitely right – it’s so much easier to focus on others when you do not have to worry about feeding your family or paying your bills. Looking forward to hearing about the adventures that volunteering leads you on. Not gonna lie, when you said you were going to ask for-profit businesses if they needed an hour’s worth of help, I thought to myself, if I were a business owner and someone asked me that, my first thought would be, “are they going to rob me??” Hahaha!!

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 3, 2023 at 4:53 PM

      Hahahaha….

      Maybe next time I should start with “Don’t worry – I’m not a thief!” 😂😂 I don’t know what I would do if someone approached me in one… Maybe I should figure it out, and then work backwards and use it to craft a better pitch :)

      Too cool it matches with your journal entry today!! You want to try it out next and then report back? :)

      Reply
      1. ZJ February 4, 2023 at 9:55 PM

        I think I will. I’ll report back if anything interesting happens. :-)

        Reply
  14. Cathy February 3, 2023 at 6:54 PM

    Honestly such a great experiment/thing to do and a really great article about it too, thank you. :) :)

    Reply
  15. Sue February 4, 2023 at 7:31 AM

    I loved this. Thank you for publishing your experience. For years I’ve hoped that more financially independent people would do more to give more of what they have to those in need. I find that the majority of people helping people are not rich and they work a lot but they give their spare time & money anyway. Churches are less attended these days too but the majority of congregations spend a lot of energy to help their community. Churches are a great resource for people who want to give back. I don’t think people realize how critical churches are in our society.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 6, 2023 at 11:17 AM

      YES! Something I’m learning more and more here… In fact, I just had coffee with someone who works at one and said their mission is to *take care of their community* – not get them to go to church. I had never thought of churches in that light but it’s true. And makes sense then why you see them always helping out the less fortunate amongst us!

      Reply
  16. Financial Fives February 6, 2023 at 1:59 PM

    Yes J!!! You’re the man, we need more posts like this. Not only using your free time to volunteer and help the community instead of pursuing more money, but putting yourself on the line and being vulnerable, and just going out there!

    This reminded me of a time when I spent my first Thanksgiving away from family in 2014. I left the Turkey Trot in Dana Point where I was volunteering and stopped by a church like you to see if they needed any help, and they did! They were so grateful, and boy did I realize how lucky I was while I scanned the room. It also introduces you to many hardworking volunteers who could use more income but focus on giving back.

    Taking the focus off ourselves sometimes is the best way to put our debacles in context and sharpen that gratitude muscle.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 7, 2023 at 8:50 AM

      Right on, man! Anyone anywhere can help no matter your situation. Just gotta make that conscious effort like many things in life! Glad you’re out there putting some Good into the world too! :)

      Reply
  17. Rita February 10, 2023 at 6:31 PM

    Wow. What a terrific way to give back. It was brilliant to think about doing it in person instead of on the internet. You are such a smart, giving person, who’s made such a success in your life, and now you are helping people up close and personal. 1,000 congratulations to you. I admire and appreciate you even more, if that’s possible.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 13, 2023 at 8:48 AM

      You are so sweet, thank you Rita :) Completely made my morning 💙

      Reply
  18. mollyjade February 17, 2023 at 4:36 PM

    Casual one-off volunteering on your schedule is definitely harder to find. Getting to know your community and maybe some mutual aid networks might help. Does your neighborhood have a Buy Nothing group? “I have an hour to help with personal finance/yard work/special skill” would go over well there.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 20, 2023 at 8:28 AM

      Ahh great idea!! I do believe we have one but it’s been years since I’ve poked around… That would be another fun experiment to try :)

      Reply
  19. Jim February 24, 2023 at 11:54 AM

    J, that was so touching dude, it gave me chill bumps. Keep it up brotha you are an inspiration, your family is quite lucky to have you at the helm!

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 27, 2023 at 9:35 AM

      Appreciate that, man :) Thx for taking the time to say so 🙏

      Reply
  20. Brandon February 27, 2023 at 3:56 PM

    Here is an experience I had in spontaneous volunteering that was pretty fun. The week of Christmas Cincinnati was expecting a big snow storm and plummeting temperatures. I was off on Thursday the 23rd and thought I would get to the grocery early to beat the crowds. Everybody else had the same bright idea. Staffing was short and the lines to the checkout literally snaked to the back of the building. I asked the person in front of me to advance my cart for me. I then went to the front of the line and asked the cashier if I could help bagging. She just shrugged and I asked the first customer if she minded? She let me and then I just kept going. After the first couple of carts, I don’t think anybody noticed I wasn’t a paid employee. When my cart came up the person ahead of my me helped to bag my groceries. It was all pretty heartwarming.

    Reply
    1. J. Money February 28, 2023 at 8:40 AM

      That is so freaking cool!!

      And what a great idea too! I don’t think I would have ever thought of doing that?! You must have saved everyone so much time – love it. (And making a note of this in case I’m ever in a similar situation – thanks! :))

      Reply
  21. Abdul Rashid March 8, 2023 at 11:29 AM

    J Money, you’re a good man! You know, there’s more blessing in giving. You did a great job, man. Your favorite admirer here.

    Reply
    1. J. Money March 17, 2023 at 10:55 AM

      Much love, brother – appreciate that 👊

      Reply
  22. Jane Kimble March 17, 2023 at 10:25 AM

    J, do you remember the lady who said she was your oldest fan? Well, I’m still kicking and reading your ‘stuff’. I’ll be 94 in July. I’m pretty much a shut-in now that I don’t drive anymore. But I do get online and offer to work on genealogy for folks, especially if there is a ‘Jackson’ in their line.. Genealogy is a jig-saw puzzle with no side pieces and I love a puzzle. I’m grateful for having genealogy to keep my mind active.

    Reply
    1. J. Money March 17, 2023 at 10:54 AM

      Hi friend!! Of course I remember you!! And a hearty YES to geneology!! It’s so fun finding stuff from your past and linking it all together! We took over some of it from an old family member here, but haven’t sat down enough to really *add* anything new to it.. But with technology these days I bet it’s sooooo much easier to do and eventually want to make it more of a priority :)

      Please do stay in touch!! I always enjoy hearing what you’re up to!

      Reply
  23. Sheri D. March 27, 2023 at 10:22 AM

    I fell into this same idea last year…What started out as a local community “Adopt-a-Family” for Christmas turned into the realization that the need doesn’t end with the holidays.

    As I discovered by talking to their clinician, our state support system has very little exit strategy aside from subsidized housing when foster “kids” over eighteen (and they are still kids at this point) age out of support.

    When these young adults arrive in group housing they are given rudimentary supplies…one set of sheets and towels, one pillow…you get the idea.

    After they are approved for independent living, they leave with little more than that. No pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, bathroom supplies – no household basics and oftentimes only outgrown clothing that is too many years old.

    These young people have survived the foster care program only to exit the system having to fend for themselves. They are virtually invisible to society.

    When you consider the number of items trashed daily all around us I thought…Imagine what we could accomplish with the concept of pairing donated home goods with these young people ready for their first-ever homes.

    *My* brand new “baby” :)

    Reply
    1. J. Money March 28, 2023 at 11:44 AM

      Ahhh this is a brilliant idea!!! I absolutely love it! Not only because it’s so *focused* on one area, but that it’s targeted towards kids!!

      Going now to check out the project…. Here it is if anyone else wants to learn more! –> https://www.biggerthanavillage.org/

      Reply
  24. Chad Andrews April 24, 2023 at 8:29 AM

    A very important principle not to forget: Giving back. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *