Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 53- Ozarks Food Harvest and Random Coworker Acts of Kindness

Last year I wrote about a wonderful dinner we had, one of my home-cooked favorites.  I think I wrote about food just about as much as anything else throughout the course of the year.  I am becoming increasingly aware of how lucky I am to have food in surplus and to have never truly felt what it is to be hungry with no food fix.  This becomes even more clear on these "food days" when I search for food related charities to donate to.  At times, I find so many of them that I can't even comprehend where to start. 

Since the St. Louis Foodbank has already made my donation list for the year, I found another special place to send my donation to today.  The Ozarks Food Harvest Food Bank is an amazing organization, and I was thrilled to find them.  They distribute food and goods to over 300 agencies around Missouri.  Beyond that, they have a number of programs through which they can provide direct relief to people in need.  There's a mobile pantry and a kid cafe and all kinds of resources.

There's also a program that really grabbed my attention, the Weekend Backpack Program.

The food bank’s fastest growing program, The Weekend Backpack Program™, provides severely at-risk children with a backpack filled with nutritious child-friendly foods for them to take home on the weekends, when they might otherwise go hungry.


The program is designed to allow students to get the assistance without drawing any attention to themselves by using backpacks, which look like any other student’s backpack.

Nearly 1,000 children in 30 elementary schools receive healthy food over the weekends through this innovative, life-saving program.

It has been my dream to start a program like this at my own school.  I hope to take the initiative to turn this dream into a reality within the next year.  For now, I am excited have the opportunity to throw a few dollars at this program.  You?  (This is another one of the $10 minimum places, but honestly, isn't it worth it?)

http://www.ozarksfoodharvest.org/index.html

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Even though my commute home from work is really short, I still get a good few minutes to myself to really reflect on my day.  Sometimes there are a million things running through my head, and I can't even keep up with myself.  Other days, I sing at the top of my lungs to whichever song seems to reflect my emotions at the time.  There are also days where I have a peaceful, thoughtful ride.

Today was one of those days.

I must admit that I even got a bit choked up on my way home.  I've hit a few roadblocks in my life lately.  However, I trust in myself and in my faith, and I choose to believe that these things are simply detours.  I will always find my way back to the right path, and I know that everything will be okay.  That's probably enough cliches for now.

One of the things that really got me going today and one of the things that keeps me going many other days is my incredible support system.  When I think about my life and the people in it, I often just feel completely and totally overwhelmed with gratitude.  I've heard it said many times that people can be judged by the company they keep.  I really hope this is true because I somehow manage to find myself surrounded by the most amazing people in every aspect of my life.  If you consider the people around me, I come off looking pretty darn good.

I had multiple coworkers make my day today, each in the most meaningful way.

My day started in the copy room watching the machine chug away on some stories for my kids.  I was approached by another teacher,  one who I don't know that well yet.  She took the time to stop and pay me a compliment out of the goodness of her heart, and it meant the world to me.  I want her to know that.

Later, I received a little gift from another coworker.  She had noticed that yesterday was a long day for me, and she brought me a package with cute little papers, pencils, and some "emergency chocolate."  Again, this was completely unexpected, and it touched me to know that she would think of me and go out of her way to do that.  I hope she knows that too.

I got sage career advice from another coworker this afternoon.  She has taken it upon herself to be my unofficial mentor, and I can't tell you how thankful I am for that.  She is willing to drop everything (and has many a time) to talk to me about students or life or anything else that may come up.  I hope she understands what a big deal this is to me and how much I appreciate her each and every day. 

I ended the day with what seems to have become a daily chat with a new friend I made this year.  She welcomed me with open arms at the beginning of the year, and she's been a great friend ever since.  Even though I've only known her for half a year or so, it's hard to remember not knowing her.  I admire her as a teacher, a person, and a friend.  I aspire to be as good at all three of these things as she is!  I want her to know how important her friendship is to me.

I think a little link copy and paste action is in order to deliver this message to four lovely ladies who really made me feel significant today.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all four of you.

Thank you, random coworker acts of kindness, you made my day. 

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