July 31, 2011 wasn’t designated as a day to collect food for the South Portland Food Cupboard. But it was the day that I felt compelled to give back to my community. Something you would think would come quite easily for me since I have spent over 25 years helping non profits through my company, Designs By Lucinda. There was uneasiness about approaching strangers and asking for a food donation… How would I be received and what if they said no? There’s safety in numbers so I decided to recruit my Mother and 2 sisters to join me. My Mom, has cared for my sister Kim who has been confined to a wheelchair since birth due to Cerebral Palsy and my youngest sister Jane, happens to live on the same street as my Mother so it was a perfect location to go door to door. The game plan was for Jane and me to approach the homes while Kim, in her electric wheelchair and Mother waited at the end of the driveways. With my family beside me my nerves were calmed. The first doorbell was rung and the door opened. With a warm hello, a brief introduction of my family and an explanation for our calling it was without hesitation that the individual rushed off to their kitchen and returned with an armful of canned goods. All remaining nervousness vanished and replaced with excitement and pure joy. Doorbell after doorbell I introduced my family, collected food and laughed with my sisters and Mother as we reminisced growing up on that very street. As Kim wheeled the box of items from home to home it continued to fill. Not one person said they could not donate. Even a single Mother searched her cupboards for something she could part with. As she handed me organic baby food she said that she hoped it would be able to help another Mother with a young child.
At the end of the day I reflected on this entire experience. What started out as wanting to do a little something for a local food cupboard turned into an overwhelmingly satisfying experience. I was able to enjoy meaningful time with my family. I was able to see the faces of the people as they were asked to help and I witnessed that people really do want to help one another and were grateful that we had made it so easy for them to do that. My original purpose of providing the Food Cupboard with much needed food was accomplished. In hindsight, I could have easily gone to the local market to purchase all the items, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for all the convenience in world or anything else for that matter. It was a day full of grace!
Here’s to peanut butter!