When I signed up on January 1st, 2015 to buy nothing new for a year, my plan was to write a weekly blog and a book about the experience at the end of the year.
I was concerned I might not have enough material, as it’s been so easy (so far). Then, last week, I found myself spending $150 at Target.
Why did I do it?
My friend Patti invited me to support an Afghan family that just moved to the Bay Area. The father was a translator in Afghanistan. As the Taliban considers the translators American collaborators, they are not safe in their own country. The US has promised them visas but that seems to take (a lot!) of time.
Source: Stripes.com via CreativeCommons.org.
In the very sad case of this family, after the dad finally got his visa he was killed in action the very next day! (Missing the words to describe my horror.)
The family recently arrived in the USA, starting pretty much with zero of anything (talk about #TinyHouse as a developed country problem).
Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the East Bay helps family like this one to get settled in the Bay Area and navigate their way in the US, often without any language skills or even education. I
n the past, I’ve mentored an Afghan war refugee via JFCS of the East Bay. The girl was 13-years-old when she arrived in the US and had never been allowed (by the Taliban) to attend school. I was her only American friend.
Source: Wikipedia.org via CreativeCommons.org.
But back to the Afghan translator’s family: JFCS of the East Bay let the mother put together a list of the most urgent things they needed for her and three small children and reached out to their volunteer network to help out.
That’s the list Patti and I used to shop for them at Target (side note: my #Y4Y exclusion list allows me to spend money on donations).
Here the 3 Key Things this Experience Taught Me:
- Because I save so much money every month, I feel that I can give away more. Why? BECAUSE I HAVE MORE TO GIVE AWAY.
- Shopping for other people is a lot more fun than shopping for yourself. Patti and I both don’t generally enjoy shopping but we loved getting fun place mats, matching animal cups and stuffed toys for the kids. Hoping it would make them feel welcome in our country.
- Helping others helps you appreciate what you have (even more). How much do I really need? I don’t know what NEED means, in my world.
Picture: This is my friend Patti, only the 2nd person to ever swim from Santa Cruz to Monterey. Here her site :I Keep Swimming – she swims to raise money.
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