Charity and Neighbors

Here’s something I learned.

People will drop by your house and ask for money.

I didn’t know that before I owned a house. On Labor Day, I was home from work, as were a lot of people. Apparently, charity beggars think that is the best time to drop by. A woman from my association stopped over about 10am to ask for money for Breast Cancer.

No, thank you.

About 1:00pm, someone stopped by to ask for money for Diabetes.

No, thank you.

Around 4pm, a woman came by to ask for donations for childhood Leukemia.

No,–“Wait!” she said.

“You don’t have to give me anything. I just want you to take this envelope. If you choose to give, you just drop it in my front door at your convenience.”

Okay, I can take an envelope, then I don’t have to be rude, I can just throw it away later.

Then this woman says, “and this is a special collection for us, one of the families in the association has a child that was just diagnosed with Leukemia.”

Well, obviously, that’s terrible. But, there are plenty of tragic stories out there. I’m not giving money willy-nilly because of some faceless people that I don’t even know.

As a side note, a fourth person dropped by on Monday, she had a petition going to change the association bylaws so that we can have garage sales. I could care less, but figured that since I don’t care, I might as well sign.

It was a busy day-off in Crestview Forest. Made me wonder what else I miss while I’m at work!

Now, let’s fast forward to last night. I was driving home from a pedicure with my mom. I was turning in to my street when I saw my neighbor Reggie out walking with his family. I came to a stop because his daughter was in the road. The mom went and got her off to the side and I drove past. As always, Reggie waved. Then, he saw my windows were down and he said hello as I drove by.

For those who don’t know, Reggie is the king of Pleasantville. The man is always cheerful, polite, and courteous. He waves, every day, at everyone in our court. He’s always outside (at least when it isn’t winter) and every night I come home, he waves hello. He knows everyone’s name and who lives where. He’ll stop to chat if he sees you outside. He’s just plain…nice. He is honestly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Last night, I stopped to get my mail and as I was headed home, my path crossed with Reggie’s family. He was as pleasant as always, and I got to meet his wife for the first time. Christina. She was also really nice and pleasant, though not quite as chatty as Reggie. Then they said, “and this is our daughter Avery.” She is a two year old sprite who was running wind sprints up and down the street.

She zoomed close enough that I could see her clearly when it hit me. She has the straggly-fine hair of a cancer patient. Avery is the child in our association who was recently diagnosed with childhood leukemia. I looked at Reggie and he smiled and said, “don’t worry, she’s doing great!”

I was struggling not to cry. I’m pretty sure he could tell.

I barely know these people, I don’t even know their last name, but Reggie is one of the first people I met when I moved in. He’s so nice. And this beautiful little girl, just two-years-old, has this horrible disease. She could die.

I stood outside with this lovely little family, just chatting for about 30 minutes. Avery ran up and down the street, doing funny things to get attention, as two-year-olds are wont to do.

When I got home, I saw that envelope sitting in my entryway. I looked at it for a moment and wished I wasn’t so broke. I wished that I could do more to help. Then I remembered how I just dropped $40 on a pedicure, an hour earlier. I remembered how excuses are just that–excuses. If it is a priority, then people will get it done.

I took $50 out of my emergency cash fund (I almost NEVER touch that fund) and put it in the envelope. I’ll drop it off tonight. I know it isn’t much, but it is what I can do. I give charitably every single year, probably more than I can reasonably afford. I enjoy doing it. It is my way of giving back. But, I give what I give and no more, there is always someone else with their hand out.

This time, however, I had to take that hand. It just hit too close to home.

2 thoughts on “Charity and Neighbors

  1. I don’t even know what to say about this post, as I am sitting here with tears in my eyes! OMG..That is just too sad. I don’t know Reggie, but he has waved at me, for sure.
    Please keep me posted if you hear anything.

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