Project 9: National Day of Service Food Drive

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and it has been designated the National Day of Service.  In honor of the day, I planned a food drive just going door to door in our neighborhood.  I got this idea from my friend and colleague, Geri.  She has five kids, and years ago they went door-to-door in their neighborhood collecting canned goods.   She said that, to this day, her kids still talk about that project.  I chose this project because I hoped it would be a project my own child (and hopefully others) would talk about years down the road.

My original idea was to have a huge event with 30-40 people.  Despite my best efforts, almost no one had any interest in my project.  Only one friend, Judith, and two of her boys joined us.   After no one wanted to participate in the project, I was really worried that it might be a bad idea.  I was also really disappointed and sad, so I considered cancelling the project completely.  I am so glad I didn’t.  It turned out to be an excellent project!  Although it was on a much smaller scale than I had hoped, we had a wonderful time and collected a ton of food.

Judith, Ethan and Noah came over this afternoon, and we all set out with an empty wagon down the street.  Here we are heading out…

Ready to head out on our food drive!

I was really surprised by how excited the kids were as we headed out.  They raced from house to house, waiving their little American flags and even squealing with excitement.  Here is Abby at one of the first houses, waiting for someone to answer the door.  I think her expression says it all!

Our project got off to a bit of a rough start.  We started on one side of the street and hit house after house of bad luck.  Almost no one was home, and the ones who were home were far from ideal homes to visit!  At one home, a man came to the door.  We told him what we were doing, and he said that he did not live there.  We asked if anyone who lived there was home, and he rudely replied that they were busy.  We hit another house on that side of the street, and the people answered via the intercom.  One of the kids explained through the intercom what we were doing, and someone curtly responded “Not interested!” and never came to the door.  At this point, I was really getting nervous that this project was going to be a bust.  Rob said he was worried that this project might end up teaching exactly the wrong lesson.  Thankfully, the kids did not seem the least bit bothered by the rude responses or the lack of people actually at home. 

We crossed the street, declaring that we were sure the other side would be the “lucky side.”  Boy were we right!  House after house had someone who answered the door, and house after house had someone who graciously donated to the food drive.  Abby and Ethan did a great job taking turns and explaining to whoever answered the door that “Today is the National Day of Service.  Do you have any food you would like to donate to the food pantry?”  If anyone donated, we gave them a flier explaining our project and thanking them for donating.  At several houses, one of the kids would yell “Jackpot!” after someone donated a large amount of food.  Here are a few shots from the “lucky side” of the street…

Ethan, Noah and Abby

Rob and Jake

Jake enjoyed waiving his American flag!

We spent about an hour and a half going door to door in the neighborhood.  Of the people who were home, the overwhelming majority donated food.  I would say 80-90% of the people who were home happily contributed.  Several asked about who we were with and thanked us for doing the project.  By the end, our wagon was overflowing!

All in all, this project was wonderful.  I am so thankful that Judith and her boys joined us, as having other people work with us made it all the more special.  We made sure to explain to all of the kids exactly why we were doing this project and who the food was going to.  I am so thankful I did not throw a personal pity party and cancel the project.  Believe me, I considered it!  Instead, I end today with a renewed enthusiasm for giving and with pure joy and excitement over the great project we shared today.

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