The Power of Charity

"The Good Samaritan"

“The Good Samaritan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After weeks and weeks of nothing but shocking and depressing news, the time has finally come for something more uplifting and inspiring.

It’s about time.

With so much violence and hatred in the world, it’s hard not to become selfish as you protect what little the economy allows you to buy. People are desperate and some turn to crime to attain the things they can no longer afford. In fact, you could probably throw a rock out the window and hit someone down on his or her luck.

It’s really that bad.

The good news is that even in this sad, cruel world, there are people who put the needs of others above their own wants and needs. Today I will focus on three individuals whose acts of kindness prove there is still goodness and light in the growing darkness of our society.

Our first “Good Samaritan” comes from Narberth, Pennsylvania. A few weeks ago, Britt Benner was shovelling snow in his driveway when he came across a strange, unmarked envelope. He looked inside and much to his surprise, it contained a large sum of cash in various denominations.

Under normal circumstances, and in light of the struggling economy, many of us would be tempted to pocket the cash or to use it to pay some of our expenses, but not Benner. Rather than keeping it for himself, he immediately took the cash to the Narberth Police, where it remains unclaimed to this day.

Narberth police officer Kelly Lynn received the money from Benner and was instantly impressed by his honesty: “It’s just great that someone is out here to do the right thing for once.”

I always preach that honesty is the best policy. It’s just nice to see it in action sometimes. Great job, Britt!

Our second “do-gooder” is 7-year-old Grace Callwood of Abingdon, Maryland. Several years ago, doctors found cancer in Grace’s lymph nodes and bone marrow. She has undergone countless treatments, surgeries and other procedures and, thankfully, her cancer has gone into remission.

Let’s hope it stays that way.

Not long ago, Grace and her family visited Disney World with the help of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It was a fun trip for all and every day when she woke up, Grace would find toys waiting for her. One of her favorites was a tea set.

Fortunately, it didn’t remain one of her favorites for long. And in a moment you’ll see why “fortunately” is the best word to use here.

In a completely unselfish act, and for no other reason than she felt like doing it, Grace decided to donate a number of her toys to the Harford Family House in Aberdeen, a non-profit that provides a home for less fortunate or displaced families.

Among the donated toys was, as you might have guessed, her new Disney tea set. This made an immediate impression on Harford’s Executive Director Joyce Duffy.

“Her mother said, ‘Oh, this is the tea set she got at Disney’ and I was like ‘wow’,” Duffy said later. “That was such a special trip for her and that she would even consider giving away something she just received on that trip was… I’m choking up. I’m sorry… it was just amazing to me.”

It was amazing to me too, Joyce.

Most children horde their toys like adults horde their material possessions. So when a child like Grace decides to give her toys away, especially without being prompted by her parents, it always warms my heart. Maybe not as much as it warmed her mother’s heart, though.

Grace Callwood_20130301170117_JPG

Grace donates her toys (courtesy of Scripps Media 2013)

“I’m extremely proud of Gracey,” her mother T’Jae Gibson said of the altruistic act. “My daughter’s an awesome teacher. She teaches me so much.”

And she taught us all a valuable lesson, too. No matter what hand you’re dealt in life, the important thing is what you make of it. It’s nice to see Grace making the most of the time she’s been given. Here’s hoping she gets even more time to spread the kind of joy those unfortunate children with new toys must be feeling.

You’re awesome, Gracey! And don’t you ever change!

The final story of kindness and charity involves a celebrity, the celebrated pianist and easy listening vocalist Barry Manilow.

You might not have heard of him before, but I guarantee you that your parents have.

At any rate, Manilow recently donated a Yamaha piano to the Baltimore City School System to help launch a local instrument drive. As you may already know, the first things cut from most public school curriculums during budget crunches are fine arts programs, and music is no exception.

We have a similar problem at the small college where I work. Programs like art, theater and music simply don’t get the support or funding they truly need, and ultimately it’s the students who suffer.

Thankfully, artists like Manilow are sensitive to the needs of today’s students and believe music can play an important role in their development. To help the students of Baltimore, he’s not only donating a piano to get the ball rolling; he’s offering two free tickets to his April 20th concert for anyone who donates a new or slightly used instrument to the cause.

Barry Manilow Live

Barry Manilow Live (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I’m thrilled to be able to help bring the gift of music to these kids,” Manilow told the local media. And I’m sure these kids are thrilled to be getting so much support from such an unlikely source.

Perhaps they could honor Manilow with a rendition of “Copacabana” during their first pep rally?

I hope you found these stories as inspirational as I did when I first discovered them. In a world filled with crime, war and death, it’s nice to know that someone is moving our society in the right direction. And it reminds me of a saying engraved on a plaque in my office: “The positive always defeats the negative.”

It’s time to bring that positivity back, folks. Just follow the examples of the individuals mentioned here and there may still be hope for us yet!

Posted on March 6, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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