This week’s ‘good people’ post is just a bit late, but hopefully worth the wait.
The trash man watcheth …
We don’t give much thought to our trash collectors, or binmen … they come once or twice a week, pick up the trash, and that’s that. They likely don’t give much thought to us, either. Unless, of course, they are Jake Bland at Hometown Hauling, a refuse collection company in Louisville, Kentucky.One day last week, Jake noticed that one house on his route hadn’t put out any trash for the past two weeks, so he asked the company’s dispatcher to call the customer. The dispatcher, fearing the worst, was relieved when the 90-year-old customer answered the phone, but that relief quickly dissipated when she found out why there had been no trash for two weeks: the woman had no trash because she had run out of food ten days before!
Said the dispatcher, Bernice Arthur …
“She just didn’t have nothing to eat….and that’s why she had no trash to put out there. She has no family, nobody. I said, ‘You do have a family now.’”
And indeed, the folks at Hometown Hauling jumped in and became family for the elderly woman, known only as Mrs. W. They compiled a list, went shopping and brought Mrs. W. enough groceries to last for quite a while. Money was not Mrs. W’s problem, but logistics were. She does not drive and was afraid to take a bus in this era of coronavirus. Nonetheless, the crew at Hometown Hauling paid for the food and it was their gift to Mrs. W. I’m pretty sure that Jake and Bernice will be keeping check on Mrs. W. for the foreseeable future.
Thumbs up to all those who participated in this venture, for without them, Mrs. W. would likely be dead by now.
Little people doing BIG things …
More than two years ago, I wrote about a young man, Jahkil Jackson, who had come to my attention because of his good works that started when he was about 8 years old and started his non-profit, Project, I Am. He had begun making “Blessing Bags” — kits full of socks, toiletries and snacks that he could offer to the homeless in his hometown of Chicago. Young Jahkil, now 12-years-old, has floated onto my radar again this week when, in the ever-growing dark shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, he expanded his project to include yet another vulnerable population — senior citizens — in his hometown.
“I don’t think it’s safe for anybody to go outside right now. So, I decided to give them the daily essentials like hand sanitizer, which is very important, wipes, tissue. I feel like those really help them. I’m doing my part and helping. And I feel like it’s everyone’s duty to help out where they can. Everybody in the world, they’re scared, they’re worried. So, we have to work together to uplift each other.”
I repeat what I said two years ago when I first discovered young Jahkil … what an awesome young man! But wait … I’m not finished, for young Jahkil has teamed up with a young man in Gaithersburg, Maryland, 7-year-old Cavanaugh Bell. Age … distance??? Pshaw … just another hurdle to overcome!When the pandemic hit, Cavanaugh and his mom went grocery shopping for his 74-year-old grandmother, who lives in a nearby senior living community. Cavanaugh couldn’t help but also worry about his grandmother’s friends. He wondered whether they were getting all the food and other essentials they needed.
“I just wanted to make sure that they were staying home, and they were staying safe. My grandma is my best friend. We all love our senior citizens and they mean more to us than anything else. I just decided to do something nice for them.”
So, Cavanaugh used his $600 in savings to purchase food and supplies to take to the other seniors. Word spread, and he started receiving donations to help his mission. To date, his GoFundMe page has raised more than $12,000.
Now, Cavanaugh has opened a community pantry for families in need to pick up care packages filled with food and other necessary household items. Recently, Cavanaugh and Jahkil connected about their mutual cause and how they could team up to get their care packages into the hands of even more people.
For starters, Jahkil assembled and sent 50 of his blessing bags to Cavanaugh, who simultaneously sent packages of food items and other supplies to Jahkil. Jahkil used the donations from Cavanaugh to make more blessing bags — helping him reach more seniors and homeless people. Cavanaugh distributed Jahkil’s blessing bags to those in need through his community pantry.
“I think it’s important for us young kids to work together because kids are very powerful and they can make change, too,” said Jahkil, who plans to coordinate efforts with more young do-gooders throughout the country.
“Anyone can have an impact no matter their age, no matter if they’re older or they’re young. Because whatever you believe you can achieve,” Cavanaugh said. “With love we can get through this together.”
Now, obviously these two young men have a bit of help from their families, but that’s part of the point. Jahkil’s and Cavanaugh’s parents are teaching these guys at a very young age how to be good people, that we all have a responsibility to help others in times of need. Just as we tend to blame parents when young people get in trouble, I think we must also applaud parents like those of these two youngsters, for they are teaching their children well. These kids and others like them are the future of our country, a future that may be a bit brighter for having these two and others like them.