Sunday, February 20, 2011

Giving Back

George Eshilman, Maggie Toussaint, Wally Orrel
 This past week, I spoke at the Rotary Club in my hometown. The invite flumoxed me at first as this is a group of folks who help others in a very big way. I'm guilty of scheduling myself to the max, so that there's no time leftover for one more thing.

To prepare, I started thinking of giving back and helping others, and I was delighted to realize I had something to say. Now there's no way I give "Service Above Self" like the Rotarians, but I'm not a total slacker either.

About 4 years ago, I wrote, produced, and starred in a mini-series for local access TV on literacy. It was a blast, and I really enjoyed creating the programs. However, 25 minutes of air time equated to more than ten hours per week of prep-work. After I did about 5 shows, I had done all I could do without giving up my paying day job. But it was a community service.

Within the writing realm, I've helped beginning writers with critiques and advice.  I donated the profits from No Second Chance to a horse rescue farm.Outside of writing, I've helped at church, cooked meals for shut-ins, served on the Library Board, wrote newsletters for non-profits, and tutored elementary students.

I'm not saying this to toot my horn, but to seed the helping ground. Chime in and let me know of ways you've helped others. Maybe we'll spark a wave of helping!

Maggie Toussaint
Seeing Red - the bed and breakfast that almost wasn't
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  1. Great post, Maggie. I've also helped at my church, chaperoned untold field trips and concerts while my daughter grew up (in the process I have scads of "adopted" kids whom I love).

    I also help other authors with critiques and I'm currently helping my parents as they deal with my mother's cancer.

    There's probably more, but those are the things that come to mind right now.

    And then there are the times we help but don't realize it, a kind word, a hug or even an email. Once I forwarded an email to a young girl who was considering suicide, and she wanted to know, how did I know? I didn't. I just forwarded an inspirational email.

    I love the movie "Pay it Forward" and am a firm beliver in helping. You can never outgive God.

    Blessings... Beth Szabo

  2. Hi Beth,

    What lovely ideas. I forgot about trip chaperoning when the kids were in the going here and yon ages. I did that. Also chaperoned numerous kid dances - that should count double, not that I'm counting:)

    Pay it Forward is a great motto to live by.

    I'm so glad you stopped in!

  3. Kudos to all who are able-bodied for getting out there and lending a helping hand. My hand is extended via the internet and like to think I am helpful to others. What a wonderful world it would be if everyone did at least one random act of kindness a week, or even month for that matter.

  4. Maggie--nothing big from me, on the giving-helping side, other than the chaperone thing, and a few meals-on-wheels, contacting elderly (I seem to have a knack with the elderly)--and cook mountains of casseroles for the sick, the infirm, and funerals. I "see after" (a Southern term?) an elderly lady who lives up the road in an Assisted Living place--since it's on my way to everything, I pick her up for church things and circle. For it, she makes a trip to San Antonio each Christmas to go to Central Market and buy me a box a "Bachi" chocolates, handmade in Italy.
    I'm proud of you for your talk to the Rotary Club--and I see you have your books in hand! Good for you! Celia

  5. Sometimes when you do kind deeds, you really don't think about it. An old lady in an overcoat carrying two bags of groceries in July, when it's a hundred degrees. Of course I stopped. It was sweltering. She lived at least two miles away, and I brought her home. And while I couldn't remember her name, she knew mine. She worked for me in my nursing home when we first opened.

    Another hitch-hiker was a man with a dog in a box. I don't normally pick up hitch-hikers, but an old lady and a man with a dog in a box seem like safe bets. He was going to the local Air Force base, as he was ill and needed to drop the dog off at a place they had there. Where was I going? The Air Force base to pick up some groceries.

    Good people don't do good deeds to earn brownie points. They do them because it is the right thing to do...

  6. Maggie--good for you for helping others and remind people to do it. When my Mom was still around I didn't have much time for others, but I held a booksigning at our church with all proceeds going to the church. After Mom, I got more involved, cooking and baking with a group of women at the church for Christmas bake sales. Recently I was asked to volonteer at the local library and teach conversanional French to a group of ladies who want to travel to France.

  7. Giving back feels absolutely wonderful, not only for the recipient, but also for the giver of goodwill!
    Any little thing or big thing we do can only help the community and those who need it.
    Great Blog Maggie and a wonderful reminder to us all...

  8. Hi All! Thanks so much for your comments.

    Adelle, you are the most helpful person I know!

    Celia, "Seeing after" definitely counts as helping others. Kudos to you for that.

    Hey Donna, You are a generous person to help others. Your community is very blessed to have you.

    Hi Mona, I love the way you help with cooking and now by using your language skills to help others. That's so nice.

    Hi Mary, I'm so glad you share the same sentiment. I am thankful for the people who've helped me and I hope to continue to pass that goodwill along.

    Thanks for stopping in!


  9. Maggie, I always find a very rewarding feeling comes over me when I can help. Sadly, it's not always easy to help because I have to be very money conscious in today's economy. I always give to my church's food bank because I know there's a lot out there who are looking for a good meal. Just recently, a lady at work was putting together bags for the homeless on skid row here in LA so I went to the dollar tree and bought her a bunch of toothpaste. It was a good feeling knowing I could help.


  10. I like it best when there is something concrete you can do to help, like Steph and her toothpaste.


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