Tag Archives: Ukraine

Courage at Twilight: Do the Good

The call went out for bars of soap—850 bars of soap. Soap was our neighborhood’s assignment.  Other neighborhoods were to provide toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, hair brushes, and wash cloths.  After the call went out for 850 bars of soap, Mom dropped into her shopping cart 16 soap bars, perfumed with cucumber and aloe, a soft and pleasing fragrance.  She sent me to deposit them in the box at Mary Ann’s house.  Lifting Hands International has been busy since the Syrian civil war displaced hundreds of thousands.  The NGO sends hygiene kits, food kits, blankets, milk goats, and other items to ease the hardships of refugee life.  Russia’s ridiculous war in Ukraine has displaced millions of desperate persons, and Lifting Hands has ramped up its work.  Tonight, more than 200 volunteers gathered at our local church meetinghouse, lining up with gallon bags into which we stuffed one of each item piled on the tables.  The line of volunteers circled the gym/cultural hall as we waited our turn to fill bags.  The completed kits were loaded into large black plastic bags, in turn loaded onto trucks.  Lifting Hands will load a shipping container and send it to Poland, or Moldova, or Romania for Ukrainian refugees.  We all felt wonderful being a part of the service project.  I am sure every woman and child receiving a hygiene kit will be grateful.  But I could not help but wonder if we were doing much good, or if we were really serving or just joining a 45-minute social event after which we could pat ourselves on the back for doing our part to make a better world.  Did the service improve refugee life in any meaningful way?  Did the service change me in any significant, genuine way?  What real good did our 16 bars of soap accomplish?  And what more can I do to build a better world?  I suppose that no good, kind act is ever wasted.  I want to believe that every good, kind act is cumulative of every other good, kind act, and weighs against the mass of human brutality and pride.  I want to believe that our 850 hygiene kits, joined with the 850 kits from each of 850 other neighborhoods—which, by the way, is 700,000 kits—joined with 700,000 school supply kits and 700,000 baby care kits and 700,000 bundles of clothes and bags of books and boxes of food—I want to believe these can be a formidable force for good in the world, even though they cost me only ten bucks and one hour of my time.  Do not ever resist performing a small act of good due to its smallness and apparent powerlessness, because no good, kind act is small or weak.  By small means are brought about great things, even miracles.  Small means: like mothers and father comforting and teaching and building children, like smiles and whistling happy tunes, like cooking dinner for Mom and Dad, sending birthday cards, or visiting great-grandmothers in nursing homes.  Do the good.

A small part of the volunteer force.

 

Toothbrushes.

 

Wash cloths.

 

This is what 850 bars of soap look like.

 

The completed kits in bags ready to load into trucks.