The joy of giving outweighs the pleasure of receiving!
Whenever there is a birthday celebration in my family, we try to donate food either in USA or in India because I come from a family where my dad used to borrow weekly/monthly groceries back in the day and pay them off at the beginning of the next month as he got his salary. I try to teach my kids to appreciate and cherish the food and thank god for having such food on their plate and when there are those who have nothing on their plate. #fightagainsthunger Prior to the pandemic, we volunteered at Meals from the Heartland to pack food through as part of a non-profit organization called ManaloniManishiFoundation which I am a member!
It’s been a few years since we planted the seed of giving by telling our boys that we should donate the money we were planning to spend on his birthday that year to an organization that helps needy people #Annapoornapathakam. Fast forward 5 months, as his birthday approaches, we were arranging to have a cake and other décor ideas, when he reminded us about giving them money, which I assumed would take some time, maybe when they were in their teens.
In the present year, our family has been indirectly impacted by the epidemic. We lost a loved one who was undergoing cancer treatment, and everything went wrong at the top of the second wave, and we lost her; she is my mother-in-law.
We try to remember to celebrate birthdays by donating food to a food bank or a site in need after a few months of mourning. On the day of one of our close family members’ birthday, we bought a little cake from a bakery and gave it to a homeless man who was holding a sign outside the shop. My younger brother-in-law was ecstatic, and he could see it on the face of the man who took it.
I was heading back home in India yesterday when we stopped at a bank for my elder BIL to quickly execute a transaction. This time, I was going back to their place with my better half and my father-in-law. As soon as he stepped inside the bank, a homeless guy approached and knocked on the car window, asking if we could help him in any way. Normally, I’d bring my wallet, but none of us had any money and only a few fruits on this particular day. This person had been standing in the scorching heat for over 15 minutes. When my BIL returned, he gave him some Indian currency and fruits, and we could all see his eyes were red as tears streamed down his cheeks.
We were all awestruck as we drove home, unaware that we had unintentionally contributed to another family member’s birthday.