I wanted to start a conversation here on how Gangplank can give back to the community. Whether it be thru volunteer service, charitable act, donations etc. I think it is time we organize our efforts to help the local community. I want to hear your thoughts on what gangplank can do.
Allow me to share a story. Once upon a time I was tasked with the challenge of helping someone. It was a bet. 8 people put $100 each on the line, and the 8 were split into 2 teams of 4. Our task was to help someone, and whichever team helped the most won the full $800.. aka double our $100 investment. We had exactly 4 hours to accomplish our mission.
As team leader I decided our efforts would be focused on the elderly. I came up with a plan to simply brighten the day of some senior citizens at a local senior home. Now if you have ever been to a senior home, you will know they need their day brightened.
I flipped open the phone book and called a senior care-giving facility out in east Mesa and asked if they would mind if we brought some gifts over to their residents. The lady said sure, and dinner was at 5pm.
I tasked one guy to work the phone, his job was to call all the local flower shops between us (Elliot and 1-10 in Tempe) and the facility we chose to work with out in East Mesa.
I opened my laptop and called back to my office (obuweb.com) and got my hired programming gun at the time Jason Ayers on the phone and told him what we were doing. Between the two of us we launched a quick little website at the time called “Blessing for Seniors” .com (A name suggested by one of the group members). Also designed some quick “Donation Receipts” that I ran over to Kinko’s to get printed off. Receipts in hand, and website live (thanks to wordpress) we were off.
The guy working the phones stayed behind and called us whenever he had a hot lead. We would arrive at the flower shop and introduce ourselves saying that “HI, You spoke with our associate, you have some flowers for us to pick up”. Here’s the deal, Every flower shop has throw-aways.. aka flowers that did not sell and will be tossed before the expire. We would fill out the little receipt with dollar amount value of the flowers, and leave a copy with flower shop owner.
We made about 15 stops along the way to the senior home, the Audi I drive was bursting with flowers. One shop even gave us 4 dozen small glass vases.
So we arrived at the Senior home, and met the “Activities Coordinator” that I spoke with earlier. She was blown away by the volume of flowers we produced.
Myself and my team members stopped at every room and chatted with the residents as we left flowers in little vases on their nightstand or table. This 20-30 minutes had a profound impact on me. Some of these residents were very old, and very ill.. Yet it was evident that they were deeply touched by the visit and the gift.
Finally we met in the dining hall, It was supper time. The nurses and orderlies were bringing the residents in by wheel chair and escorting those that could walk with assistance. We left a large bouquet of flowers in a vase on every table, and spoke with each table/residents while we were there. Again.. It is hard describe what I felt at the time doing this. These people were geniunely touched at our small gesture. Ever have an 96 yr old lady tell you what a nice young man you are, and that your gift of flowers was the nicest thing someone has done for her in years?
We had to get back, so we said goodbye and left.
Total Value of flowers: $850, Total Cost: $0
Doing a small deed to help others…. pardon the cliche: priceless.
Of course my team won the contest and we pocketed the winnings.. Though you see, the other team decided to pick a homeless man up, feed him, give him a shower, buy him a new set of clothes, and even lined up a few job interviews for him at Goodwill and The Salvation Army as a warehouse clerk. My team decided to pocket our original investment, put our $100 back in our pocket.. and give our winnings to the homeless guy as pocket money. More giving the better.
The moral of the story. It only takes your time to make a difference in the lives of others.
This is just one idea I did some years ago. Please share with me your ideas on how Gangplank can give back, whatever they may be.