Shortly after the Newtown Shooting, MACC Staff gathered in the Community Kitchen for a quarterly meeting. The feeling in the room was somber but it lightened a bit when several $10 gift cards to a local grocery store were handed out  to us. Each card had a piece of paper which held the name and age of a victim from the recent shooting.We waited for instructions. The cards weren’t for staff to keep, they were to be given out as a gift to whoever we wanted to bless. They were random acts of kindness waiting to happen. They were a simple and humble response, bits of healing, to push back against the violence that erupted in our midst.

Yesterday, on June 26th, staff gathered again and told stories about the gift cards we were given to hand out. We recounted our tales, beginning with the names on our cards, and cried and laughed for the next half hour. One staff member recalled meeting with a client who brought their children into the office. While they were talking, one child toyed with something in his small hands and when asked about it, the mother replied that “it was a piece of candy he’s had since yesterday.” The boy didn’t want to eat it because the knew that as soon as he indulged, there would be no more treat. He didn’t know when he would have candy again. Our staff member drew one of the cards we were given and told the mother to take the children for treats. Immediately, the kids brightened up and asked if they could go to the store now (they really wanted some sweets!) It was a joyous moment and one that will not be forgotten by the family or our staff member.

It’s not everyday that we have a spare $10 card to hand out, but small acts like this can change the trajectory of someone’s day. Mother Teresa coined the phrase “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” We know that our volunteers embody this every day at MACC. They treat our clients with the utmost dignity and respect. There’s the occasional “slip” when some extra cookies end up in a child’s bag and there’s nothing quite like the smile that follows. Serving with joy is one of the best ways to push back against the darkness that looms, trying to drown out the light.We encourage you to give it a try. Whether you volunteer at MACC or just want to change someone’s world in another small way, do it with great love and let your light shine bright.

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