Sanders: Returning the favor |

Sanders: Returning the favor

If you listen to the news you could conclude that there is nothing good going on in our country. That would be wrong. Generosity abounds but since it is not "newsworthy" it was rarely reported, until now.

Mike Rowe (his old program was "Dirty Jobs") has a show that can be watched only on Facebook and it's called "Returning the Favor." Rowe and his crew find some "bloody do-gooder" (Rowe's words) who are helping people. Rowe pays them a visit and showers them with money, supplies, vehicles or whatever Rowe thinks is needed. His crew films the episodes of "Returning the Favor," which details what the project is and who benefits. The ways these individuals and groups come up to help others are ingenious and the outcomes have lasting consequences.

Many of the "do-gooders" don't boast or even talk about their helpfulness, but over time actions leak out, often an informal group is formed and more workers get involved. Sometimes a nonprofit is created, other times it's a just a bunch of people who get together to help their fellow man. The youngest volunteer I've seen is 3 and there is no age limit to helping others. Everyone can contribute something, time, ideas, money or even encouragement.

Recently Rowe added another Facebook page that is even more intriguing. It is called "Returning the Favor Effect," which allows anyone to tell of a person or group in their community who does great things for others. Rowe will likely select a few of the volunteers for future episodes of "Returning the Favor." High on the list are organized projects to collect and distribute food and clothing. Additional causes are items for soldiers or veterans. One woman owns a laundromat and she lets people wash their clothing for no charge.

“Many of the “do-gooders” don’t boast or even talk about their helpfulness, but over time actions leak out, often an informal group is formed and more workers get involved.”

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The upshot of "Effect" for me is this: Are the people in our country really this bad off? Are people taking advantage of the generosity of others?

The posts I have seen are from cities, although small communities also have needs. In our local area the ministerial association takes the lead by hosting a food pantry run by volunteers and stocked by community residents throughout the year. Another way the group of pastors helps is with a monetary fund for emergency assistance, such as needing gas money. To begin the process an individual needs to contact a pastor, explain the circumstances and the pastor can sign a form giving permission for the transfer of funds. The voucher is then taken to the sheriff's office to receive the money. This method helps those who truly need assistance.

Whether it is neighbors helping each other in various unsung ways or individuals banding together to make a larger impact, in any community there are those who help others and they are always looking for additional volunteers and goods. Step up if you can. ❖