Wearing the Knowledge of Doing Something Good
Last week I took a few days off from work and took my 12-year-old daughter to Chicago for a mini-vacation. We traveled on a budget, taking the Megabus there and back, and found a cheap motel to stay in. We didn’t do anything extravagant. We simply went to the Art Institute, Navy Pier, and State Street and North Michigan Avenue.
One thing struck me more than anything else, and that was how many people, men and women, wore the latest fashions and had perfectly coiffed hair. The city seemed filled with beautiful people – most of it built on having enough money to be fashionable. By the end of our three days in Chicago, I couldn’t help wondering how much could be done to help others with the cost of just one of their outfits being donated instead of donned?
I would estimate, at least among the Michigan Avenue crowd, that $300 – $500 would have been the cost of an average outfit – let’s split the difference and make it $400. (I’ll forget about hair costs).
Here are a few thoughts on what could be done with that $400 to help people in Haiti:
– A student could be sponsored for 14 months (food, uniforms, books, teachers, etc.)
– 80% of the cost of a water purification system could be covered that would provide safe water to 50 families
– 40 pair of laying hens could be bought to provide food and income
– A classroom could be equipped with books and supplies for a year
– 2-4 small businesses could be started with micro-loans
– 40 children could be provided vitamins, worm medication and supplements for 1 year
– A construction worker could be supplied with a complete set of tools to support a family with
– A family could buy a share in a community garden to provide food and a bit of extra income
I like nice clothes, too. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look for your boss and your peers. But how often do any of us actually stop and think whether we need another nice outfit in our closets?
I don’t want to spoil anybody’s enjoyment of nice clothes, like I said; I like nice things, too. What I would like is for people to stop before they buy another nice outfit and ask themselves which would be nicer, having another new outfit, or having the knowledge that they had saved a life or transformed a life in Haiti?
Occasionally it feels good to wear the knowledge that you had a positive impact on someone’s life.
– John Hagerman