I am always disappointed because I cannot change the world. It is a really hard thing to do. There is a lot to change and it is hard to know what to do or where to begin. So far I have tried to change the world by rescuing animals, or by donating money to animals, or by buying cat food for people I do not actually know, or by forcibly taking people’s cats and getting them spayed and finding homes for the kittens – speaking of which, if you live anywhere near the Cleveland area, this kitty is the last one who needs a home from a group of kitties I took from someone. This is the mom kitty, and her kittens have all been adopted. I can vouch that she is super sweet and adorable, so click this link, and if you live anywhere remotely near me, I will even deliver her to you. Like, really, I will drive 4 or 5 hours to bring you this kitty if you will give her a good home. Click here to see the kitty.
Her name is Darcy. It was originally Moo, but they already had a kitty named Moo, so they named her after me.
Unrelated to animals, I tend to give generously to homeless people, no matter what story they give me. Sure, they might go spend it on crack or something, but that is not for me to judge. I have handed out 10’s and 20’s. When I go to NYC, I literally bring cash in ten dollar bills just for this purpose.
I tip really well. I gave a 100% tip to a guy a few weeks ago because I think being a server is one of the crappiest jobs ever.
I am NOT saying all this to say “Hey, look what a saint I am”. I am saying this to emphasize the point that I have rarely actually done work or actively done something to help. It is always monetary. I do not even go out and buy the cat food, I order it online and have it shipped. This is also NOT to say “I have lots of money” because oh, I so do NOT have a lot of money. So really, take it for what I mean, which is that I rarely actively do something to change the world. I like to think I have an effect with my cat food buying and stealthy spaying, but I have never volunteered at a food bank (ok, I actually have, but only 2 or 3 times in my life), I have never tutored underprivileged children, I have never mown the lawn of an elderly neighbor. While it is my life’s most biggest importantest ambition and goal – to change the world – I have actually only done it by ordering things online or giving a homeless person ten bucks.
It is hard because when I look at it, I want to save EVERY ANIMAL. The ones who need homes, the ones who are scared, even wild animals who might not be entirely happy for whatever reason. I want to do some huge sweeping thing where BOOM, all the animals are happy. But I also want to do that for humans, to a lesser extent.
I still have not done anything huge, BUT, I have done something more active and it seems to have worked. Also it turns out some kid did this in Texas before me, so I am not as original or thoughtful as I thought.
I have a friend named Dawn who is a couponing fiend. She can walk into a store and come out with $100 worth of stuff, and they end up owing her money. So I thought, hey, if she did that and got all kinds of “portable” food (items that can be eaten without having a home to eat them in), that could be neat. Dawn is so good at this that I gave her a “starting fund” of $100, she delivered three huge Rubbermaid bins of food, and I am fairly certain she has about $80 left.
Then I thought, I have all kinds of friends who knit and crochet. They could make scarves and hats and blankets and things, and if we were to give that to a homeless person, that could be neat, too.
Then I thought, I bet people would also look for these deals Dawn finds, and maybe contribute.
All that led to this group of people creating gift bags for homeless people. We gathered all of the donations at my place of employment, and after about three weeks, this is what we had:
I mean, that’s a shit ton, right?! It was awesome. Embrace people helped, Half Price Books donated the tote bags, and friends donated items. We also had about 5 coats not shown in the video. I assembled my team of volunteers and my mom put together like, 35 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while Sabrina the Human, my brother David and my nieces and I all put together the bags. Here is a picture of the volunteers….with my cat’s face on my nieces because we do not share them on social media. But I do share my cat. I think this picture is framable.
This is how many bags we made. There were two sandwiches in each bag, a bottle of water, many packs of peanut butter crackers and granola bars and nuts and canned fruit (with a pull tab, so no opener is needed), some individual packs of Kleenex, Neosporin and wipey things, and some combination of a hat, a scarf, and socks.
We packed up Hamster Car and went downtown in search of homeless people. The problem was, it was pouring rain, so there were not a lot of people milling about. We decided to go to the Bishop Cosgrove Center because he is dead now and he was my mom’s cousin and he did the marriage for my mom and dad since my dad is Jewish and couldn’t get married in the Catholic Church. We thought that would be good as ancestors of Bishop Cosgrove to give them our bags and they could give them to people who go there. But they were closed and locked up. Then we drove towards the Flats where there are a lot of bridges and maybe homeless people would be under the bridges. Before we got there, we saw a guy crossing the street with a sign around his neck that said he was homeless, so I whipped Hamster Car in to a side street, parked and ran after him. MY version of running, which was sort of plodding along at an only slightly faster rate than normal. I followed him into the library and stopped him and he was happy to get a bag and surprised and I said “Do you know where I could find more….people who….maybe could use a bag?”. That was me trying not to say “Where do the homeless people gather, oh wise and singular homeless man that I have found”. He directed me to a homeless shelter, so off we went. We found another homeless man on the way and gave him a bag.
At the shelter David, Sabrina the Human and I were deciding who should go in and who should stay with the kids in the car. I said David should stay with the kids because he knows Ju Jitsu and could kill someone if he needed to. Then I jokingly said “Wait, Sabrina shouldn’t go, she’s too attractive and it’s a men’s shelter”. I either jinxed her or predicted the future, because she definitely got attention. The guy at the desk inside said that another guy would help us bring in the bags, and the other guy did. I was carrying the coats and some bags, and a “gentleman” walked right up to Sabrina the Human and literally looked straight at her boobs and then looked her up and down and said things. Sabrina the Human said “Alright, move along” and I, in my heroic act of the day, gently shoved my coats between her and the guy. It was extremely aggressive and threatening of me, and I am sure he felt my power.
We went back out to leave, and Sabrina the Human’s “friend” was out there and he went straight to her while his friend, Robert Lee as he introduced himself, came to me and asked if I would drive him to his mom’s house. I said no. He asked if he could call her and I actually did not have my phone in my pocket, so I said so. We were detained for a minute or two before my brother, in Hamster Car, realized we were not talking to homeless shelter employees/volunteers, but to homeless guys who were not letting us go. He got out of the car and rescued us.
I am going to insert some comments about my brother, here. Everyone knows, I worship Dan Folino. But I also hold my brother in very high esteem and always have. He is not forthcoming with communication or texting or using words. Any word said to me is like, reassurance that he actually does like me. For him to get out of the car to rescue me is, like, huge.
Anyway, they were very thankful even though 20 bags for 500 guys in a shelter is not much, but now we know where to go to find individual homeless people in the future.
And then also one of our fish at work died and the other fish were eating her. Here she is, dead.