Editorial: The Charity of Small Things

by David Lam

What goes around…comes around: a famously known saying that captures the universal notion which advocates that what you give is what you receive. By this definition, if you spread good, you receive good. Well, what determines if something is ‘good’? Is performing ‘good’ a burden? Does it cost money? People live by different definitions of ‘good,’ but one practice of good that ASW has stood by for over a decade is the continuous work alongside the Warsaw Volunteer Mission. 

The Warsaw Volunteer Mission is a non-profit organization comprised of culturally diverse staff and volunteers who set out with the goal of aiding families and individuals in crisis who lack sufficient resources to lead a healthy life. They provide assistance, whether financial, material, spiritual, or emotional, to anyone who may need it. The organization is run by people driven with kindness and generosity and who are motivated to make the world a better place. 

Many people suffer the false perspective that doing something ‘good’ requires sacrifices, whether in their time, finances, or health. And in order to discredit this belief, I set out to prove, through my personal project, that helping a less fortunate community can be as insignificant as donating cookies. 

I spent one afternoon making a large batch of cookies (45 min) and spent another afternoon baking the dough to create a sum of around 260 cookies. Although this may seem extreme, the baking part of the process was mostly a passive step and did not require much effort. The cookies were given to the Warsaw Volunteer Mission on the 24th of December via Ms. Ligita, who gave the cookies as part of the donations each advisory was working on in order to distribute them by Christmas. The cookies were a part of a community meeting, where people in need gathered and received goods, and the cookies served as a small token of kindness the people could enjoy. Things we deem as insignificant, such as cookies, can contribute to how happy a community can be during the holidays, and not every good deed has to involve such large volumes. 

As students who have the privilege of attending ASW, we have the luxury of having shelter, food, and any other necessities we may need, and said privilege might have blinded us to the value that small things can bring. That is why we think that doing something ‘good’ takes more effort than we are willing to put in. Although baking 260 cookies is unorthodox, passing forward a good deed, as small as it may be, can make a difference and even uplift a community’s spirit. I baked for around 50 families, but if I were baking for one, that would mean only five cookies. Two hundred fifty cookies for fifty families, or five cookies for one, they would have made the same emotional difference.

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