Great and Small
How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment:
By: Moira Bundschuh
I remember many attributes of my mother. She had this funny, contagious, fully red-faced laugh that could fix my bad mood in a moment. She fit what seemed like 30 hours of things to do into each day. She carted me
to every club, craft, art lesson and activity I wanted to try next. But what I remember most about my mother is her desire to help people. She wasn’t a social worker or teacher, doctor or director of a non-profit. Instead, for most of her life, she ran a small local care-taking business with my father. It was what she did in her off time that sunk deep into my soul and shaped who I am today.
My mom, Cindy, helped people. Quiet, little things that many people never knew about and she didn’t talk much about. From the time I was a toddler, I remember her bringing me to the toy store and asking me to pick out a gift to give to a child whose parents couldn’t afford Christmas. Other times, we would make sandwiches to give to the Salvation Army for their bagged lunch programs. We’d sit at the kitchen table with piles of bread, condiments and meats making assorted sandwiches to hand out to people that needed something to eat. She’d make sure that we did it well because it was important that the sandwich look like something we would want to eat. When someone she knew, maybe a friend or a cousin, was short on the mortgage, car payment or utility bill, my mom would sit down at her desk with all of her bills and figure out a way to pay a little less of our bills that month and help the person whose home, car or lights were in jeopardy. Every once in a while she would say something to me like,“Everyone has a hard time in their life and it is important to help in some way.” It could be babysitting a child or taking them for a weekend so that parents could recharge. Every once in a while it was buying extra food and bringing it to a food pantry. She volunteered at nursing homes and, for the last ten years of her life, worked with people with dementia during their final days.
It was just a part of her life and became a part of mine. It was her very greatest gift to me. Now, as a mother, I think about all of the little things that she did for others and how she included me in those. It didn’t need to be a grand fundraising activity or personally saving an entire endangered species. Instead, my mother taught me about seeing the needs around me each day and having the courage to try to meet those needs if able. So, I bring my children to buy presents for others, just as my mom did with me. My four year old comes with me to help out with Homework at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center sometimes. This summer she walked a part of a few 5K races with me…she doesn’t know the charities and she doesn’t need to right now. We’re laying the groundwork. When she makes a beautiful picture, she asks if she can give it to a friend down the street. She’s starting to think about making the world a better place.
During the next few months, I’ll be talking to moms on Cape Cod who are serving others in their community. They’re moms like you and me who have decided that each small act of kindness can add up to real change. In addition, we’ll highlight some great local non-profits or charities that make an impact everyday in the lives of people on Cape Cod.
If you have a volunteer mom friend to nominate, feel free to send their name, contact information and a brief description of why you think they are a great volunteer mom to email@example.com
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