The following excerpt comes from my upcoming 13th book, Shawna's Outreach: When we each give a little, a lot gets done, by Shawna Thibodeau and Amanda Sterczyk. All royalties from this book will go directly to help people living in poverty and on the streets of Ottawa. It's called, "A day in the life of a donation."
Let’s meet Hotel Hank, the complimentary bar of soap we all pick up on overnight hotel stays. His journey is one example of how even the smallest item can have a profound influence on someone’s life.
Hotel Hank has been languishing on the stairs of a suburban Ottawa home for at least six months. Don’t let his diminutive appearance fool you: he has big dreams. All he wants is to meet up with his pal, Water, and help someone get clean. Never quite making it to a water source, his mission has been thwarted. Until today.
9:37 a.m. A careless footfall on the stairs sends Hotel Hank reeling, tumbling end over end until he lands at the bottom of the stairs, slightly askew. The person responsible for said relocation picks up Hotel Hank with one hand, as the other hand scrolls distractedly on a smartphone.
9:38 a.m. A friend’s social media post about Shawna’s Outreach fills the smartphone screen. Coincidentally, it’s a post detailing the need for toiletries.
9:39 a.m. Eyes shift from one hand to the other, from looking at Hotel Hank to reading the post about Shawna’s Outreach. A lightbulb goes off as a plan is formed.
9:40 a.m. A direct message arrives at Shawna’s Outreach: “Hi, I have a bar of soap that I’d like to donate. How can I get it to you?”
10:37 a.m. Hotel Hank is delivered to a local shop that serves as a drop-off point for Shawna’s Outreach. Shawna will be coming by in a few hours to gather the items in this donation bin. In the meantime, Hotel Hank chills with the other products that are awaiting delivery to their final destination.
12:44 p.m. Shawna arrives and collects Hotel Hank and the other donated items. She brings them to the back of her vehicle and begins distributing them in the half-filled bags. Hotel Hank joins a bag that already contains the usual items (drink, source of protein, socks, etc.).
3:00 p.m. After a few additional stops to pick up more donations and sort them into waiting bags, Shawna arrives in downtown Ottawa to begin sharing the bags with the unhoused people she meets on the street.
4:12 p.m. The bag containing Hotel Hank is handed to a young man sitting on the curb. He quickly opens the bag and begins pulling out the items. A smile forms across his face as he takes out Hotel Hank, and he tells Shawna that he hasn’t had a shower in four days. He’s looking forward to using his new bar of soap—Hotel Hank.
5:13 p.m. Hotel Hank’s dream comes true at last as he meets his pal, Water. More exuberant than soapy bubbles is his pride in helping this young homeless person. It’s been a good day all around.
Copyright: Shawna Thibodeau and Amanda Sterczyk 2023, all rights reserved.
Amanda Sterczyk is an international author, Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM), an Exercise is Medicine Canada (EIMC) Fitness Professional, and a Certified Essentrics® Instructor.