It was nearing the end of Ramadan, I had planned a few events called "The Ramalympics" to get people together , and have some good clean fun, you know, paintball, go karting, bowling etc etc...The whole point of these gatherings, was to get good people together, and have them know one another. My plan was to do this once a week throughout the month and end it with something really "GOOD". As the last week of the month quickly crept up, I received an email from my wonderful mother about raising canned food, and toys for the needy. I loved that someone was organizing such an effort, but what I didn't like was the way it was being done, impersonal, and seemingly obligatory. People were just writing checks and mailing them, taking canned food and dropping it off in a box outside of a mosque, or someone's house. You might say, "take what you can get" or "be happy that people actually give a shit", all valid statements. My point is that we soon forget when, where, why, and who we gave these generous donations to.I wanted people to get away from their phones, get up from behind the screens we stare at all day, get rid of the nonsense for one night.I then started to think of a way to get people TOGETHER. For ordinary citizens with no obligation to any cause, organization, or faith based initiatives, to come together, with the the aligned motive of simply "helping humans". So with 4 days to go till the end of Ramadan, it was time to bring every human being I could to unite in one effort for one hour, with one thing in mind, TOYLESS CHILDREN. So I got on the social media train and pumped as many invites with the help of some promoters in the city as well and that amazing thing they call "word of mouth" We were to get together in front of Toys R Us, 100 people strong, united, to bring smiles and joy into the lives of very underprivileged children in the area. What happened next was simply extraordinary. 150 people showed up, 300 gifts were purchased, over $4500 dollars in less than one hour.
You may think "thats really not that big of a deal" but it truly is. You see when the people decide to build change themselves it becomes contagious. People all over the area are now asking us for the "next event". We were a community, even for an hour, we dropped everything on a Friday night, and at the end of the night when we saw the gigantic pile of good will in front of us, we could sense the effect we are all capable of on our own community, planet, and world. My favorite part of the night was the families that came out to help, each young child confused at first with the horrific nature of buying toys for someone other than themselves. Slowly the children began to realize what was taking place, that they were giving other kids a chance to feel what is so standard for them, happiness. The funny thing is, I think we got just as much out of this amazing experience as the children did.Below is an excerpt from the invites that went out.I am first going to ask you all if you remember the feeling you had when you heard those Toys R Us commercials, specifically that jingle we all know so well " I wanna be a Toys R Us Kid"!. Well Now try and take a big step back and remember the rush you got as a kid walking into that store, that kingdom of everything right with the world, everything you wished for, everything that made you happy as a child. Remember those emotions? Well I want us all to now think of the children who never experience those emotions. Who never really get to walk in to a unlimited toy universe with a financially able parent, ready to unleash any amount of money just to end the whining...Although we cant bring 100 kids into Toys R Us and let em go nuts (*Yet) We can surely bring them a simple token, a gift, a representation of what we may take for granted, happiness. Join me and hopefully 100 people in front of Toys R Us in Kingstowne to make a difference in our community, to put smiles on children's faces', to come together and recognize our fundamental intersection on this earth, not our differences. I want us to show up in numbers like we did for Bowling, Karting, and Paintball. I want us to bring people we care about in our lives so that we may all meet them. The community isnt going to change itself, lets be that change.FIND THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE, AND THEY WILL FIND THE GOOD IN YOU.