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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gill

Charity Paid Forward

Imagine you had a ton of extra time or a ton of extra money, what would you do? I get asked these questions a lot. I could easily tell you what my answer would have been when I was a lot younger and had a completely different perspective of the world. I would do more things, get out and see the world, and get together with friends more often. Or I would buy a second house in some exotic tropical country or buy a sports car. But today I am not so sure I would do this. I am not saying I would not travel or even miss an opportunity to buy the latest 911 Turbo S, but I do know that I would probably look to spend a bit more time to help others and put a bit more money toward helping those in need. It is an interesting thought. What if I won the lottery tomorrow and became suddenly able to do so many more things? How would I prioritize?

I have heard that most people that have won the lottery have ended up back in the same position or even worse than they were before. I am not sure how true that is, but I can certainly see how that could happen, when we have so much of something we tend to waste it away. Even with extra time, we might waste it in front of the tv instead of learning about new cultures through travel or volunteering for a charity or even in self-improvement. It is a fun conversation to have with friends and family and I am always intrigued by the responses. Many of them are centred around paying off debt or getting a new car or renovating or buying a mansion somewhere. I sometimes wonder if the first big mistake is paying it to yourself. I wonder if in a karma-type scenario if it makes the most sense to pay it to others and see if this generates ongoing positive outcomes in your life. Helping others is not only a satisfying feeling; I believe there are returns to those who do it.

If you are a believer that everything happens for a reason, then it might be an opportunity for you to extend any type of positive experience that you have to others. I believe that we are all responsible for each other; to some degree. During the initial COVID outbreak we stated many times “that we are all in it together”. But should it only be during a pandemic that we are all in it together? Maybe it was because for once we all felt uncertainty and we all felt vulnerable no matter how much money or time we had. For once we had a period where we were all equally vulnerable. When we have a positive situation occur in our lives, we should share it with others in some way. I am not necessarily saying these must be random acts of kindness all the time, but I am suggesting that we should always remember there are moments when we are all equally vulnerable, and not forget about that humbling experience. I try to be charitable when I can. I know we all have different situations that we are going through, and some days are better than others, but when we do have an opportunity, I believe we should pay it forward, whether through volunteering or even a few dollars.

At a few of the local grocery stores here in Calgary, it takes a Canadian one-dollar coin (we call them loonies for all my out-of-Canada friends) to borrow a shopping cart as collateral. It is often I reach into my change storage in my vehicle, and I realized I have given all my loonies away. A dollar here and a dollar there to help someone out who is asking. I always try to place myself in other people's shoes and remember that there are moments when we are all in need and that it is not impossible for me to be in that very same situation. There have been times when I have had no loonie for a shopping cart, and someone has just given me their shopping cart with a comment; you will get me next time. I have paid this forward many times myself. This is the side of humanity I love the most when we truly treat each other just like we are all in it together and we do the good thing. This is a small example, but a meaningful one.

During the summer months, I tend to reflect on charity. It happens to be our Summer of Support (SOS) at Helios where spotlight two great charities. The Calgary Food Bank and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Society Yukon (FASSY). If you are interested in learning more about these wonderful charities or would like to donate please take a look on our webpage

Want to discuss your corporate strategy for charity or a partner opportunity for S.O.S with Helios? Reach out, a call doesn't cost a thing.

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