When you own a business in a small town, you are "hit up" for offerings for silent auctions, benefits, and worthwhile fundraisers. We have lived in this Chester community for 36 years, and it is not easy to say "No." Why?
We love Chester. We moved here from Westfield, NJ, for a quality of life experience. We had two little ones and a third joined us a year from our move into this caring community. The schools were awesome; our church became our focus; and giving became an easy and natural thing.
At the beginning it was time - volunteering to write the Springfield Hospital volunteer newsletter, being a Girl Scout leader, being active in the art guild, serving as coach of the girls' softball team, teaching Sunday School and leading the youth group, and building sets for the high school drama productions in which our three daughters took roles of various dimensions. We gave big time to the Keewaydin experience - three times! Lew was a pen and ink artist and Rotarian so dinner each Thursday was a refrigerator leftover mystery for we four girls.
Our girls had opportunities beyond belief in Chester -- on the ball field, on the stage, in the classroom and in the woods. When our three girls were leaving Chester for educations, recreations and career opportunities, the community embraced them. Kate benefited from Rotary scholarships for four years of college; Kara performed at the Weston Playhouse at ten and become a seasoned actor, singer and dancer, still remembered by her performances on stage; and Kelly went outdoors through SCA first on the Continental Divide Trail, then a Mexican-American Kellogg exchange and finally experiencing diversity, applying to Rotary International.
We are generous with our local schools and the much admired Green Mountain Festival Series because of its educational belief in our children. We mostly give workshops - digital photography and craft workshops. Rotary is a favorite. Rotarian neighbor Al asks and we give. Something special for the silent auction and little teasers for the three "rounds."
And the Weston Playhouse is now enjoying a bounty since we could not "buy" a seat in the 80's because of those tuition years. We have been ushers for 30 plus years; I use my cooking talents to create meals for tech dinners; and I just created and offered a custom designed silent auction prize - Suzy, a Marvelous Wonderette. Sam, our patriotic guy, supports Chester's fireworks at Old Home Days annually as a raffle prize.
Why do we do it? It is not about tax deductions. It is not about guilt. It is about offering ourselves to enliven adults and children to expand and grow; but sometimes it is simply about giving someone something back to people we love. What could make you feel better!