Recently, it occurred to me as I was sucking down a Stonyfield Yo-Kids Squeezer tube (Hey! They're not JUST for kids!) that I'd never had yogurt outside of the fire camp mess tent while on an incident. The spike camps just couldn't keep it fresh, you know? I'm thankful for this though, since I take my yogurt ice-cold. Something about consistency. Anyway, thinking about fire camps got me thinking about the Pay it Forward card I got in the mail that day.
I'd been considering going to the local animal shelter with $50 worth of supplies from their "want" list. I wasn't really completely happy with this option -- $50 buys one bag of GOOD puppy food and a few rolls of paper towel. It didn't feel like it would make a big difference (which I know, EVERY little bit helps.) But I still wanted to try to think of something I wouldn't normally do (I normally donate dog food and supplies a few times a year to the local shelter.)
The Wildland Firefighter FoundationI've wanted to re-up my 52 club membership since I left the fireline. Like many things, my memberships and donations drastically got cut when I was no longer receiving a regular paycheck as a stay at home parent! The 52 club costs $52. Thats one dollar a week. When you look at it like that, even without that steady paycheck I should have seen how minimal that would be in the long run, over a year. So I took the opportunity to donate $52 (I added $2 of my own, gladly) to make it happen this year.
I won't know how $52 will help fellow firefighters. I won't know if my donation covers some administrative cost or if my bit will go directly to a family of a firefighter who has answered his or her last call. I cannot help but think this is timely, with the fatalities and fires in Tennessee. Especially as I've been listening to my new CD (because I'm old school) when I have my breakfast (yogurt, coffee, and toast.) The song I most love is "Tennessee Christmas." I've never actually been to Tennessee. I've heard the Great Smoky Mountains are amazing. Let me tell you a little secret after these fires have passed -- they're still amazing, and they need your tourism dollars there more than ever! Many of my friends ventured down to the southern coastal area for some of the rash of fires last month, they all made it back, thankfully.
I will always remember visiting the Storm King Mountain fire memorial in Colorado and working a fire in the Prescott, AZ area a few years before tragedy struck there. You just never know when you might be the one needing help, especially in such a dangerous line of work. It makes me feel happy, no matter who my contribution has helped, to know that someone out there, working to help others by nature and by virtue of their profession, will be helped thanks to my small contribution. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is an organization that helps the people within our country. These men and women are some of the most hardworking and selfless individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting and the wildfire community is very small and tight-knit. I've served alongside and am proud to be friends with a man who lost a family member and saw the good that the Wildland Firefighter Foundation was able to do.
Thank you Stonyfield, for allowing me to make this contribution. Thank you for allowing me to Pay it Forward this holiday season in hopes of making the fire in someones soul burn a little brighter. Maybe I've helped with the Santa's Helpers 2016 campaign -- maybe a child out there who has lost their mum or dad will have a little brighter Christmas because of my ability to pay it forward and because of the generosity of Stonyfield. I sure hope it's a heartwarming story -- but there is a lot to be said for the mundane, too. It all needs to happen to make good things blossom. I am really proud and thankful to have been able to in a small way "be the change I want to see."
Not that it matters, but I do believe in Karma and the very day I clicked "send" on my donation, I was in line for a quick lunch and the customer ahead of me had seen my magnetic ribbon (a wildfire one sold by the same foundation) and had "paid for the lunch of the firefighter behind them." It was really nice. It only cost them $2.14 to totally make me smile and appreciate the good in the world. I knew that I'd paid it forward to a meaningful place to me and that I'd set in motion a chain reaction of good in the world, however small the ripples. Somewhere, the ripples continue to spread and it all started with Stonyfield, giving me the means to make it happen and the nudge to see it through.
Thank you to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation for the good work they do and to Stonyfield Organics to the good they helped to spread this year. Happy Holidays!
Disclosure: The post was sponsored by Stonyfield Organics.