Monday, December 3, 2012

Toys for Tots and the Day Audrey's Heart Grew 3 Times Its Size

Spoiler alert, this blog is going to be really braggy about how really awesome my day was, because it really was really fantastic. Really.

My day started, like it's started the last few weeks, with Toys for Tots. The PR firm I work for is one of their cause marketing partners, and we have been gearing up for this event for a while now.

I'll be honest, I only knew of the good that Toys for Tots does. I mean I had heard stories and seen the really cute commercials, and that was it. But today, I saw and felt the difference they make. Volunteers loaded 2 U-Haul trucks full of toys onto a C-130 plane, and then the Blue Angels flew the plane, known as Fat Albert, to NJ. There, the toys would be added to the toys already collected in NJ, and given out to deserving families on the east coast who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy. As the key speakers took to the stage to reflect on the spirit of giving and the magic of the holidays, I felt a lot of genuine compassion and empathy, a lot of people who really believed in this. It wasn't just about how important it is for kids to get presents. It was about how important it is to instill hope in every generation, how to teach people that all is never quite lost. And before my cynical side could wash over me, I introduced myself to and talked to every single speaker just to get a real feel for them.

And they were legit. People who really did care. People who weren't doing this for the photo op. As I took pictures of the volunteers and organizers forming a human chain to unload and re-load presents, I was honestly inspired. There was a crazy uplifting feeling that I couldn't ignore, no matter how hard I tried. I woke up this morning at 4 to get ready for work, overcome with dread that I was going to screw something up, or that I already had. But I left Reagan with such a spring in my step, such a philanthropically inspired smile in my heart that I had to check twice to make sure I wasn't having a caffeine overdose.

No chemicals, though, just honest good feelings. I enjoy feeling like I was a part of something good, that I helped affect a positive change--on a national level. I found out today, that through 4 events in 1 day, we reached 5 major media outlets, and we raised over a million dollars worth of toys for deserving children.

Today was just one of those days when you just feel transformed by your job--in a good way. And it was so unlike me to be affected by something like this. I love it. In fact, it's after 10 PM, I've been awake since 4 AM and haven't napped once and I still feel like I could stay awake for hours.

I wish I could post some of the like, 500 pictures I took today (including me MEETING SANTA!), but blogger is acting wonky and won't let me upload anything. So I'll just leave this wordy, pictureless positivity ramble.

Ah, good days. Time to kick back with a glass or two of wine and watch some re-runs of 16 & Pregnant. That should shake me out of this "hopeful for humanity" mood.


Stephanie said...

Aww! That sounds lovely :-)

Cara said...

That's really awesome! Our local radio station does an event called Christmas For Kids every year that's basically the same concept as Toys For Tots.

I always get all teary-eyed when they reveal how much was donated. It's really cool to be a part of things like this.

GunslingerSouth said...

Aww! Now I want to buy some toys to donate!

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