I’m not sure if it’s the Christmas season.
Or the fact that I’m in a new area with some time on my hands to kill.
Or this unfortunate thing known as growing up.
But lately, I’ve been a little curious about wanting to find a place or organization in the area to help out or volunteer some time. I’ve even gone out of my way to get rid of some change at Walmart for the Salvation Army bell ringers.
Who am I? And what have I done with the old me?
I’m familiar with the Christmas trees usually put up in offices and shopping areas with tags on them for local children and their clothing sizes and toy preferences to help families out during the holidays. My office had something different though and it got me interested. It’s a TTRR – Tickets To Reading Rewards – tree. They work with local schools to help promote reading outside of the classroom. So the tags on the tree had a book, the quantity they were looking for (although that confused me… there were some tags with 30 copies listed), and which school was looking for the book.
I’m not usually one to do these things. That’s always been my mom’s specialty – buy toys for the needy kids, give clothes to the homeless shelters, send money to the little chillens on the islands or Africa (or as my step dad swears by… fund terrorism). But I’m a sucker for books. Especially books kids want to read outside of school. I have a book on my dresser right now (The Dante Club). I have an entire shelf on my book shelf of books I haven’t read. The fact that I’m a guy and own a book shelf should say enough, as it is. I’ve read most every Stephen King & Michael Crichton book. I love Malcolm Gladwell. I have/had most of the original Goosebumps series from elementary school. I got jacked up when they had book fairs. I read the Boxcar Children books.
I’m a nerd. I admit it.
But I’ll support kids reading books all day long.
So I picked out a tag after a few days deliberating internally and headed to the mall. I’d like whatever kid gets this book to know that I braved Barnes & Noble on a Friday night in the middle of a book fair and some kind of African drum thing. And approximately 150 bajillion kids running around dressed up as elves and in pajamas. I survived though, with a copy of Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians in tow.
And because I can’t leave without something for myself, a copy of Marley and Me for the top shelf of the bookcase. The movie was amazing yet excruciatingly gut-wrenching. I loved it and hated the end. I hope the book is just as good.
Speaking of dogs, that’s sort of how I got on the volunteering idea. I adopted Harper from Pets Inc in West Columbia, SC. I still buy her dog food from there whenever I’m home, just so I know they’re getting my money. I don’t know how many ropes I’ve bought from them that Harper has eaten. Same holds true for cow hooves. The only problem was that West Columbia was at least 30 minutes away from Chapin. Otherwise, I would have had no problem lending a hand.
Which brings me back to Raleigh. For it being as big a city as it is, it’s oddly short on animal rescue places. The SPCA might be the closest to me and Bing seems to think it’s around 20 minutes away. Wake County has an animal shelter that seems to be about the same distance away. Even the dog park I take Harper to only has places no where near the park listed on their board. There are a few cat rescue organizations but I’m going to have to pass on that. First, it’s weird to be cat-specific. Second, they’re cats.
Puppies or bust, that’s my motto.
I’ll take a harder look after the holidays. One of them wants a minimum commitment of 6 hours per month for 6 months. Without football, my brother off Coast Guarding it up for 10 weeks, and getting settled in without the holiday rush, I should have more time to devote to something like that.
After all, I need a new buddy for Harper at some point down the road. Might as well get to know them firsthand, right?