Chinese Red, Lipstick of the Gods

You know, when you have braces on your teeth, you have to be truly careful selecting cosmetic colors. It’s just one of those things you might not consider as an adult if it’s not your own experience.

Tonight I zipped over to Highland Park to pick up magazines for the workhouse. I think I’ve mentioned this before. A friend noted after a weekend’s hospitality that the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Facility had a crappy library. Because I work in a library, I called over there, and they said their library would welcome contributions. My library gets gifts it can’t use all the time. There’s a program that sends books to Africa, but whatever that program can’t use, my library – which is not to say it’s mine, it’s just the destination my car arrives at five days a week – sends to the workhouse.

Now, if you look around your house, my bet is you’ve got books you don’t need or want. If you’re not keen on sending your spare, cluttery books to places of unfortunate incarceration, perhaps you’d consider a nursing home. Nursing homes would pinch your kids for the stuff lying around your house you can’t stand dusting. Actually, nursing homes would pinch *you* for an hour of your time, just singing to other people’s neglected grandparents. If you’ve got a scout troop you don’t know what to do with, call a nursing home near you and ask for the social worker. Warble a few Christmas carols and you are one step closer to Heaven.

I live in New Brunswick, where teachers have so little to work with they often buy their own pencils. If you buy a wide variety of prepared food products, you’ll find those Box Tops For Education labels. You can do everyone a favor by doing three simple things:

1. Cut those little labels off the containers.

2. Save them in an envelope in an out-of-the-way corner of your kitchen.

3. When it’s full, call a middle school near you, get an address, mail them the labels.

This will cost you an envelope and a stamp, unless you happen to have a really smart dog that delivers and can read signs leading to the Main Office. But hey, I don’t know your dog.

If you think about it, you have lots of things you don’t need anymore. There are people who need what you have and don’t need. It’s easy. If you have clothes you haven’t worn in two years, fold them, put them nicely into a bag and take them to a clothing drop off. If you have canned goods your mother-in-law left in the pantry after her last visit and you plan on never touching the menudo, box it up and take it to the food bank.

It doesn’t take much to do good work in the world. What you have and don’t need can help people who have less or nothing. Tonight, there are children in your town going to bed without food, and tomorrow they’ll go to schools that have no supplies in clothes that don’t fit. It’s so easy for you to do something about this without any hard work on your part or loss of dignity on the part of the poor. Why not give away what’s weighing you down?

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