On January 14, one of my wonderful supporters in New York, Arlene, contacted me and wanted to know what The Little Bit Project was going to do to celebrate Valentine's Day. Although I had tossed around an idea or two I had not decided what to do - if anything. Arlene and I chatted back and forth until we made the decision. Love is what The Little Bit Project is about, and what better day to be active than Valentine's Day?
My idea was to focus on a group of people who I thought might feel the most alone, unloved, and separated from others. I wanted to take that day to let someone know they are loved, even when they may not feel like that is their reality. With the help my dear friend Monique, I reached out to Ms. McNair at Naomi's Nest here in Detroit. Naomi's Nest is a residential treatment center for women who have children under the age of 18.
Once I had confirmed things with Ms. McNair, I put out the call for love notes and words of encouragement to give to these women on Valentine's Day. I asked my friends on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and in "real life" to send in a note or two and encourage some friends to do the same. I put out the call and I waited. In the meantime, I thought about what I may want to give the ladies in addition to the notes. Well, Valentine's Day means flowers, right? So that's what I decided on.
I contacted my friend and the owner of Goodness Gracious Inc., Kelley Jones. I told her about my idea and asked her to partner with me to provide flowers - and she came through in the most beautiful way! I got carnations and other greenery, and Kelly provided me with roses. By the time all was said and done, I had enough flowers to make mini-arrangements for each of the ladies.
And, all of my waiting at the P.O. box paid off too! I got individual envelopes, cards, large envelopes and even boxes FULL of love notes for these women. People from several different places; Michigan, New York, Chicago, and more sent in wonderful notes and letters filled with sincerity, love and affection. I even got several emails that I printed out and added to the load. By the time all was said and done, I had collected more than 100 notes to give to the ladies at Naomi's Nest. All that I could do was imagine - if I am this emotional putting this campaign into motion, how are these women going to feel?
On the day before Valentine's Day I laid out all of the letters I had received and began putting together the notes to be distributed the next day. Early February 14, I met up with my friend Monique (who is always right there when I need her) to put together the flowers and deliver them to the ladies. It was a beautiful sight.
We were scheduled to arrive at Naomi's Nest while the women were having their group meeting. All of them were gathered together. Ms. Berry, who was leading the meeting, introduced Monique and me to the ladies. Monique spoke first, and said some beautiful things about how glad we were to be there and how much we wanted them to know that we came to share love and encouragement with them. Then she introduced me to the ladies. I told them that I wanted, more then anything, for them to know that they were loved. Not just on Valentine's Day, but everyday. I wanted to let them know that they were being thought of and that I had messages from strangers that wanted them to know the same. I told them about the cards and the flowers and we then began to distribute them.
The ladies thanked us, hugged us, blessed us, smiled at us. I watched them open the cards and read the letters. I listened to them read the affirmations on the Little Bit Cards aloud. I noticed them smelling the flowers. And I heard the gratitude in their voices when they discovered that the flowers were real and not plastic.
I thanked them again for allowing us to be a part of their day and was preparing to leave. But they had other plans. Several of them wanted to say a few words to both Monique and I and show their appreciation for us being there with them. A couple of them shared just a few words. A few of them cried. One beautiful woman recited a couple of poems. And then...this happened.
That very act is what The Little Bit Project has been for me so far. As much as I have given, I have received. Not directly, and nothing tangible, but I feel so blessed to be in a position to give. And the joy that I feel when I'm in action is unrivaled. That is my payoff. People saying, "that made me happy", "that made my day", "I needed to hear that", that's all I need. The ladies wrote me thank you notes that I picked up the following week. These notes are the currency of the heart.
To enlarge the notes, just click on them. :-)