18 February, 2013

Secret Millionaire - Chicago

I watched several back-to-back episodes of a show called "Secret Millionaire" on a recent flight from JAC to ORD.  The premise was this: a very rich Chicagoan spent a day each with a handful of charitable organizations based around the southside of Chi-town.

The charities were "H.O.M.E.", "BinDonated" and "Kids Off the Block".

H.O.M.E. is a charity dedicated to providing home maintenance and general care for seniors who would otherwise be relegated to hospice or assisted-living facilities, so that they could remain in their own homes.  The millionaire volunteered first by helping prepare a Sunday Brunch for a contingent of elderly citizens and then spent a day helping one of the other H.O.M.E. employees perform some routine maintenance tasks at the house of one of the group's seniors.

BinDonated was a one-man operation who gave up a lucrative career, cashed in his 401K and spent his time collecting school and hygiene supplies from wherever he could get them, sorting and distributing them [mostly] by himself.  He set out with one box truck and a bunch of surplus 55-gal drums at hotels and shopping centers to collect as many items as possible for redistribution to local homeless shelters and underprivileged schools and communities.  The millionaire popped in unannounced and helped unload several 200+ lb barrels and then sort and deliver some of the supplies to a local shelter.

Kids Off the Block was an organization started by a woman out of her own home to try and get kids off the street and who was dismayed at the number of senseless deaths of teens and youths (yes, those are code words) on Chicago's gritty southside streets.  She started a memorial wall made up of landscaping stones, each representing a child (or "youth") who had been a victim of violence in Chicago.  At the time of the show she was well into the many-hundreds but seemed to not be appreciative if the source of all the violence.  I'll just leave that one to simmer.

The show was essentially centered around someone who wanted to do something with his riches other than "be rich" and to see the impact firsthand of what one person who CARES can do to make a change.  Between the three charities, the millionaire donated $225,000 for them to use as they saw fit.  I'm not really sure if I'm trying to say anything else with this post, except that everyone has the ability to make a change - in themselves, in their communities, in their world.  You just have to WANT TO.