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Hicksville Voices

Shopping In Kara’s Closet

“I’m going shopping in Kara’s closet today!”

My daughter informed me, early last week, that she was going over to her friend’s house to borrow a few “things”. I’d assumed that she meant an article of clothing, such as a sweater or a pair of shorts.

I wasn’t expecting her to walk in the door with a Hefty bag.

Suffice it to say that my daughter enjoys shopping. It’s a favorite pastime that we have shared on occasion. And one of the most favorite parts of the shopping experience was scouring the clearance racks. It was a bit of a game that we played, she and I — the one who saved the most money at the end of the outing was the clear winner. Because she loves the appearance of being well-dressed, I would always find bags from Urban Outfitters, Gap, American Eagle, or Forever21 scattered upon her bedroom floor once she started working. Once retail stores became too mainstream (and expensive), she began shopping in thrift stores, and would come home to share her bargains with me, eyes alight from her latest “finds”. It would appear that I’ve taught her to shop well.

I’m grateful that she’s saving money, especially because she’s a college student sans employment, at the present. I’m even happier that she’s learned to shop at thrift stores, especially those that donate portions of their proceeds to local charities. It means that the lessons I’d instilled in her, during her childhood, have sunken in: stretch your dollars, so you’ll have enough for a rainy day; always give to those less fortunate.

We recently donated 12 (yes, folks, I did say 12) bags of clothing to BBBSLI. My daughter just cleared out three more Hefty bags of clothing from other areas in the house, and gave her friend Kara another full shopping bag, filled with beautiful clothing that still retained its shape. As I watched her, clearing out to make room for the “new” (in this case, gently used by Kara), I was infused with a sense of pride; she was talking about helping those less fortunate with all that she was giving away. That same light was present in her eyes as she spoke; I imagined that she might have been envisioning one less fortunate, enjoying all that she no longer wore.

Donating makes the heart smile. I’ve been donating my time, my energy, my efforts, for others for the greater part of my adult life. I’m learning the places of the greatest need, and I’m offering my services and belongings where it is needed most. I might not have much, but I’ve learned that the greatest way to feel good inside is to help another in need. When the money is tight and I’m not able to give financially, I clear out a closet and donate a bag of no longer used clothing. If there is no clothing to offer, I volunteer my services in order to continue the spirit of giving.

We’ve been blessed, over the years, with the ability to have a few extra dollars to pursue the pastime of shopping on occasion, and we’re grateful for what we have, which is why we choose to give back. Giving can come in all forms — you don’t have to just ship off a check to PETA or Habitat for Humanity. You can read a story to a small child. Serve meals at a local soup kitchen. Just do something — because the spirit of giving is alive and well, and must be nourished by all in order to thrive.