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Love Notes – Big hearts in a small town

Posted on June 25, 2014 by Maple Creek

If you didn’t already realize you live in an extremely generous community, you probably did a couple weeks ago.

Not many people would stand in the rain for a barbecue, but they will if it’s for a good cause. A long line of residents were doing just that on June 13 when Pharmasave held a barbecue to raise money for four-year-old William Francis-Schimpf, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

Despite the unfavourable weather, the lineup stretched down Jasper Street, with residents even patiently waiting when the burger supply ran out twice. Buns were donated by Howard’s Bakery, and extra burgers were donated by the Rockin’ Horse. A whopping 300 burgers were sold, and $2,000 brought in for William. With Pharmasave generously matching the amount, it was brought up to $4,000.

The local business wasn’t the only one to step up for William. Even other children like Kindi Opsal and Chandee Chabot came up with their own fundraisers to help out. Parents, you know you’re raising a good kid if they haven’t even hit the double-digits yet and they’re already thinking of what they can do for others.

A steak night, dinner and raffle have all been held, and another benefit is being planned.

It’s acts like these that speak volumes about the big-hearted people we have living among us.

And it doesn’t always take a grand gesture for that generosity to be evident either.

I can’t say I’ve ever thought too much about seeing someone bundled up walking down the street in the winter. But there are some very caring people who take note of this. On more than one occasion during a cold snap last winter, I had drivers I didn’t even recognize pull over to offer me a ride as I walked the few blocks to or from work (which were appreciated but declined because, hey, it’s probably not a good idea for a scrawny, defenseless young woman to get in a vehicle with a complete stranger, even when you live in a small town. But the offers are very appreciated, nonetheless). It seems like such a small gesture, but kindness like that isn’t easily forgotten – especially when it’s made by someone you don’t even know.

We should be very proud of the community we live in. It’s not like the huge cities where a lot of people are only nice during the Christmas window of Dec. 1 to Jan. 2 (and by nice I mean won’t lay on the horn and give you the finger if you jaywalk in front of their Jaguar). Having lived in a big city where a woman once yelled at me for interrupting her while she swept her front porch to ask directions, I think it’s a well-founded generalization. Although there are many kind souls living in urban centres, it’s not the same as that small-town hospitality.

Some towns and cities have even designated a Random Acts of Kindness Day to encourage residents to share the love with a complete stranger. A pretty cool concept. Sometimes all it takes to brighten someone’s day is the person ahead of them in the Tim’s Horton’s drive-thru paying for their morning coffee. I love learning of anonymous giving like that.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our own problems and to-do lists and forget to pay attention to a friend or neighbour’s problems and needs. But around here, that seems like less of an issue. We are quite blessed.

It’s comforting to know there’s big hearts in a small town who are there when you need them.

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