There are beautiful things happening everyone, if one but chooses to see it around them. I have the privilege of knowing a friend who is putting into action that very point.
Vishal Shah, who is a Chicago businessman (far right in photograph) teamed up with friends to help out the homeless in Chicago. Vishal had the idea to somehow giveback to his local community, which came about in the form of donating 55 blankets and 54 pairs of socks to those living without a home. Vishal and his team collected over $1,000 in donations in just a few days, which allowed them to purchase the large number of blankets and socks.
The Mind Unleashed caught up with Vishal and asked him about his experience:
TMU: What inspired you to do this?
Vishal: A friend and I were talking about giving back one night. I have had many similar conversations, but nothing ever came out of them. I decided to take action this time around.
TMU: Did you have help?
Vishal: I had plenty of help. Obviously, there are all the people who donated. There are the store employees who went above and beyond to fulfill my demands. There are my friends who helped hand the blankets out, and document the experience. There is no way I could’ve done this on my own. I’m truly grateful for the tremendous support I received in the short time frame that I put forth.
TMU: What was the most fulfilling part of this for you?
Vishal: The stories. I think a lot of us live in this bubble of narratives that are usually pretty similar to our own. When you share a laugh or try to empathize with someone in such a drastically different situation, it’s an eye-opener, to say the least. It was a little overwhelming if I’m being honest.
TMU: What was the best reaction you received?
Vishal: There was a woman who was sitting outside her tent with a boxed cheesecake that someone had just dropped off. After we talked for a few minutes, she offered us a piece of her cake. The gesture was so sweet. We kindly declined her offer, but that is one memory that will stick in my mind for years to come. The gentleman she was sharing her tent with was joking that people would beat him up for wearing colorful Christmas pattern socks. It was a great little exchange we had.
TMU: Are you planning to do it again?
Vishal: Yes, I will be doing a more planned version of this next year. Some retailers have expressed interest in donating and helping out with deals. Next year should be great.
TMU: Do you have a parting inspirational message for our readers?
Vishal: I’m not one to go and preach to others because I’m not a fan of being preached to. In that spirit, I’ll keep this short and sweet. Sometimes the problems of the world seem insurmountable, and we feel powerless to stop them. To some small degree, this feeling is valid. We also need to realize that we do have it in our power to make at least a small impact on our communities no matter where we are…and maybe if enough people make small impacts, we can eventually make a big one.
Vishal also posted an amazing video on his facebook page that documented the whole experience. You can see that video here.
What beautiful things do you see happening around you? Have you done something like this before? Does this inspire you to do something similar or unique to give back and help out those in your community?
Images via Vishal Shah