Discussing the principles of 'Paying it Forward'

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In an essay titled, "Compensation," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody."

The theme of this line of text is the principle of Paying it Forward.

Warner Bros. released "Pay it Forward," a film based on the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, in 2000. The film followed the life of a young Trevor McKinney, who had to create a way to help the world. His idea for the project was to repay good deeds by doing a good deed for three new people. This basic hypothesis encouraged an ever-expanding drive of kindness that would help humankind.

The novel, as well as the movie, stirred the hearts and emotions of many who then began charitable organizations around the country. The Pay it Forward Foundation was born and helps to promote and encourage the ideas of paying it forward and random acts of kindness.

Charley Johnson, a board member of The Pay it Forward Foundation, owns and operates Snugz, a lanyard and band company. Charley helps the foundation by manufacturing and distributing Pay it Forward bracelets to various charitable organizations.

According to feedingamerica.com in 2009, 5.6 million households across America made use of a local food pantry. The Brazil Food Pantry alone helped more than 3,000 families (report for 2010).

Many people donate during the holidays, but few think of donating at other times. There are thousands of starving people in the state of Indiana and you can help.

As part of International Pay it Forward Day, Paul and Jenny Harbour are sponsoring a food drive at North Clay Middle School from April 18-April 28. All items will be collected before school in front of the office and given to the Brazil Food Pantry.

Everyone who donates will receive a pay-it-forward bracelet.

Please donate to this worthy cause. Each student who donates a food item will receive a Pay it Forward bracelet (one per student). When a student does a random act of kindness in the community, and if the receiver of the act offers payment, the student is to refuse to pay, but take off the bracelet, give it to them and ask them to pay it forward. We do ask that students donate food that they would eat and not simply food that is undesirable.

If you have benefited from the selfless help of an individual or organization and have a first-hand account of a true humanitarian, please respond with an e-mail address and phone number to murrayharbour@yahoo.com.

"There's only one rule I know of ... you've got to be kind." -- Kurt Vonnegut