In the news business we tend to have a lot of turnover, both in people and in stories. I typically do two stories a day, sometimes more. At the end of the day, as long as I make deadline, I’m done. And I go home and do it all again tomorrow.
But every once and awhile stories keep going and last for days. Every once and awhile, more than I sometimes realize, those stories have impact.
This week I saw the impact of storytelling in Memphis. It started with a blog from Wendi Thomas about cold weather and school closings. It was my day off, but I checked my e-mail and saw that my boss, Tammy, read the blog and felt called to action. She had no idea that there were so many kids in Memphis without proper coats for the cold winter weather. In fact, a lot of people had no idea.
But it turns out, that A LOT of people want to help but just don’t know how.
So, in a few hours we had a Winter Coat Drive. Partnering with the YWCA of Greater Memphis and Common Ground, the Action News 5 Winter Coat Drive.
Wednesday I was assigned that beat. FUN FACT: I love telling stories about good things happening in the community. I love telling stories that show people doing good. And I LOVE telling stories that call others to action. It’s fitting…working for “ACTION” news 5.
So Wednesday I went to South Park Elementary and talked with students and the principal. She said 1/3 of her students didn’t come to school with proper coats. That’s 200 students in short sleeves, light jackets during FREEZING temps. WOW! Talk about a shock factor. It was hard to believe there was such a need.
Thursday was probably my favorite day of all three coat drive days. Thursday we went to the YWCA and picked up 12 coats, then took them to South Park to hand out to kids. They principal picked out 6 kids who didn’t come to school in proper coats. They got to pick out BRAND NEW coats. The joy they had, the smiles on their face and the reaction to a new coat was unbelievable. It brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. One kid said it felt like she was standing next to a heater. The other said it was like a bit marshmallow. I had a blast and got to see the impact the donations were making on kids in Memphis.
Friday we finished off our coverage and coat drive with a final count: 480 coats, $4000 donated to buy new coats. WOW Memphis!! You can make a difference. And you can make it by doing a small thing.
Truth is “nobody can do everything but EVERYBODY can do something” and this week YOU DID SOMETHING.
The impact will be felt across the city as the YWCA sorts through the coats and delivers them to students in need.
I just hope the spirit of giving continues. It doesn’t have to be a coat or even money. Maybe it’s time or MAYBE it’s taking a moment to smile at a stranger or ask someone their name on the streets. The truth is small acts can make a big impact. It starts with one person, one idea or one good deed and can be contagious.
So keep it up Memphis. Keep giving, keep caring and keep sharing. Share all over media. Not to brag about your good deed but to show others they can do it too. To show others how easy it is to help. And how simple it can be.
I’ll end by repeat what I said above: “Nobody can do everything but everybody can do SOMETHING.”
Go. Do. Something.