On Monday, I realized it was November 16 — 10 days to go before my birthday, Thanksgiving, and the end of my Feed 40×40 birthday wish.
With just 10 days to go, I peeked at my ticker at the bottom of my blog post before I got in the shower. Adding up the two totals — dollars and items — in my head, I determined that we’d passed 800. “Halfway there,” I told myself. But moments later I confessed to my husband that I just wasn’t sure we’d make it to 1,600. “What if we don’t make it?” I asked him. He seemed less concerned. “It’s just a number,” he said. “Any number is good because it’s helping people who need it.”
And as much as I knew he was right, my PR self took over and started imagining the post I’d write if we didn’t reach the goal of 1,600. I’d share the amazing things I’d heard and seen, thanks to my generous friends and family. The people I’ve never met who pitched in because they heard that some lady was trying to do a food drive to celebrate her 40th birthday. My office coworkers who organized a food drive on their own. My son’s fourth grade class, deciding on a food drive for their November service project. And my husband, who had the idea to smoke an extra turkey to give to a family — strangers, quite likely — that could use help putting a nice dinner on the table.
I’m a PR person, and the messaging was coming together in my mind. I thought, “I can share these stories and tell people — or, at least tell myself — that 1,600 was just a number, that our effort made a difference.” There would be no shame in falling short of a lofty goal.
But then Monday happened. And Tuesday, and Wednesday. And with every ding that rang out from my social media notifications, I was joyfully reminded of the generosity and kindness of friends and strangers. By Monday night, we had passed 1,100. By Tuesday night, 1,200. And this morning? Nearly 1,400.
Thanksgiving is a week from today. Knowing that there are people still collecting and counting, I’m beginning to think we might just hit 1,600 after all. (But don’t let that stop you from helping! More than 1,600 would be an incredible thing and help so many more people!)
I’ll post again before this is all done. But I wanted to check in now and let you know: What’s happening is really special.