When I was about 5 years old, my mother walked me down to the Waggoners’ house down the block. Since my best friend was Bruce Waggoner, I was happy to walk there to play. This visit was sort of uncommon, however, because most often my mother would not accompany me on the walk to play. In the early 1960s, kids were out and about all over the neighborhood all day. Only when I heard “our whistle” did I head home.
This visit to the neighbors was different, however. My mom took me there not to play, but to be exposed to the measles. I am not sure which type was being passed around at that time; it could have been the German measles, the Red measles or the Three-Day measles. She wanted us to have them all, and my mom and I were happy and relieved when it was over.
Only a few years before this, Mom contracted polio. She and her best friend were two of the last cases of polio in 1956 in McPherson. Her friend, Bernadine, was left partially crippled, but my little sister, Lori Dawn, saved my mother from that fate. Lori Dawn was born “riddled” with polio, said Dr. Brandsted, who delivered all four of us girls. If not for polio, she would be approaching her 62nd birthday, only two years behind me. Many diseases were contagious back then and it was an accepted part of life. Thankfully, modern medicine has prevented most of the childhood diseases today.
So, what’s contagious today? Because of my work for the Greater Sabetha Community Foundation, I am watching some good things “catch on” in other towns. Sabetha is sort of like the Waggoner house — what we are doing is causing other towns to notice and hop on board… it’s contagious! That is one of the best things about the community foundation world. It’s not competitive, but it’s a community of helping others. When good things happen in one town, the word gets around and then we help them learn how to become a community that cares; a community that doesn’t wait for things to happen, but makes things happen.
That is what has happened with the Giving Day concept. In 2016, GSCF held the first Give to Grow Day, raising more than $132,000 for area projects and agencies. Last year’s Give to Grow Day brought in more than $127,000; and in two months, the third Give to Grow Day will be held on Window Opening night — Friday, Nov. 23.
Marysville Community Foundation “caught the fever,” and last year Pony Up Marysville saw donations of $210,000! Clay Center recently held their first Gather for Good Day and raised more than $80,000!
The Greater Sabetha Community Foundation couldn’t be happier that there is a contagious “giving disease” spreading around the area. I will soon be helping Doniphan County’s first Give Where You Live Match Day, and Frankfort is holding their day — simply called “Frankfort Gives” on Nov. 27.
Thank goodness there is no vaccine to prevent the good feeling that comes from giving back and giving unselfishly. GSCF challenges you to plan ahead for Give to Grow Match Day on Friday, Nov. 23, and come in to 905 Main to get a dose of “feel good” by giving to your favorite local charity.