I recently wrote about the amazing World Water Day experience I had with my gym, WolfPack Fitness. Our celebration was a small part of our 40 Days of Giving, where the community came together and gave every single day. No act was too big or too small. The following is a slightly edited recap of the experience, written by the owner and founder of WolfPack Fitness, Luke Robinson. After reading this, you’ll understand why I make a 45+ minute commute for a workout. It is so much more.
I never know what to do for Lent, and I always end up picking something like giving up chocolate; something that doesn’t even really help anyone. What if instead of giving up something for 40 days, the WolfPack community can GIVE for 40 days?”~ Elyse Conant, she*wolf
Since it’s inception, WolfPack has been actively involved in the local community. (You can read all about what we’ve done in the past and how we’ve done it.)
But this was particularly special because we were holding ourselves accountable on a daily basis. The “rules” were simple, no act of giving is too big or too small. Some days we donated socks or food to a local homeless shelter or wrote thank you letters, other days someone bought coffee for the person behind her at Dunkin’ Donuts.
The ultimate goal was to actively enrich the lives of those around us through generosity. To us, love is an action word and giving is love in action!
A few interesting thoughts that emerged over the course of the 40 days:
Giving is contagious.
The further along we went, the more people wanted to get involved. They saw how simple it was to make someone’s day or how excited people were to help and wanted to be a part of it! Like we said, no act was too big or too small. Sometimes you just need to think what you’d to do change the world and then go do that for 1 person. The ripple effect from that 1 act can be very powerful!
People WANT to help.
Sometimes it’s just as simple as providing the forum for them to do so. It’s not that the average person is selfish, as much as they don’t know where to start. So that’s why someone needs to take the Nike approach and “just do it!” Once people see how easy it can be (put a bin labeled “canned goods” in The Den and make an announcement for people to fill it up next week), then they too will start to give more!
Giving is “giving something up” (but you get so much more in return).
What do I mean by that? Well think about it. When you give to someone else, you are technically giving up something. It may be your time, money, knowledge, energy, etc. But what you get back is a feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction, appreciation, happiness and love. So technically, we did participate in Lent but what we gave up was selfishness, entitlement and egocentric thinking.
It made us more appreciative of the gifts we have in our lives.
When you are reminded that there are many people without socks, food or a place to live you quickly realize that even your “worst” day just might be someone else’s paradise. This mindset can make all the difference in how you see your world. Once you start focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t have, you realize that being rich is not about having the most, it’s about needing the least.
In poetic fashion, our 40th day culminated with an act of reciprocation. The wolves and she*wolves banded together and, in less than a week, organized a trailer full of meaningfully painted cinder blocks, new chains, mats, bands, bricks, and all the other unique tools we use at The Den.
The people gave back to the community that has provided us all with so much health, happiness, perspective, love.
It was the perfect symbolism, an act of self-love. After all, when you truly love who you are on the inside, you want to shine your light outward and make the lives of everyone around you better. And that’s our continuing goal… to leave the world a better place than we found it.
Here’s a full list of all 40 Days of Giving (visit our event page for photos and more details):
- Gunner, the official WolfPack therapy dog, visited patients and staff at CMMC!
- Kristi and her daughters brought “get well soon” and “thank you” cards to patients and staff at CMMC. She also left a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card with the nurses to give to a family who could use it!
- Nikki dropped off coffee and donuts to staff at the Greene town garage. Linda B. visited/had tea with an elderly woman who used to see my grandfather (Linda’s dad) when he was a dentist!
- Elyse, Eric and Keely donated food and supplies to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society!
- Luke and Kevin dropped off coffee to the Trinity Jubilee Center’s soup kitchen.
- Erin and Ed donated new bins to hold gym class supplies at school, Will paid for Mike’s Men’s Lifting Class (Happy 58th Mike!), and Linda, Lance, & Luke shoveled Gram’s roof!
- Jennifer organized a food drive at The Den for Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program. We gathered 63 lbs of food in less than a week! Erin left hand warmers for the mail man!
- April’s boys helped the neighbors bring in their trash cans. Renee gave a thank you card/treats to Lauren – her friend and son’s teacher!
- Nicki and Stacey helped Buffy move! We donated $100 to the A-T Children’s Project via the Jeans for Genes initiative!
- We donated hats, mittens and scarves to Hebron Elementary School. We donated school supplies to a local elementary school class!
- We raised over $600 for those in need via the first annual WolfPack Winter Games!
- Tyson and Nicki helped Leianne finish moving!
- We donated socks to the Trinity Jubilee Center to those in need!
- Mrs. Michaud’s 3rd grade class wrote letters to the troops. April and Michelle and the rest of the gang helped keep things running smoothly at The Den during my sick day!
- Mrs. Ewing and Mrs. Lane’s kid made cards for the troops! Luke read to Mrs. King’s class for “Read Across America” week!
- Wendie bought tickets to the Class A Maine State Hockey championships for Luke and Linda. Gunner visited patients and staff at CMMC and an assisted living home!
- Linda and Stacey organized all the new WolfPack Fitness gear into boxes. Mike salted/sanded The Den driveway. Kevin paid for Mike’s small group session!
- Nola donated the postage for the letters to the troops!
- Lots of people brought treats and toys for Gunner’s 9th birthday! Raedelle helped a friend move!
- Julie, Amy, and Renee organized a stuffed animal drive that produced 10 bags of stuffed animals for the pediatric patients at CMMC!
- April volunteered her time with the JFM Navigators. Amanda gave blood. Staci gave Kristi new workout socks!
- Donated another 73 lbs of food to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, bringing us to a grand total of 136 lbs donated! Jennifer and her boys also volunteered for the BackPack Program to give kids food to bring home after school!
- Mrs. King’s class sent “thank you notes” to Luke and Shari for reading to their class during “Read Across America” week!
- WolfPack donated $20 to the Big Brother/Big Sister Program!
- Linda C. brought flowers to give to Larry and Gram at tomorrow’s letter presentation after Primal Fitness!
- We wrote letters to Gram and Larry to let them know how much good takes places because we have The Den and this community. We met with Flo Williams to learn more about the history of the road and the river!
- We raised over $200 for a Haitian orphanage by keeping a change jar at The Den this month! Julie paid for Terry and Tony’s Men’s Lifting Night!
- The JFM Navigators gave Luke a “thank you” card for opening The Den for their training every week!
- Shannan donated toiletries to the Florence House! Emily made Irish soda bread last night for her neighbors – Ross & Paula- who have helped plow her driveway all winter long!
- Gunner visited patients and staff at CMMC on floors M-2 and M-3!
- Arica paid for Linda and Luke’s breakfast at the Nezinscot Farm Store! At least 3 people paid it forward at Ladies’ Lifting Night last night! Stacey B. gave Luke some awesome buffalo chicken soup!
- We donated household items to the women of Safe Voices!
- We donated $300 to WaterAid America for #WorldWaterDay!
- Krysten paid it forward to the police officers behind her at Dunkin’ Donuts! Jennifer spoke to her children’s elementary school classes about World Water Day!
- Emily dressed up as Elsa from Frozen and visited the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Med!
- Linda vacuumed the barn/organized a house cleaning party, and EVERYONE helped WolfPack run smoothly and sanely.
- Stacey organized a board game drive for Safe Voices. Michelle paid for her workout partners training fees!
- Sally gave Gunner a complimentary bath and a brand new collar from Top Dog Grooming! He also a met a little girl Gunner look-a-like when we dropped him off!
- Cedric and Rileigh collected trash along the road!
- Everyone chipped in to get new (customized) cinder blocks, chains, bricks, bands and more for The Den!
WolfPack Fitness, based in Auburn, ME, strives not only to train the body but also to train the mind; to help clients find happiness and self-confidence while gaining a new appreciation for the gifts of humanity – like high quality human food and a fully-functioning, healthy body. Follow WolfPack Fitness on Facebook.
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. Read past stories here.