Editorial: ‘This is the power of generosity’
By Richard Gaw
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands –
one for yourself and one for helping others.” Maya Angelou
The black-and-white scene has become part of our country's folklore. It is our moving postcard and one of our most precious documents to generosity, and we watch it every holiday season and a lot of us at the end have to move away a tear or two, because it tells us all there is to know about extending our decency toward others – particularly, those in need.
In the Frank Capra-directed film, “It's a Wonderful Life,” the character of George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, spends the first part of the film helping others, and the last half of the film as a victim of greed, but ultimately, he becomes the beneficiary of the simple kindness given to him. Hundreds of people he has helped along the way gathered up whatever they had to help George – more in tribute to the integrity and purpose of the man than his predicament. As his kid brother Harry tells him during a toast, “To my brother George. The richest man in town.”
Over the last few weeks, generous heaps of that same generosity have been seen down Cedar Street in Kennett Square. On Oct. 15, a note was posted on the Kennett Area Community Services' (KACS) Facebook page, informing the public that the Kennett Food Cupboard building had suffered an electrical fire, and while the fire was quickly contained with the help of the Kennett Police, Kennett Fire Department and Avondale Fire Department, the damage forced the Food Cupboard to dispose of half of its inventory, and temporarily close its doors.
On Oct. 17, just two days after the announcement was made, the Food Cupboard received donations from hundreds of members of the community. For the next several days, volunteers filled refrigerated trucks with food items and gift certificates that came pouring in from individuals, from families, from church groups, from non-profit organizations and local businesses – many of whom did the hard work of galvanizing their own communities in the cause.
On Oct. 25, the Kennett Area Food Cupboard reopened. On Oct. 28, the KACS Facebook page said that through the generosity of many, the Food Cupboard was able to feed 98 people. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of others, the Food Cupboard is not only back in business, but even stronger than before.
In her thank-you letter to the Kennett Square community, KACS Executive Director Leah Reynolds wrote that “it is heartening to see kindness grow out of crisis, to know that the seeds of generosity always remain ready to sprout just when they’re needed most.
“This is philanthropy,” Reynolds wrote. “This is the love of humankind. This is the power of generosity, and this connectivity and love is what we, as Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) seek to cultivate and grow.”
In Kennett Square and throughout southern Chester County, the bells are ringing – just like what Zuzu's teacher said – because the many angels who have helped the Kennett Area Food Cupboard in the last few weeks have been given their wings, but in many ways, they have already taken flight.