What a caring community we have! When I arrived for my noon - 3 pm shift, boxes were already stacked high and more people were coming out of the store with full shopping baskets. Council on Aging of West Florida was holding its yearly "Chill Out" drive to collect window air conditioners and fans to give to elderly folks who need them. As people age, they are less able to tolerate the high heat and humidity of southern summers, putting their health at risk. I was surprised how many people obviously came just to donate - they had no other packages, no other purpose to be at a Lowe's hardware store.
One man stopped his car by our table, opened the window and handed Trish a check for $1000. Yep, one thousand dollars! Another gave Casey a check for $500. Several people gave $20 bills. Our smallest donation? A young man who was hanging around, chatting with us while waiting for his purchase, searched his pockets for change. He gave all of it to us, all 27 cents. We thanked him, too, and slipped it in the money pouch. Many waved off filling in a donation sheet; they didn't want credit, just the pleasure of giving.
A lot of the donors were elderly themselves. Most of them simply said, "We are blessed we can do this." I walked inside with one couple: he had an oxygen tank with a line to his nose so he could breathe, and she was moving slowly, recovering from pneumonia. They purchased four air conditioners, one for themselves and three to donate. This same event was happening at five other area Lowes stores, too.
Despite the rain, heat and humidity, the turnout was significant. The three of us felt uplifted, happy to witness the kindness and generosity of our caring community.
Council on Aging of West Florida is compliant with the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability. Learn more at www.bbb.org.