Amy recently stepped up, and started helping us organize our NES social trips. The biggest hits of those have been our Ruckgiving hikes around Boston. In this guest spot, Amy writes about Rucksgiving II – held in the middle of January.
There aren’t many things that can bring us the deep, wholesome, hopeful, world-lovin’ kind of happiness that helping others brings.
Around Thanksgiving time, a big group of New England Spahtens gathered together in the heart of Boston, strapped down with rucks, wagons, strollers, and gym bags full of blankets, hats, scarves, hand warmers, socks, toiletries, food, clothing, and more. The first event was so wonderful, we decided to plan a second!
In January, we got a group together with even more donations, this time collected not only from home, but also from workplaces, classrooms, and friends. We met up at Boston Common and rucked over to Pine Street Inn, where we happily overwhelmed a grateful volunteer coordinator with mountains of donations! We learned that Pine Street Inn is responsible for providing shelter and street outreach to more than 1,600 men and women each day. Many of the items we brought would go out in the Outreach Van that night, providing relief to those sleeping on the bitter cold streets. After unpacking many of our items, we moved along to Rosie’s Place, a shelter for women and children – the first of its kind in the United States. At Rosie’s, we were able to chat, interact, and give directly to the ladies, which was the most rewarding part of the day for most! Despite a couple brief hold-ups, the tremendous patience and eagerness to give shown by all our Spahtens made the event a true success.
Here are just a few of many moving and inspirational snapshots of our day:
A woman, arms filled with new clothes, grasping at words in English, able only to find the phrase, “I’m so happy! I’m so happy!”
The heartbreaking smile of sweet chubby toddler cheeks. His resilience, waving around a homemade cookie. His joy, dumping out a brand new box of crayons in his lap.
Three teens, huddled together on the frozen city sidewalk, clutching a sign “cold & hungry”…approached by 30 smiling Spahtens handing them blankets and hot breakfast sandwiches. Such relief in her eyes so many grateful thank-yous on his lips.
Watching little Spahtkin faces light up as they hand out donations they collected themselves, giving away “things” and getting back smiles.
A young lady waltzing down the sidewalk, from one Spahten backpack to the next, picking out sweaters, chapstick, sneakers… “I feel like I’m shopping!” she beams.
Helping a woman hold her rolling suitcase closed as she zips her entire life inside. Her profuse thank-yous pause only to ask, “What church are you from?” She never expected a racing group, and blesses me with a giant hug.
This is part of what makes us who we are as New England Spahtens. We train, we get muddy, we laugh, we compete. But we are a community, and we understand what it means to give.
So many people are forever searching for the “key” to happiness. They try to find it in job promotions, big houses, expensive jewelry, huge TVs, more belongings… What’s so often overlooked is that the true key to happiness is connecting with others. Giving something of yourself to another person, so you become a part of their story that they look back on and smile – that’s what happiness is made of. We, as New England Spahtens, understand what it means to lift others up – on the race course and off. We remind ourselves to reach out a helping hand to those in need, at every opportunity we find or create. That’s what makes me so very proud to be a member of this team.
Anyone who would like to help coordinate a Spahten community event in their area, contact Amy Reichenbach.