My recent experience with "Going Bald for Empty Bellies" was definitely one for the books. Throughout high school I spent countless hours volunteering my time for various charities and fundraisers, most of which I was linked to through sports teams or social events organized by my school's Student Athletic Council. However, once I entered "the real world," those opportunities seemed less available to me as an individual. What I didn't realize at the time, was that I didn't need a group of people to motivate me to become an active member of society. Instead, I could motivate a group of people; and anyone can do it!
Where the Idea Come From
It all started with one of those nights where you toss and turn; running through countless scenarios, to do lists, and everything in between. "I need a hair cut." "What am I going to make for breakfast." "Blah blah blah... hopes and dreams... blah blah." And then the idea crossed my mind, donating my hair to create a wig for someone in need! But if you're like me, your hairstyle tends to change with your mood, and there was no way my half bleached head of hair was going to bring happiness to anyone. So I decided I would shave my head, in hopes that people would find my baldness entertainment enough to donate to a good cause! I can't say that all my 2am decisions are good ones, but this one really took the cake.
My Lovely Recipients
Now it was time to find a charity of my choice. I started researching the top charitable organizations in Canada, which to my surprise, had a grading system based on efficiency. In some cases, a large portion of funds go into advertising, paying out CEOs, running events, or other expenses necessary to gain funds. So it was in my best interest to find an organization with a high efficiency grade, creating the largest benefit possible for those in need.
Once Food Banks Canada caught my eye, it was hard to resist. I put so much focus on healthy living, making sure that I'm providing myself with nutritious options, that I never really realized that some people just don't have the option to eat healthy. All this time I had been glorifying this healthy lifestyle, that as much as I appreciate my willingness to provide such a thing for myself, I had taken for granted the fact that this was in fact a privilege. Over 850 000 people per month relied on Food Banks Canada for assistance in 2015, and more than 42% of those people lived in Ontario. Not only does this charity provide meals for those in need, but also offers education in nutrition, meal planning, growing food, and food preparation; all of which become viable life skills! It was settled; I had found my focus, and I was so thrilled to get started!
For anyone looking to start fundraising, whatever the cause may be, Go Fund Me was a great tool! The site requires a small fee by donations, but was super accessible and user friendly to anyone who was hoping to support the cause! From December 1st to the 15th my GoFundMe was open to anyone who wished to donate to this wonderful cause. I used Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr to spread the word through social media; I posted flyers at restaurants around town, and asked for help from friends and family to spread the word! I began with a goal of $500.00, but with the amazing support of family and friends, we surpassed this mark within days! Check the sidebar for a special thank you memo to those who made online donations! >>
I knew that shaving my head would be quite a change, but realistically something so superficial really wasn't as important as the cause itself. I think the reactions of those around me were honestly what scared me the most. I received so much positive feedback and support, but hey there is always going to be someone to point out the obvious; what happens once I'm bald? - where is the beauty? Now this was one of my favourite realizations throughout the whole experience. If I looked in the mirror and felt that I would think I was "less beautiful" without a head of hair, then I certainly had a whole other reason to follow through with this adventure. The way I saw it was, if I felt like I needed something superficial to feel beautiful, then I wasn't looking in the right places!
Time to Buzz
The time had come to snip those brown locks, and I was ready to have some fun! I decided to share the experience with friends through snap chat, because why not embrace this ridiculousness!
Action Shot of the First Snip!
The Last Mun!
The First Celebratory Bald Selfie
After flaunting my bald head around town, I received a few more donations that put me well over my goal, and because of the heartwarming generosity of friends and family, I was able to write a cheque for $1315! I ventured over to Community Care St. Catharines, and had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Souter, the CEO of this incredible organization. I was recognized for this favourable donation, but the truth is, none of this would have happened without the outstanding support from friends and family. Thank you again to everyone who pitched in/provided me with support for this amazing cause! I cried like baby as soon as I left the center; the sense of warmth and community I witnessed was overwhelming!
Ms. Souter, the CEO of Community Care St. Catharines, and I at the center
This charitable experience has definitely been an eye opener. Not only did I underestimate my own ability to make a difference, but I underestimated the power that a supportive community holds, in which I truly learned what community care means. And on top of all that, I was able to find a certain sense of comfort and confidence in both my inner and outer beauty. Again, I cannot thank my support system enough. If you think you're alone, you may have yet to open your eyes!