Posted on November 09, 2022 in Community: Community Sharon's Corner Small Business

Sharon_Perry_SHARES_001.pngOne day in early October 2022 I realized that I was feeling a bit off. There was no real rhyme or reason for it – I just felt off. Since I couldn’t find a reason, I put it on the back burner and went about my day as usual. Life for me hasn’t always been easy, especially the last few years, but I had come out the other side of it, survived breast cancer, and was alive to watch my kids grow. As I basked in our beautiful October weather still wondering why I just wasn’t feeling right, I was reminded of all I had to be grateful for, despite all the punches life has thrown me. But when my daily routine didn’t shake off my melancholy, I knew exactly what I had to do.

I had to find some way to give back. You see, for me, giving back to my community is like my life raft. It is what helps keep me balanced, focused and grateful. As I tried to calm my wind soaking in the sun, I suddenly thought of spaghetti and ketchup.

Sharon_Perry_SHARES_003.jpgWhile some of you are thinking “ew gross!”, that wasn’t the part of the story that hit me. You see, growing up, my dad taught me to put ketchup on my spaghetti. At that time, spaghetti sauce just wasn’t my thing…but spaghetti and ketchup (with kraft parmesan)? Now that was the bomb! Delicious! My sisters would agree. What I didn’t know at the time is that my dad learned about this fabulous combination (minus the kraft parmesan) from my mom.

My mom was the second oldest of eight siblings and this was often a meal for them. Their family couldn’t afford to make spaghetti sauce. They couldn’t afford many things. They had one outfit for school which was washed nightly for the next day. They generally had 3 meals however often still went to bed or school hungry. For me growing up, all I knew was that I LOVED spaghetti and ketchup, but I always had a choice to have spaghetti sauce, whether I knew that at the time or not.

Learning of these stories in my adulthood and raising a family of my own, I know how hard it is to make ends meet. When I first started my business, I worked around the clock and missed out on many moments of my children’s lives to make sure I kept a roof over their heads and food on the table. I’d say that I am one of the very lucky ones. Not every business is successful, nor does every job or career provide enough income to sustain a family.

Every day, and especially on that one day in early October, I remembered just how much I have to be thankful for and it humbles and saddens me to know that not everyone is so fortunate. The fact that I am able to earn more than my family needs is a gift and tells me that I have enough to share too. As an individual and a business owner, I try to continually focus on what is, and what could have been, if I had not been able to successfully grow my business while doing what I love. Giving back completes me as a person and fulfills me in a way that has no comparison. It keeps my fire lit and pushes me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward for the greater good of my family and my community.

So, while I was stewing in my off-feelings, the thought that came to mind was my mom’s stories of not having enough. I never felt that kind of hardship growing up. Regardless of my parents’ means at the time, they always made sure that my sisters and I had what we needed. My kids have also never known that type of adversity, and I hope none of us ever have to experience it. Unfortunately, it’s out there and happens far too often. As a mom, it breaks my heart to know that there are families with children, in my community, who can’t just open up a cupboard door and grab a snack because eating that item might mean that there won’t be enough for breakfast tomorrow.

Sharon_Perry_SHARES_002.pngThat’s where SHARE Family & Community Services comes in. When I chose them to partner with on this give-back idea, I had no idea they were celebrating 50 years. What better way to give back than by honouring my mom’s childhood in the hopes that the children and families of today get to choose ketchup OR spaghetti sauce, rather than having ketchup over spaghetti sauce because that’s all they can afford to eat?

I know there are many families suffering right now, more so than ever before. While people are recovering from COVID, inflation, high-interest rates and more, 1 in 5 families are using Food Banks in order to have food on the table. But I also know there are many who are thriving, and that’s who I am calling on to join me in assisting those who need help.

I am looking for 50 individuals and/or businesses to join me in helping those who are in greater need. I am asking you to start a monthly donation of at least $20/month for a year (with the hope that you will continue on thereafter). For those of you who can afford $20/month, I beg you to think about those with hunger pains. What if that was your neighbour? Your parent? Your child?

$20/month is less than $1/day. It is less than 4 fancy coffees at Starbucks, per month. It is one take-out lunch a month. But for a family in need, it is everything…it is not going to bed or school hungry. Your $20/month donation will make a huge difference to someone.

50 donors x $20/month = $1,000/month x 12 months = $12,000

These donations will then be matched by Sharon Perry & Associates. Up to $1,000/month every month for a year for a total of $12,000.

$12,000 (FROM YOU, THE DONORS) + $12,000 (US) = $24,000 x 2 (SHARES buying power) = $48,000

Did I mention you will get a donation receipt for tax purposes too?

Sharon_Perry_SHARES_004.jpgNone of us know if, or when, we will ever need SHARE but I for one want to ensure they are around for another 50 years to help all those who do need them. I certainly hope that it won’t be you or I, however, knowing they are there to help all of us should hard times fall is all we can strive for.

And yes, I still eat ketchup on my spaghetti. Don’t knock it until you try it. 😉

While cooking up a batch of spaghetti with ketchup, I hope you too will consider starting a $20/month donation to SHARE’s Food Bank. If you are not in a position to help, I hope that you will share this blog for others to consider.

Thank you to all the givers of their communities – I hope the generosity of giving touches your heart the way it touches mine.

xoxo Sharon

***This blog is for information only and not to be used as tax advice or planning without first seeking professional advice. Information is subject to change without notice.