Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on April 8, 2019.

A year ago, a horrible bus crash claimed sixteen lives and left thirteen others with lifelong injuries and trauma; their loved ones and so many people across the country still carry the heartbreak with them. Humboldt Bronco defenceman Logan Boulet was among those who died. His life ended too soon but he left with giving the gift of life as his parents honoured his wish to be an organ donor. The lives of six people changed forever for the better and so did the lives of those who love them.

The ripples of such a gift will keep on giving and will be felt for a long time. The Logan Boulet Effect will continue through our remembrance of his generosity and by observing Green Shirt Day every year on April 7th. Here’s to hoping that many of us learning about it and donning a green shirt on, will also register to be an organ donor.

Last week, the small Sikh community in Clearwater donated $164,000 to local charities after they sold the temple. The building was intended for a larger community, but that was in the past. Now, the handful of Sikh people left in the community have figured it would serve everyone better if they sold it and donated the money to local charities. Many people’s lives will be changed for the better because of that. Again, and unbeknownst to many of us, the ripples will keep on giving and changing lives in ways that are impossible to measure.

Such is the impact of giving.

And more yet. The Mustard Seed New Life Community has a new meals sponsorship program: businesses who wish to participate can donate to the Mustard Seed ($1,000 for a meal) and send volunteers to the Outreach Centre. The ripples of goodness will be expanding outwards from here too. Many lives will be better for it, and hopefully many will carry on the torch of heartfulness and hope.

Stories like these are everywhere, though often buried under the countless others of despair, sadness, heartbreak, and grief.

In fairness, life has it all: it is imperfect and awful, on the one hand, amazing and inspiring, on the other. And we ought to be aware of world and its myriad of stories as they appear. In order to be able to fulfill needs, we need to know what they are.

Another facet of giving unfolds every day of every year through the presence of those who care and believe in giving. April 7th to the 13th is Volunteer Appreciation Week. It’s about people who give, and the many lives they touch in doing so. It’s what renews hope in humanity on those days and times when we almost drown in sad stories and heartbreak and hope dwindles.

Look for them when you’re about to lose hope. They are everywhere: in your immediate surroundings, in the community, across country and across the world. Be part of those who keep the torch burning.

In every walk of life, and in everything you can think of, someone is helping as a volunteer. I’ve heard people refer to it as ‘doing something for free’. It sounds simplified and flat-lined and takes away so much of the value that people who care impart to the very process. The act of giving something such as time and presence to a cause creates a chain reaction that generates goodness and heartedness; it helps form relationships that nurture so many people, directly and indirectly. The act of giving brings the unique gift of connection. That’s how the wheels keep turning.

Go ahead, give, whatever it is that you can: time, money, blood, organs (once you pass,) food, smiles, a listening ear or a few words that will remind someone that they matter. As long as the streak continues, we have a good chance to succeed at being human. We are in it together in more ways than we can count. When we give, good things happen. As long as we care about our fellow humans and about the world that shelters us and our imperfect ways, there is hope.

So give; we are doomed without it.