Bea Gaddy doesn’t have anything to do directly with our Community Coat Exchange. Bea Gaddy has everything to do with inspiring me to serve our community.
As a younger woman growing up in Frederick County, Maryland – about 50 miles west of Baltimore, I would watch with intrigue each Thanksgiving as the local news would air the piece about the huge Thanksgiving Feast organized by this amazing woman – Bea Gaddy. ( I have linked to her story and other sites below.)
Each year I would continue to be inspired by the stories published about Bea Gaddy and her efforts. I would think to myself “I want to be like her when I grow up.”
I learned in 2005 about a community event in Rhode Island held every year the day after Thanksgiving – the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange. Inspired by it, I organized Utah’s Annual Community Coat Exchange held each year the same day, the day after Thanksgiving. Each year of its existence I see that our Utah event is growing by leaps and bounds. It is amazing to me the outpouring of support by people from all over for this effort.
And now Coat Exchange events are held coast to coast – with events in Kentucky and Oregon, in addition to the Rhode Island and Utah events.
As I have been reflecting on this event, I have come to realize, on a small scale and relevant to my world, that my wish has come true, thanks to everyone in my life who has influenced me – my amazing and wonderful husband, my parents, my grandmother, my siblings, my children, my wonderful friends, and others in the world who have inspired and influenced me….
I have grown up to be more like Bea Gaddy.
My desire is to continue to grow and serve our community in ways that all people will benefit from educational efforts such as the Community Coat Exchange. I hope that others feel inspired to serve the neighbors in the communities in which they live.
Bea Gaddy Places:
Bea Gaddy Women and Children’s Shelter
This article is originally hosted at: https://coatexchange.org/serving-the-community/
While written in the past, I post this each year. Everything in it still stands. Peace.