Monday, December 7, 2009

Smash Register

Have you ever had your car or your home broken into? It's one of the most helpless feelings in the world. Someone broke into my car about 10 years ago but didn't steal anything. Apparently, they just thought it was fun to smash one of the back windows. It could have been worse had I been 400 miles from home with a couple of friends and my car was our only way back... Oh, wait. We were and it was.

But on to the story. I volunteer at HumanKind in East Nashville. I ran the half marathon back in April and managed to raise some funds for them. I've helped to sort clothes. I've washed the windows. I do the bookkeeping. I'm on the board of directors now. I'd say I have quite the vested interest in the place. If you haven't heard me talk about it before or if you don't feel like clicking over to the HK website via the link above, the best way to describe HumanKind is that the profits from the merchandise sold at the store go toward purchasing the required “standard school attire” for refugee kids entering the Metro Nashville school system. I don't really know why cause is important to me: I didn't go to public school after first grade; I didn't have to buy a uniform for school [at Detroit Catholic Central, it was khaki pants and Eddie Bauer for all -- I didn't know any better]; my parents always had money for the clothes I did wear... Superficially, none of that really makes sense as to why I'd want to help the place out. It certainly isn't glamorous to say that you volunteer at a non-profit and, sure, some women might think that it's 'sensitive', and, sure, it might look nice on a resume'.... But none of those are the reasons that I do it. I'm a jackass and I know it. I'm just trying to find a way to give back. And really... what's a few hours of volunteering a month in the grand scheme of things? It's a small price to pay for what I get in return even if I don't really know what that is just yet... and even if I never meet any of the kids that benefit from clothes their parents might not otherwise be able to afford.

Sometime late Saturday night / early Sunday morning, someone broke into HK. They destroyed the glass front door and, from what I've been told, went straight for the register. They smashed it open in an attempt to (obviously) get money. I don't know what these people who broke in were thinking but has any business ever just left money sitting in the register overnight? I can't think of any.

Suffice to say, my first reaction was "What an asshole! Who the hell breaks into a non-profit thrift store to steal money?!" It was natural. Being Irish, I think I have a tendency to over-react but I think this time I was spot on. Luckily, the only things that were damaged were the front door (which the landlord is replacing) and the cash register. Being a non-profit, HK relies entirely on donations and hard work. An expense like this is, fortunately, something we were financially prepared for but, of course, never saw coming. A cash register isn't going to make or break us.

Ryan and Christina Rado, the owners and founders of HK, were asked by Channel 4 here in Nashville to be interviewed about the break-ins and declined. The thinking was that it didn't put our beloved East Nashville in a positive light and that, from HK's perspective that's the sort of thinking that only contributes to more fear. East Nashville isn't a scary place; it's home. A little rough around the edges, perhaps, but so are we all. In Channel 4's defense, they did make it the lead story during last night's broadcast and did a pretty good job of it, too.

What I have been asked to do by my roommates Ryan and Christina is to ask you guys to come on out. Sure, donate money if you want to [I'm calling it the Smash Register Fund... Pretty catchy, eh?]. But we'd all rather have you come out to the holiday party on Friday, December 18th. We'd rather have you tell your friends about this place. We'd rather have you donate your gently used clothes. We'd rather have you volunteer to do some alterations or teach a sewing class so people who do buy their clothes from us can learn how to make it fit just so. We'd rather you sell your homewoven handicrafts on consignment. We'd rather have you walk away looking like a million bucks... for only a few bucks. We'd rather have you come support the mission of this place: helping out some folks who might not be able to help themselves.

This is HumanKind and let's face it... We're all in it together.

[You can visit HK at 604 Gallatin Ave, Ste #206, Nashville, TN 37206]

1 comment:

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