The Pillow Project

I was doing some shopping for my husband at Lowes Home Improvement store, when I saw the outdoor pillows were on sale. This time of year, is always such a smart time to buy outdoor living items, especially because here in new Mexico they can be used basically year round. When I got home and went to switch out my faded 2-year-old pillows, I initially went to throw them in the trash. However I stopped myself; these pillows, although faded from our New Mexico sun, were perfectly fine, someone could you them.

I then had an idea, one I hope will spread like wild-fire. Do you know who could use a small, compact, waterproof pillow? Someone living in the streets, someone with no home would probably love to have a pillow. I decided just having the idea wasn’t enough; I had to put myself out there, make some phone calls, and find out where I could help. Unfortunately my first call did not go as I planned. I explained to the gentleman on the phone I was looking to donate pillows to the homeless they work with, and I was informed that our local homeless shelter had closed. All those individuals who had been utilizing the shelter were now displaced. I then called a soup kitchen. Again, I explained I wanted to donate pillows. I asked if the population they served each day were low-income or homeless; both. I was told with winter coming pillows and blankets are needed to help those they serve, who are living on the street.

I went back to Lowe’s and bought every pillow they had left that was marked down from $16.98 to $3.78. With ten pillows in cart, I marched to the register and asked to speak to a manager to ask for a discount. When you walk to a customer service desk, with a cart full of pillows, and ask for a discount, you get some looks from the cashier. I explained to the desk attendants the homeless shelter closed down, and therefore there were people displaced and living on the streets. I was buying the outdoor pillows because they are small and waterproof, and planned to take them to our local soup kitchen, where they would distribute them to those in need. I asked for a discount; not because I’m cheap, but because the less I spent then, the more I could do later. Lowe’s gave me an incredible discount. I was ecstatic! I’m not sure if they knew what to think of me; I don’t know if they actually believed what I was doing, or if they gave me to discount because I had the audacity to make a story up that detailed and intense, but they did it and I am grateful.

I loaded up and headed to the soup kitchen where I met two lovely gentleman taking such great pride in their service. They showed me around their facility, told me about the population they served, and where they were still in need. Although the 10 pillows I donated will help 10 people living on the streets, they still need blankets and coats. And there are many more people in need beyond the ten.

So today, with the money I saved, I’m headed to Home Depot! My hope is they also have outdoor pillows on sale, and they are willing to negotiate on price, so a few more people can have a piece of comfort. My hope is that more people go shop some sales this week and find a place to donate some pillows. I often find myself asking “what can I do to help? How can I make an impact? I’m a stay at home mom, in a small town in New Mexico?” Today, I realized all it takes to make a difference is an idea, and action. It takes action to make change, it takes acts of kindness.

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