I’ve never told anyone. A secret long held, of a memory never forgotten.
Red wagon in tow, four young siblings set out. They weren’t headed to the park. Or grandma’s. Or even out to play. No, they had a mission. It was collection day.
The first doorbell rings. Manners intact, the eldest sibling politely asks if the household, by any chance, has any winter coats to donate for the poor. Their question is met with a small smile and affirmative nod, and the door closes slightly. Moments later, a fluffy, rust-colored nylon jacket is safely folded within the confines of their trusty wagon.
And so it begins. The jacket collection for the poor.
Half an afternoon later, the siblings head home, their wagon brimming with wintery apparel. Red-faced from exertion, they briskly unload the evidence of their labor. There’s a burgundy, downy one with a large hood. A cream-colored corduroy one with a suede collar. A heavy, felted pea coat that looks as if it would fit a giant. The children count eight in all.
Relief ripples through the household. There’s two that will fit the youngest. One for each of the middle ones. One that will fit the eldest. And three they will grow into.
Winter no longer seems as daunting.
You see, the collection was for the poor. That much was true. The piece of information not divulged, however, was that the collection wasn’t for a charity. It was for their family.
Gestures we may perceive as small—whether it’s giving an old jacket away or donating a MatchBack bundle—often have unforeseen consequences far greater than we could ever imagine in the lives they touch.
So, my thanks to those who, in spite of my lack of transparency, chose to donate that autumn day. And I hope to pay it forward with my own small gesture by becoming a MatchBack-er.