the be generous club ~ le club soyez genereux
It is my happiness to welcome you to the be generous club ~ le club soyez genereux.
At the beginning of January 2021, I received a phone call from my stepmother that my father had been taken to the hospital; right in the middle of a full-blown pandemic. My dad had been diagnosed with ALS in the summer of 2019. On this particular evening, he had finished having dinner, went to sit down in his armchair in the living room and couldn’t get back up. It was a call I knew I would get one day, but it felt too early somehow. I packed my bags, gave myself a day to organize my life in Toronto, and started the drive across 3 provinces to be with him. I would end up spending the last 3 months of his life by his side in the hospital; an experience that changed me forever. After he left his physical form, I slowly made my way further west to spend time with my best friend and her family, and then onwards to my mother’s place – an additional 2 provinces further away. At this point, I am very far from home.
Like many, Covid didn’t play out well for my business of 11 years. At the end of January 2022, after many life-saving attempts, I closed Jaya Yoga Toronto Canada – a holistic yoga and meditation studio that I built from the ground up. While it felt like a year of loss, there were also beautiful new experiences that came into my life. I was able to spend quality time with my mom, I was given the gift to grieve and reflect surrounded by the ocean and beautiful mountains and trees, and I wrote and published 2 children’s books that year. It felt as though while some things were falling apart, some new things were falling together. During that time, I would on occasion drive out to the nearest city. This is an incredibly beautiful city that I have had the luxury of frequently visiting my whole life. It is a city that holds great memories for me, and a place where a lot of my friends live. It is a city I love.
On one of these trips, I ended up staying for a month and a half. During that time, I would work on my books and meditation series. Each day, I took in a long walk. Most times, I was out for 2-3 hours. I just loved it. If you remember, October to mid-November 2021 had people still a little Covid-hesitant. On my regular route, I would walk along one of the main shopping streets and saw many people out. It wasn’t as busy as I remembered it to be which was understandable, but it was still busy to a degree.
There was one change however, that was hard to ignore. The homeless situation in the downtown core (and possibly other areas too) was in worst shape then the last time I had visited. An incredible contrast. After all, I live in a big city too. This isn’t something foreign to me. On one hand, it was clear that there was still a lot of wealth around, and business was still happening. To a lesser degree yes, but it was still happening. At the same time, the amount of people living on the streets was shocking to me. Was this the effect of Covid? Substance abuse? Was there a greater divide happening between those who have and those who do not have? On one particular day, I walked into a café, ordered a coffee and went outside to enjoy it. Across from me was a set-up of sorts. A collection of umbrella’s placed together for protection from the elements, and a group of homeless folks living under it. It is as though they had set up their own little village. Their little village in front of a bank.
As I continued my walk that day, I had a difficult time not to think about it. There is so much wealth on this planet and many incredible charities, foundations and organizations that help in this way – what is the problem? Are they having difficulty keeping up with the demand? By now, shouldn’t we be in the opposite direction of this? You know, having moved in a better way.
Close to where I was staying, there was a convenience store and I had the idea to give it a try. While I did not have a kitchen to cook something in, I could easily go into a store, buy a pre-made food item, and give it to pretty much anyone on the street at this point. As I got closer, there was a gentlemen standing at the main door who was clearly struggling in life. There was a security guard outside guarding the front entrance. (what times we live in) They were conversing with each other which I thought was nice; the humanity in it I suppose. Either way, I go in and purchase a sandwich. As I walk out, I let him know that it was for him. At the same time, the light turns green to walk and I simply cross the street. He was so appreciative. I give him a polite wave and kept going; no thank you necessary. I didn’t need to pat myself on the back for it, I just wanted to see if this larger inspired idea could be of help to the situation. No selfie taken. His dignity in tact. Nothing but the simple human act of it and it felt really good. I told my friends and family about what I saw and what happened, and my idea for how we all could help. I’m not sure what they thought I would do with the intention, but here it is ~ 6 months later.
It is my happiness to share how the inspiration for the non-profit organization “the be generous club ~ le club soyez genereux’ came to be. The way to bridge this gap is actually something more accessible, more immediate and a lot closer then we think. It is in our own backyard, our own communities, our own behaviours. We need to be more involved in the ‘doing’ of it.
Don’t throw your leftovers in the garbage.
Here is what to do. Choose one night each week and make a little extra food. Everyone can do a little extra. Package it up safely along with the right hardware (fork, spoon, etc) and bring it to someone who lives on the street who is in obvious need. If you don’t live in a big city, bring it to a neighbour, an elderly person or someone in your community that could use a meal made with love. Nothing more then this simple act. Why not include your family or friends, and turn it into a special night of the week. And just like that, you’re in our club and we are so happy you are here. Keep going, get creative and have fun with it! Try out new recipe’s. There are so many incredible chef’s out there to learn from. Try new ingredients. Let’s face it, we already make a little extra food most of the time when we cook, and that little extra could change a life. Food made with love heals, and we all know it. Share your love, inspire your children around the importance of community, have fun with your friends and let’s take care of one another.
Want to take it to the next level? Take a photo of your dish, or of you and your friends or family cooking. You can even include your pet! Get creative! Email us your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it on our Instagram page: @begenerousclub. Be sure to follow us there. In your email, please include your Instagram page handle, where on planet earth you live (we would love to see which towns, cities and countries are participating) and we will tag you in your photo.
If you do not have the time or the means to make a meal for someone, gift them your leftovers after a meal out. Ask the restaurant for a takeaway container, place your leftovers inside and gift it to someone in need.
There is also a place on our website to make a financial donation towards our movement, if this is more convenient for you. 100% of your donation goes towards the action of feeding others.
One small ask: Please do not take a photo of you and the person you are gifting your meal to. We are all responsible to maintain the privacy and dignity of those around us. If you send us these types of photos, please know that we will not share them.
Okay everyone, get cooking and let’s take care of one another. Healing our world starts in our own backyard.
We suggest doing this gesture once a week, but only do it if you can, when you can and how you can. Thanks for joining! ~ and keep an eye out for us. We are just getting started.
Everything that is in your heart, put that into the world.
I already love you for it. Jacqualine Haller xo
the be generous club
le club soyez genereux