I’m surprised by the responses I get to my blog. Last time I wrote about the importance of giving money to those who have nothing right now, not even enough to buy food, and people wrote back asking how they could send money to them. I was very moved.

At the same time, I have to act responsibly. I made calls to Catholic Charities in Turners Falls because I know they serve the illegal community (a few years back we gave a little help to their summer children’s program). But the place is closed, of course, people are working from home and their availability is different.

I did connect with a woman I met in 2016 who is liaison for schools and local agencies with the undocumented community. She told me they lack social security numbers, of course, and therefore can’t get any government help at all. Some of the men work on farms; others have been laid off and can’t find work. All have little children.

We went over many different needs—I told her we couldn’t do so much, but we could do some. She agreed that gift cards from two nearby supermarkets meet a basic need for many.

We agreed to meet next Tuesday; she will introduce me to some of the families. I will bring food gift cards with me. If you wish to fund this, you could hit the Donate button on bottom and write: For Families in the Note, and I’ll know what it’s for. You could also send me a check to POB 174, Montague, MA 01351.

What I also plan to do is look into how folks can buy gift cards directly from the supermarkets and send me those gift cards, and I’ll get them to the families, thus avoiding Paypal payments, etc. But for now, given the inquiries I received, this is the best I can offer. If you’d prefer to wait till I clarify the latter approach (probably this weekend), that’s fine. I want to do this in a trustworthy way.

I tried to get the dogs onboard with this, maybe act as mascots, but they were most uncooperative. I overheard the following conversation:

“Who’re you sleeping with, Harry?”

“I’m sleeping with Rhino, Aussie.”

“You’re not sleeping with the Boss? You’re not sleeping with me?”

“If I don’t sleep with Rhino you’ll take him from me. I have to be watchful every moment.”

“It’s not me you have to worry about, it’s the Boss. She’ll give Rhino away, just watch. Some dog will give her a sob story about how she doesn’t have any toys to play with, and Rhino will be gone just-like-that.”

“We do have other toys, Aussie.”

“No one as big as Rhino. We had Bear, till we tore it to shreds. No, we have to watch Rhino on account of how sick the Boss is.”

“The Boss is sick, Auss? Does she have you-know-what?”

“She has worse things than you-know-what.”

“Like what?”

“There’s altruitis, caringitis, and generousitis. But there’s something that’s far, far worse, a disease there’s no cure for.”

“What’s that, Auss?”


“That sounds very bad, Aussie.”

“It’ll kill her for sure, Harry. Meantime, you and I lead deprived lives. Do you have any idea how many wonderful treats pet stores now have? Things they didn’t have when I was a pup?”

“Like what, Aussie?”

“They have jerky from every kind of animal you can imagine—”

“Chicken, cows, turkey, pigs—”

“Deer, buffalo, yak-“

“Yak jerky is yucky. Say that fast many times.”

“And even llama jerky-“

“Jerky from Tibetan teachers?”

“Stop interrupting, Harry. You can get antlers, kabobs, liver, cheese, peanut butter—”

“I am so glad to be living in modern times!”

“Exactly, Harry. We are lucky to be living now, in the midst of so much abundance. I need it all to fulfill my life vow.”

“What’s your life vow, Aussie? To wake up in the land of attachments?”

“To be a balloon. How am I going to become a balloon if all I get is tennis balls? I use all my tricks, Harry, put on my best beseeching face, open wide my soulful, brown eyes, nuzzle at her leg, dreaming that she may awaken from her torpor and say: Aussie, today I’m buying out the treats department of the Greenfield Farmers Co-op and laying it at your paws. Instead, what does she do?”

“What, Aussie?”

“She throws me a tennis ball!”

“That’s sick, Aussie.”

“Kindness Virus. Starts with confusion about priorities and ends up with total dementia.”

“What happens with total dementia, Aussie?”

“You don’t want to know. Protect Rhino with your life, Harry!”

“Aussie, will she ever want to give  away?”

“I wish! Why do you suppose I run away so often?”