Often, our charity is not organized charity, but spontaneous… done by individuals.
One little example is what’s happening in the East Village of New York City. Ray’s Candy Store has been a fixture there for years. When Ray arrived in the US, he had $10 in his pocket. He worked hard and when he’d saved $30,000, bought a candy store. He’s run it for 36 years.
Then tastes changed, and rents rose. Behind in the rent, Ray thought he’d have to close. But when word of Ray’s demise got out, suddenly, things changed.
“One day a man walked in, said ‘Did you pay your rent?'” I said, ‘No I’m a little short.’ He went in his pocket, handed me $200 and said, ‘Go pay your rent.’”
Students Arianna Gil and Emily Allan came up with an idea; they volunteered to work for Ray, for free. On Saturday nights they make deliveries by skateboard or by bike. They used Facebook and Twitter to get other kids to volunteer.
“When I heard that Ray’s was in trouble I decided this wasn’t something that I could just let happen,” said Arianna. “I gave up my Saturday nights because this is more important than going out with my friends.”
“The kids are so great.” Ray said. “They don’t want money, they just want to help me. They come, they deliver, they hand me the money and they go home.”
Also, people in the neighborhood held a fundraiser for Ray. They charged admission, sold t-shirts and beer, and raised $3,000 dollars for Ray.
The jury is still out as to whether Ray’s will survive. He faces a $25,000 bill for a new ventilation system demanded by the New York City environment police. But thanks to the kids and the community, he is still in business.
Is that kind of generosity something special about America? Ray says, you bet.
“America the beautiful, land of opportunity… Thanks to America."