I guess it’s just like riding a bicycle — we held our first live event in a year, and it felt really good. We took the Winners Circle to The Sagamore Hotel in Miami, to enjoy the weather and the upscale ambience of South Beach.
Yes, we observed face covering and social distancing guidelines, and no, everyone was not able to attend due to lingering restrictions — but we did it, and there was a feeling of renewal and freshness amongst the participants, who got to enjoy some world class dining, sun and fun.
The Sagamore is a boutique art hotel, and in the lobby is an orange neon sign that reads “Everyone has a story to tell,” so it was fitting that our profession’s pre-eminent storyteller, Guy Riekeman, stopped by to inspire us with his signature saga of struggle, service and success.
But the highlight of the weekend for me was not the glitz and opulence of Miami chic, but rather the opposite — we took our members to a nearby parking lot, where we met with a team of volunteers and assembled mountains of bags of cucumbers, celery, broccoli, peppers, eggplants, lettuce, apples, tomatoes and eggs, and distributed them to hundreds of families, who waited patiently in line in their cars to receive food to put on their tables.
This is a part of the COVID era many of us overlook — the devastation of lost jobs, lost businesses and lost opportunities has left millions of people food insecure, dependent on this kind of generosity to get by during the tough times. It called for someone to do something good to help.
The mayor and the commissioner were on hand coordinating the giveaway — this marked the one-year anniversary of this food program, thousands upon thousands of man-woman hours and hundreds of tons of food provided for those neighbors who simply wouldn’t have anything to eat otherwise.
It generated a groundswell of humility that we had such plenty, in spite of dire circumstances, and emotions poured out as the grateful Miamians accepted their packages of organic produce. The phrase “There but for the grace of God go I” echoed in my head, and we were moved by the opportunity to give back in the midst of celebrating the bounty with which we were blessed.
We may take it for granted that there will be three square meals in our pantries and refrigerators, or money in our pockets to support ourselves and those we love — but we can’t forget the less fortunate, in this case mostly middle and lower middle class people whose livelihood evaporated before their eyes.
It had to be uncomfortable, even painful for some of these proud people to require charity. But no one showed even a trace of bitterness or entitlement – they were normal people in a rough spot, who needed this process for sustenance, many for the first time ever. Yet, everyone treated each other with respect, from the VIPs on down to those breaking down boxes, cleaning up and toting scraps for compost. That’s why this worked – the teamwork spared everybody any unnecessary indignity.
Don’t I wish we could have included an adjustment in our contribution to the greater good for these families! I know many chiropractors who have traveled to Haiti, Dominican Republic and other nations to offer health care to the impoverished — perhaps we need to orchestrate a grander effort to offer chiropractic to those in the food queue. Now that would be another level of serving Miami!
Dennis Perman DC, for The Masters Circle Global
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