We’re still at it! Homeless kit update and school supply donations

Hello everyone!  I know it’s been a while since my last post – I’ve been taking a little blogging-breather since I wrapped up our year of service.  We definitely haven’t given up on our service, though!  Here is what we have been up to in the past week or so…

Last Sunday after church, Abby, Jake and I were heading home.  When we stopped at a light just outside of the church, there was a man standing there holding a sign that read “Need food.  Please help.  Anything will do.”  I didn’t have any food with me, but I did have the homeless care kit that Abby and I packed a few weeks ago for Project 46.  As I mentioned in that post, I really don’t come across too many homeless people where we live.  I know they’re around, but I generally don’t see them on the street in the places where I go.  I have seen one or two since we made the kit, but it was really important to me that Abby be there to witness it when I gave it out.  Here was our chance!  I quickly grabbed the kit and rolled down my window.  When the guy came over, I held it up and said, “Would this help?  It’s a hygiene kit.”  He lit up with a big smile and said, “Yes, it would!”  He took it, thanked us, and headed off on his way.

As we drove off, Abby started her barrage of questions about the man.  I know that all four-year-olds are full of questions, but Abby really takes it to a whole other level.  She can talk non-stop for a very long period of time without coming up for air!  It was really a challenge to explain homelessness to her.  It was the first time I’ve brought up drugs and alcohol to her.  It was hard to explain that some people are homeless for making really poor choices while others just hit an unfortunate string of bad luck.  At the same time, I wanted her to know she is safe and not at risk of winding up homeless any time soon.

Today Abby and I wrapped up two more projects we have been working on for a while.  As I’ve mentioned in several posts, Abby and I are trying to help the Fresh Start Academy in Eldoret, Kenya by providing them with urgently needed items.  Last month we sent hundreds of toothbrushes and toothpaste to the school.  A couple of months ago, I put out the call for school supplies to help the school.  They currently have one pencil for every two students.  Can you imagine?  My friends and my moms’ club really came through!  My moms’ club wanted to help local children with school supplies, as well, so we also collected school supplies for the New Beginnings Center.  The New Beginnings Center is a local charitable organization that helps victims of domestic violence.  Here are all the supplies we collected…

This afternoon, Abby was deeply engrossed in Dora the Explorer.  I asked her if she wanted to help me with this project and figure out which school supplies should go to Kenya and which should go to the New Beginnings Center.  I was pleasantly surprised when she hopped up, turned off Dora, and eagerly began to help.  I really got a kick out of how excited she was to sort the supplies.  She would pick up a supply and say, “Oh, I love this one, it really needs to go to Kenya,” or, “We need to be sure to save some colored pencils for the kids in Garland.”  Sitting at the kitchen table sorting supplies with Abby really made me remember why I love doing our projects together!

We filled a box for Kenya with the supplies I figured they could use the most – mostly pencils, colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, scissors, and a couple of random supplies.  (Abby felt strongly that the Kenyan children needed the one pink flexible ruler that was donated.)  You can fit a surprising amount of pencils into a relatively small box!  We tried to mail it off to Kenya today, but we arrived just as they were locking up the post office.  So, it will go in the mail tomorrow morning.

We also put together five full bags of supplies to take to the New Beginnings Center.

Tonight Abby and I took the bags of supplies over to the New Beginnings Center.  They were very appreciative!  Abby wanted to know who the supplies were going to help.  This was another difficult thing to explain.  I tried my best to explain about domestic violence.  When we got home, I heard her explaining to Rob that we took the supplies to help kids because some kids have mean daddies that hurt them.  Then she said, “But you’re not a mean Daddy.”  Service projects certainly can touch some areas that you otherwise might not bring up with preschoolers!

Next week I am on “mom-duty” all week.  My kids don’t start preschool until September 4, but my husband is already back to work (he’s a teacher) and my go-to-babysitter (my mom) will be on vacation.  So, we have a week full of activities planned.  I will definitely plan one or two projects to go along with it!

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