Today is the twelfth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. No one will ever forget where they were that day or what they were doing. But, at some point, someone decided to make this day about something more than terrorism. They decided to make this day about giving back and doing what can make this country and world a better place. They made September 11 the National Day of Service. (Who is “they?” I have no idea!)
Three years ago, I started a tradition with my kids to do a neighborhood food drive on September 11. For the past two years, we had other families participate. This year, it was just me and the kids. I debated cancelling. I mean, we’re all tired. It’s a school night. Jake doesn’t get to nap at preschool any more, and he is a real bear without a nap. The reasons not to do it went on and on. But, I decided that this is important and we would commit to going out for 30 minutes. An hour and a half later, we returned home after a truly wonderful evening! Here we are heading out…
Abby raided our pantry to find any canned goods we had lying around. For some reason, they decided their stuffed animals wanted to come along for the ride. We headed off and started at the next door neighbors’ house.
At each house when someone answered the door, Abby said, “Today is the National Day of Service. Would you like to donate food to the food pantry?” This really is a great project for little ones. I really had Abby working on making eye contact and speaking directly with people. She was nervous, but she really improved from house to house. At first, she would look at me while she was speaking. Then she started just looking at the wagon. But the end, she was really doing great looking the neighbors in the eye. After someone gave us a donation, Jake handed them a slip of paper saying thank you and where the food would be donated.
I was absolutely stunned at how great my kids did tonight on this project. Our street is quite long, and we went all the way around the cul-de-sac and back. I would guess we walked 1.5 miles, which is quite a bit for a three-year old. No one complained even one time, which is especially impressive considering it was over 90 degrees today. One neighbor gave us each a bottled water to help us along the way. (Silly me, it never occurred to me to take some water!) The kids got along wonderfully and even worked together to pull the wagon (until it got too heavy). Jake gave me a huge smile and said, “Look mom, it’s teamwork!”
We finally headed home when our wagon was full. Here are the kids with all the donations we collected…
I am so glad we got out there tonight to do this project! I realize that collecting canned goods really has nothing whatsoever to do with what happened on September 11. But, it’s now our family tradition, and I think it is truly a wonderful way to spend this day each year!