My husband and I always try to make donations or help people whenever possible. Whether it be scraping together money for someone we know needs help, anonymously dropping toys at the doorstep of someone who can't afford gifts for their children for Christmas or just paying for someones coffee or a meal to brighten their day. Even when we're having a hard time ourselves, we always try to do something. We've involved the kids before by having them get together things to donate, but this holiday season I wanted to get them a little more involved. As much as we can for their age anyway. Alex is 8 1/2, Cameron is 6 and Wyatt is approaching 5. The other 2 are still just too young to understand it.
After thinking it over for a few days, I decided that I would take the boys to the dollar store and load up on some hygiene items to donate to the family shelter here, Crisis Ministries. Before we went, I discussed what it means to be homeless with them. Cameron wanted to buy them beds and homes instead of hygiene products and I told him if we could afford to, I would do it in a heartbeat! We're having a bit of a tough time financially, so my budget for this wasn't big, but we managed to get 30 toothbrushes, 30 bars of soap, 2 boxes of laundry soap and 3 bags of sanitary pads! I thought that was decent for $25! The boys were actually very anxious to "bring the stuff to help the people who need it."
On Monday we headed out to bring the box of stuff to donate to the shelter. By the time we arrived the donation center was closed, but we called and the woman in the shelter was very nice and just had Tony and the boys go right into the back of the family shelter with her to bring it in. She brought them into a common area with tables that had many people inside, some with small children. She told everyone that the boys had made a large donations of soap, toothbrushes and things like that. Everyone said thank you and applauded the kids. Tony had the boys wish them all a Merry Christmas and some of them shook the boys hands as they walked out. The appreciation they showed the boys really touched me. I'm tearing up right now thinking about it. I don't know if it's pregnancy hormones or what...
The boys walked out looking as if they felt accomplished. I could tell it had an emotional effect on Alex. But I'm glad it did, I wanted them to feel compassion for the people who had to be there and needed those items they donated. I talked to the boys when we got home and they all said it made them sad to see so many people who were homeless and needed to be there, but it made them feel good to give them things they need. We discussed how we all want to do more when we can and what types of things we plan to do. I couldn't have asked for them to get any more out of this experience. They took from it exactly what I was hoping they would. They have a little more understanding of the circumstances some other people are facing and they have compassion for them. To see the compassion such innocent little people can have is really amazing. I want them to hold onto that.
I had Alex write something for me about it.