Sunday, February 08, 2015

What We Can Do

My niece is a teacher who writes a blog about teaching, about her experiences in and out of the classroom, presumably for other teachers to read. I'm not a teacher, but I read her blog because she's my niece and because I'm a learner. And I've learned a good bit from Susan who, incidentally, taught me to make a quilt back in 1986 or so.

Her post today included a link to an article about another teacher, one who does so much more than provide instruction in the Three Rs. The social problem of children living in poverty is far more widespread than I had thought.

I have a friend who responded to a magazine advertisement or article by choosing a couple of needy children in foreign countries and each month she sends a financial contribution through a reputable agency to better the lives of those children. It is what she can -- and wants -- to do. A blog friend who recently went on a mission trip to Central America returned home, so moved by the plight of the children she met there that she arranged a substantial and meaningful Christmas gift for one family. It was what she could do.

This past Thanksgiving when all of my kids were gathered, I produced an immense bag of hygiene products from hotels to see if anyone wanted them. Immediately my daughter thought of her friend who is a school nurse. Sometimes kids come to school not just hungry, but dirty. This nurse gives them things to help remedy that. Sherry thought that she could make little hygiene kits out of these little bottles of things, kits that might appeal to the recipients and after counting and sorting, she and one of her sisters-in-law went out to the local drug store to buy toothbrushes and toothpastes to supplement and then they all had fun making a dozen hygiene kits using ziplock bags.  It was what she could do, and she involved others.

My circle sister who also is a school nurse asked us one autumn if we would bring in sweatpants and sweatshirts for her to give to kids who are cold. We brought them, and we brought socks and underpants, too. And the circle regularly, twice each year, supports a local agency that provides clothing for a local clinic to distribute to moms of infants, moms who don't have the means to supply their babies with everything they need. While most of the circle moms are grandmothers who have ready access to outgrown clothing, we also enjoy shopping for little things either at the rummage sale or in the store. I make sure there are a couple of baby quilts included in each semi-annual ingathering. It's what I can do.

This morning, after reading Susan's blog and the article she shared, it occurs to me that when I hear of a need, I do what I can. The next step, of course, is to not just hear of needs, but to seek them out and to be ready to respond. To make an extra baby quilt. To pick up a toothbrush at the grocery store every now and again, to have on hand for the next time we make hygiene kits. To ask my circle sister how we can help her kids this year. To do what we can.



14 comments:

Susan Heydt said...

Loving this, and you.

As I use an electric toothbrush, I have quite the collection of free toothbrushes from the dentist. Perhaps I shall contribute same to your cause, as I travel less frequently to secure the hotel soaps.

Lori said...

Thanks for helping people see the need!
'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

cityquilter grace said...

that is true compassion in action....to serve and uplift..the greatest example of love demonstrated to us by one without sin....

stitchinpenny said...

So tough, I do what I can. There have been times when it wasn't appreciated, but one time when a child smiles makes up for it. Never forget if you do an angel tree and they ask for an outfit that 6 pairs of underwear and socks always help and the charity won't throw them away. The shoe box donations at Easter and start of school here are always a way to help. Sometimes I eel bad that the only time I can give to the parents is Christmas.

Ms. Jan said...

I love this!

Synthia said...

Our church deacons provide needed clothing for children to an elementary school in our town in Oregon. It has been amazing to me how great the need has been because my children are grown and I have had no personal contact with the schools for a long time. It makes me so happy that we are able help.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Schools and county social workers see children living in conditions that most folks would never imagine. You doing what you can is amazing. Every little bit helps. I know that kids appreciate it.

Janet O. said...

Great post. What a difference it would make if everyone had your vision.

Susan Duffy said...

Wonderful that others are bringing attention to a despicable child poverty problem in Philadelphia and many cities in the US. Thank God for all of the teachers, nurses and other school staff who continue to fight the good fight!

Barbara Anne said...

Amen and amen.

Hugs!

LizA. said...

Wonderful post -- it made me think about what else I can do. Our church collects certain foods, snacks, fruit cups etc. and bags them up with a little bit of everything. These are then distributed every Friday to the local schools where they are given out to the neediest kids so they have something nourishing to eat over the weekend. Our community has a large Latino population that works in the orchards and are barely subsisting.

Ray said...

Such a wonderful reminder and post!

Judy Bergeson said...

Our church's Backpack Ministry provides food for 17 school children to eat over each weekend. We added caps & mittens & socks & hygiene items as fall wore on. It feels good but also feels not enough. No child in our beloved country should be hungry.

Sarah said...

I believe it contributes to our happiness and well being when we help others with theirs. Your post reminds me of this. In Australia we too often overlook poverty within our own country to help others in countries far away. My husband found an organisation which supports the educational outcomes of needy children in Australia and we are supporting a student through them. It's rewarding to read her letters and see her progress at school.