Monday, January 13, 2014

Do Good.

As most of you are aware, I haven't gotten off on the best foot with my New Year's weight loss resolution (my friend's cheesecake was the first in a number of stumbling blocks), so instead of obsessing over the slow start I decided to put that on the back burner for now and refocus my efforts on my resolution to help others instead. After a two week break from the food pantry volunteering (it was closed), it was nice to get back this past Thursday and see everyone again - happy and re-energized. This past year I focused strictly on the organized volunteering, both at the pantry and occassionally at Kid's Kloset, but as many regular readers might know in year's past I used to take on "do-good" projects all on my own. Past do-good projects included a diaper drive, care packages and letters for soldiers, Project Night Night (good night bags for children in shelters), New Eyes for the Needy (used glasses for the poor) and Soles4Souls (used shoes for the poor).

As part of my resolution I decided that (as in year's past) I'd take on some new do-good projects and I've decided 2014's first will be...drumroll please...We Care Kits. In doing online research to select a project I found Hope Ministries, a faith-based organization based in Iowa that has been serving the homeless since 1915. Part and parcel of the many programs and services that they offer those in need includes three shelters (Bethel Mission, Door of Faith, and Hope Family Center) which means they have year-round need for basic hygiene products for their guests. The We Care Kit serves as a welcome bag/gift for new homeless or displaced guests at their shelters; by helping provide these essentials those who donate are making a direct positive impact on those struggling in our communities - men, women and children. In addition to the supplies in each kit, Hope Ministries also asks each person making a kit to include a note offering a few words of encouragement. The website states "while the hygiene items are tangibly beneficial, your words of encourage and inspiration lift up the spirits of our residents - some even carry the notes with them for months to come."

I searched for a comparable local program without much success, but in all honesty I'm not really concerned about the location as most of my other do-good projects were also shipped near and far. Ultimately, we are all God's children and as such part of an extended family scattered throughout the world. Whether I'm helping a New Yorker, Iowan or Filipino (as with Typhoon Haiyan), the where doesn't matter, just the need. I've set a goal for myself of assembling 15 bags - five each for men, women and children. Once I have all my supplies, I'll take some pics of my assembled bags and let you know when they're on their way.

What better way to help someone wash away some of the sorrows of yesterday, than to literally help them clean away the dirt from the streets and have a fresh start. God willing, the added knowledge that someone cares, even if a thousand miles away helps in some small way to lighten their load and make them feel a little less alone.

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." ~William Penn