Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful to be able to Give

We have had a couple opportunities this season to help out those who are less fortunate then ourselves. While we don't have much, I feel it is important for my boys to realize there are people with less than we have. Also that there are many ways we can help out even though we can't give a monetary donation.

The boys participated in Scouting for Food through the cub scouts and handed out donation bags to approximately 300 house, which the families of those houses could donate food items and the scouts would come pick up from their porches the following weekend. We were going to help collected whichever bags that had been placed upon the porches, but thought we'd give the other scouts who hadn't passed out bags the chance to help out.

Again through the scouts, they were able to participate with Operation Christmas Child, bringing in some items to be added to the "shoeboxes". While I  wanted to take the lead and tell them what to donate, I stepped back and allowed them to choose what they thought the children would like to receive. They were very thoughtful about their choices and had thought of some things that I had not. Last night they attempted to help with the "shoebox" filling. I goofed what time we needed to there to help; they were only there for the tail end of project but folded some shoeboxes and made some cards to donate to the senior living center.

We also started part one of our bucket list item -Donate to a local pantry- and went shopping. Again I wanted the boys to be the center of this activity and hung back so they could make their own choices. I was just there to supervise in the store and to pay the bill. They all grabbed their own shopping carts and were given a set amount they could spend. They were thrifty looking for sale items, so they could purchase more things. Jordan remember that a few years back when we received help from the pantry that there weren't many of things geared toward children and there were no "treats". All the boys made a point of grabbing the kid cereal or fruit snacks. They also added a "treat" either brownie mix, hot chocolate packets, or a bag of cookies. Joey had a valid point that every one likes to have a snack, and they usually only get just the healthy stuff they need. They were thoughtful about what they put in their carts, if it wasn't something they would eat, they weren't going to give it to someone else. (Comment from Jordan "How many people really eat canned creamed corn?"). They made a point of either picking things that would go together to make a complete meal or choosing things that could be stretched for more than one meal. Once they thought they were close to there total, we headed to the checkouts where they rang up and bagged their own orders. They found out pretty quickly that $25 isn't much money even if you buy things on sale. They had to think about which items they really wanted to keep and what needed to be put back on the shelves.

Part two- Donate to a local pantry- dropping off the food items. We set up an appointment with our pantry to drop off the items. After school and practice we meet up with some people to drop off our items. The boys unloaded their donations and carried them to the back room where they'll get sorted and stocked on the shelves. The gentlemen thanked the boys for their generous contributions and my by glowed with pride. When we were in the van, Jacob said he didn't feel like he did enough to help, all he did was bring some food. We talked about how every little bit helps and someone will love receiving the item the brought in.

A few years back, I had just lost my job a month after we moved, and we needed help to make it through a week or two. While the younger ones were too little to remember Jordan does. I am blessed with a very supportive family, but at the time of my need they had just left on a much needed and well deserved vacation out of state. We were grateful that our pantry was able to help us out, after being turned away from a nearby church. It's not one of my proudest moments, but I had a 1.5 year old, 3 year old, and 6 year old I needed to provide for. My cupboards were not completely bare, but we didn't have enough to throw together to make decent meals.We were able to get help with a little more than  bare essentials. The point Joey made about there not being any extras is corrected. My main goal was to get what we absolutely needed until my money ran out, which meant no snacks. When we received a couple packages for fruit snacks it was a wonderful feeling to see their faces light up the little extra they were given. I know from experience what it feels like when you realize you'll barely be able to provide for your family, it was a scary and humbling experience. The people we mainly help through our local pantries are not lazy, unwilling to work people, or people looking for a hand out; they are people who fell on hard times and need a helping hand for a while. Many people never would have suspected that my little family receive help through a pantry, as we have been back on our feet for a while since then.

50.1 million Americans struggle to put food on their tables. While everyone seems to get caught up in the season of giving around the holidays, the needs of other people are there year round. 20 million children receive free or reduced lunch each day at school, when the summer months come it can be very difficult for these families.

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