Curt went to Haiti in June. He went again two weeks ago. I know I need to write about his trip. It’s on my list and I hope to get to it soon - right after I blog about my daughter’s 7th birthday in March. OY!
Anyway, his trips have been a catalyst for some great discussion with the kids. We have seen God softening our kids’ hearts to the Haitian people and it is so beautiful. Paige made a visor at school and told me, “Mom, when Todd goes back to Haiti maybe he can take the visor I made at V week at school and give it a Haiti kid so the sun doesn’t get in their eyes. Cause isn’t it sunny there? And hot? A Haiti kid would need my visor more than me.” She does have a point about the lack of sun this winter in Oregon…
All the kids have mentioned wanting to go to Haiti. When I asked them how they would be helpful, they all acted insulted and then rattled off a million things they would do to serve. “Play with the kids, bring toys, clothes and shoes, MAYBE help build houses (that was Grant), brush their hair, give them food, hug them, hold their babies (guess who said that one) and give them Starbursts.” There’s not a lot of grunt work they can do at their age, but they know what they can give. Love. Time. Toys. Clothes.
We sat our little crew down and told them how much we admired their compassion and zeal to serve. Then we pointed out that they don’t have to travel around the world to serve poor and broken people. They can serve the down-and-out right here in Newberg. We agreed to do one service project a month as a family, serving people in Newberg who need our help.
We contacted Love Inc., a non-profit organization that “helps churches help people.” Curt asked for projects that our family could do together and they connected us to two families needing help. One family needed help cleaning out and organizing their home. Another family needed help moving. The kids packed boxes, hauled garbage, played with the kids in each family, and took load after load after load of stuff from one apartment to the next. They were so energized to be serving families and super excited to realize they went to school with one of the girls we helped.
Another idea we had was to make homeless kits. I can’t take credit for the idea. I heard about it a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) meeting in February. The speakers were talking about raising compassionate kids. They introduced the idea of pre-made homeless kits, kept in their car, to pass out when they see a homeless person begging. I loved the idea! I got the list of what to put in the packets, Curt did the shopping, and this weekend we laid out the supplies on the dining room table.
On Easter Sunday we gathered the kids around the table and Curt explained the project to them. They eyeballed all the supplies before starting and asked a few questions about why we chose to include certain items. The last item was a crossword puzzle book and the kids made sure to grab pens (we didn’t think of that) so the recipients could actually use their book.
Before they assembled the kits, Katie raised her hand and asked, “Where’s the Bible?” Curt and I didn’t immediately catch on to what she was asking and gave her the glazed-over blank stare. She repeated, “Where’s the Bible? You gave them a crossword puzzle book but isn’t a Bible more important? Don’t we want them to know about Jesus and how much He loves them?” WOW. All I can say is wow. I plan to head to the Christian book store to buy some backpack sized Bibles to add to our homeless kits that now sit ready and waiting to pass out.
Here are the instructions of what to include. I hope you’ll consider making these as well.
- Travel size shampoo and conditioner
- Bar of soap
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Canned ready-to-eat meals (beanie weenies, ravioli, chicken salad, tuna salad, soup)
- Bottle of water
- Snacks (peanut butter crackers, granola bar, juice box, gum, chocolate, hot chocolate, apple sauce, or pudding cups)
- Wet wipes
- Small activity book like crossword, word search or sudoko
- Pen or pencil
- Stamped envelope and piece of paper
- Plastic rain parka
- Travel-sized Bible