About two years ago I was putting in some time here and there in to support my best friend’s non-profit organization. Orphans, foster kids, and adoptive families were our charity target. I met an amazing mom who had adopted out of the local foster care system and spent her time organizing the foster office’s clothing closet. Meeting her opened my eyes to the foster care world. I had no idea (nor had I ever put much thought into) where children whisked from their homes in an emergency situation found clothing, toiletries and school supplies. The closet was emptied frequently and only slowly refilled. Kids had to use trash bags to transport their belongings from home to home. There is a constant, open-ended need for donations to these closets. And this problem is likely in your town, too.
So in February of 2014, as I was at home raising an 8-year-old, two three-year-olds and a toddler, I was bored and had too much energy (said no mom ever). Valentine’s Day was coming up and I had a son in school. I was thinking of ways to get his class to not pass around tons of junk food and social trauma to each other and instead do something to love on the less fortunate.
I decided to do a charity drive for the foster care closet.
Side note: not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I think it’s a corporate holiday, makes plenty of hurtful or awkward situations, encourages empty consumerism and really benefits no one but the card, chocolate and flower industries. Happy Valentine’s Day.
I was of course terrified and anxious. Putting myself out there for possible community-wide rejection was not easy. What if I failed at getting any donations, or the donation drop-off site locations said no. What if someone put something super gross or disturbing in there?! What if someone stole the donation box? Oh, I had plenty of things to make me say “You know what? Forget it. Maybe someone else will do it.”
1 Thessalonian’s 1:3 says “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus called us all, even me, to do his work on earth. We are his hands and feet. It was my sincere faith in God’s ability to bring healing and hope to these children and the people caring for them that inspired me in the first place. I wanted them to see first-hand the love God has for them. They matter, just as Jesus proved by his sacrifice on the cross. But if I do nothing, and the Christian next to me does nothing, and so on, how will His love be shown?
There was a big surprise for me when it was all over. Check back next week to see what happened!