Happy December friends!!
I am so excited to be writing you again so soon because I need your help! Remember that time I said I was going to “hit send and go for a run?” Well, I did. Then I waited. I waited some more. Then, all at once 4 big needs came across along with a couple of smaller ones and IT’S HAPPENING!
You guys looked around your lives, saw some needs and took the time to stop and write and let us know about them. (I don’t think it was a coincidence that all 4 of them came in right after Thanksgiving. Gratitude does that).
So here we go!! Just like before, I have no idea how many of you are going to respond or want to help and so I have no idea where this is going to go but we are just going to “go” with it! J Here’s the plan: I’m going to list the 4 main giving options below with a little info about each as well as suggested ways to help. In each situation I have a local contact “on the ground” whose honesty, reliability and heart for giving I can 100% vouch for as I know each of them personally. If there is a particular opportunity that really speaks to you, what I’d love for you to do is either reply on the blog here, send me an email or a Facebook message and let me know that you are “in”, which opportunity you’d love to help with, and an email for communication. I’ll get back to you ASAP with further instructions for getting things where they need to go and we’ll get these needs taken care of!
1. Hope House:
Hope House is a non-profit that meets the needs of the homeless in Hattiesburg, MS. The most updated info can be found on their Facebook page below. My dad and step-mom are very involved with Hope House and are there at least twice weekly providing food, clothes, needed items, words of encouragement and hope to those who come each week or are just passing through. I have spent time there myself and I can tell you that they are providing wonderful services but the need is so great. Tragically, last week, the house resident manager who was a kind and devoted man was murdered on the grounds of Hope House. As you can imagine, the layers of sadness around this are especially hard during the holidays/winter when there is such great need for both practical items and kind hearts. The greatest needs at Hope House are warm sleeping bags, tents and backpacks. Lights, flashlights and watches are also in great need and while not “basic necessities” they provide necessary functions in many ways. If you are drawn to help meet these needs, let me know and I’ll give you more options/details/info!
2. Mom supporting family of 5:
I haven’t seen my friend Penny since high school but she has a beautiful heart and noticed a need of a family in her local community. The family tragically lost their son/husband/father unexpectedly just months ago and they are struggling to meet even the bare necessities of life for the 5 of them (mom, daughter-in-law and three young children including the 4 month old baby that was born after the father’s death). They are living in a space smaller than most of us could imagine and this Christmas will bring much sadness and stress as they have great needs and very little money. There is a need for diapers, for warm clothes and shoes, for Christmas gifts for the children. Grocery cards, gas cards, and other necessities would also likely be most welcome. If this need touches your heart, let me know and I’ll send you more info/details/options.
3. African Refugees:
The next need comes from my dear sister-friend Ashley in Kansas. I’ll let you hear from her own words:
“It’s recently come to my attention that there is a community of African refugees living close to us. Their need is so great. One family I met consists of a widowed mother with 7 kids. They live in a tiny house in downtown Dayton and have close to nothing. The mother speaks very little English, the kids are behind in school (because of the language barrier), and social services is helping, but not enough. The mom is terrified to leave her children with anyone because of the things they’ve been through, and this is just one story of several. There is a sweet lady in my church who is investing herself in their lives, but she is becoming exhausted. I asked if Kroger gift cards would be good, but they don’t have a way to the store. So on top of grocery gift cards, they need money for public transportation. (The oldest son has to pay $37/month to ride the city bus to school) They also need training in English so mom can get a job. We can provide the friendship and community she needs to learn to trust others, but we can’t provide for all of their material needs. And like I said, this is just one family of several.”
You guys?! Food, transportation cards, clothes, money to take English classes, babysitters, utility bills? Could we provide a Christmas feast for the whole community? Could we bring gifts to all the children? I think we are only limited here by our imaginations! If this story speaks to you, email me and let’s talk about options/details/ways to help meet at least some of these very basic needs we all take for granted!
4. Hospital beds for Ethiopian hospital:
This next request for a basic and desperate need comes from my dear friend Julie who currently lives with her family in Soddo Ethiopia where her husband Dave is the Pediatrician in the hospital there. What Dave (and his family) face and do on a daily basis in the medical sense is completely humbling and overwhelming to me at times and I have been so grateful to be a part of supporting the work they do there. Julie wrote just this morning with a specific and life-giving need for clean/sanitary hospital beds. Can you imagine going into the hospital for surgery, illness or the birth of your baby and seeing that your bed has a torn and filthy mattress, with a plastic covering that is no better? There is no way to clean or cover the stains, dirt or ripped materials and there are no other options. This is not even within the realm of imagination for most of us and yet this is the “normal” for patients in Ethiopia. The risk of infection and further illness is exponential and in a place where things are already stacked against health and recovery from illness at baseline. This is a 120-bed hospital and for $75 the beds can be completely replaced with clean and sanitary ones. What about it? Could we provide 10% of these? A quarter? HALF of them??? If this is a need that speaks to you, send me an email saying you’re “in” to help and I’ll send you more details!
There are a few other single needs that have come in including:
-replacing a tire for a single mom of one and baby-on-the-way who is driving on a spare tire in Wisconsin winter weather
– a pair of running shoes for someone who would love to be able to exercise for mental and physical health
If these speak to you, let me know and I’ll give you details on how to help! Also, if your time and schedule work better with easy options, Target/Wal-Mart or amazon gift certificates can be used to purchase much of what each of these groups needs. You can drop those off to me (or I can pick them up) and I will make sure they get to the place they can be best used!
Ok- you guys, let’s do it!!
Let’s celebrate Christmas and all we have by reaching out from our abundance to help others who need some helping hands this holiday season. I can’t wait to see what we can do together!!
(Remember: send me an email, Facebook message or reply to the blog with which opportunity you’d like to help with and an email to contact you with!)
with much holiday love and excitement!