Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What If You Couldn't Provide......

What if you couldn't provide the BASIC needs for your children?? As school starts back tomorrow, I can't help but be SICKENED by the drastic difference between MY CHILDREN and CHILDREN just RIGHT DOWN THE STREET!!! As I've prepared for weeks by buying new school shoes, buying "just the perfect" backpack for each of my children, picking out the perfect "first day" outfit, and buying ENDLESS amounts of school supplies......THERE are children, LOTS OF CHILDREN, right down the street that WON'T even have their basic needs met to start school tomorrow...THESE CHILDREN LIVE AT THE NASHVILLE HOMELESS SHELTER.....THESE CHILDREN ARE HOMELESS!!! BUT THANKS TO THESE TWO WOMEN:.... there are 60 something HOMELESS children that will proudly carry a back pack FILLED with the necessary supplies into their school tomorrow!! Imagine HOW AWFUL and EMBARRASSING it is to a TEEN to write down the address of the NASHVILLE HOMELESS SHELTER when "asked" your address on all your forms!!! Imagine the reality that these children have been filling out their own forms since they learned to write because their parent is ILLITERATE!! This is the truth and hard reality for LOTS of these children!! Not ONLY do they live at a shelter...but they MUST arrive at school on the FIRST day EMPTY HANDED!! THIS HAS BEEN HAPPENING FOR YEARS....that is UNTIL ORDINARY HERO stepped up to fill that GAP!!
And...above is the CREW from Ordinary Hero arriving at the Women's Shelter this evening!!! It was amazing to witness the HUGE amounts of backpacks arriving...each with a child's name on it..ready to be handed out!! ALL these backpacks put together and donated by LOVING families around our community that VOLUNTEERED to step up and HELP these children that DIDN'T ask to be IN THE SITUATION they find themselves in!! My kids have made several trips with me to the local Target to get ready for this "BACK PACK PROJECT" night!! We bought and stuffed 11 backpacks...ALL personally stuffed with supplies by my older three kiddos!! Daddy announced that WHILE I went to the shelter to hand out backpacks..he'd take anyone that wanted to celebrate school starting the next day TO CHUCKY CHEESE for dinner!! (note: our family is too large for this ONE room they have to hold all the children and volunteers..so only one of us goes with WHOEVER wants to go) So, I assumed ONCE Daddy announced HIS CHOICE for dinner..that I wouldn't have any "takers" for the backpack project....BUT I WAS OVERJOYED when my oldest, 8 yr. old Helen, announced she'd RATHER go with me to hand out the back packs she had stuffed!!! Yayyyy....So...Daddy took 3 to the OLD Chucky Place...and I took Helen and LL with me!! (LL doesn't get a say in the matter yet...she still must stay with Momma at all times :) PICTURED ABOVE: My Helen working hard unloading backpacks from the cars!!
Her maturity AT 8 just melts my heart sometimes....She played so well with all the other kids and helped the little ones do crafts and such too!! BUT I so wish I had my camera in hand when we actually started handing out the backpacks. She took one and walked across the room and handed it to another 3rd grade girl...A girl just her age...a girl that thinks and feels NO DIFFERENTLY than my child....My Helen handed this girl her new backpack and the little girl's mom quickly reminded her to say "thank you" and she did with a shy little smile!! I couldn't help but think about the drastic different lives these two little girls the exact same age must live!! AND...for one moment in time...they came together...and helped ONE ANOTHER!! That little girl will probably never remember my daughter...but I can promise that my daughter will forever remember her!! And, in her prayers tonight...we prayed that THAT little girl will have a GREAT first day of school tomorrow ...and that she'll fit right in and look just like everybody else!!! :) More backpacks kept arriving from volunteers....which kept the kids busy unloading!!!! The volunteers kept arriving...and before too long...the shelter room WAS PACKED AND HOT!!
Above....these are the FACES of homeless children in Nashville!!! Two little sisters anxiously awaiting their new backpacks to be handed to them!! All this is bittersweet....the kids are thankful, sweet and kind....but the truth is....they are embarrassed!! The little ones don't really get it....but man...anyone above the kindergarten age GETS IT!! They "get" that they live in a shelter...they get that complete strangers are buying their school supplies...And as happy and grateful as they are....deep down...the embarrassment shows!!! And, I hurt for them....
above...this brother sister pair LOVED their new backpacks...but they quickly hid when they saw the LOCAL news crew arrive...NONE of the teens wanted to be filmed...and who could blame them.....They asked me to take a picture of them with their mother though:

But she couldn't even look at the camera......The reality is: HOMELESSNESS HURTS!!!
This mom above was very proud of her twin boys...they loved their new backpacks too....beautiful children!!



above...more kids doing crafts while waiting for the backpacks to be handed out!!

This mom and her twins starting kindergarten broke my heart!! I don't know her story..I don't know why she must live at the shelter with her BEAUTIFUL twins...but it is her reality right now!! I looked in her eyes and chatted with her...and I KNOW this is NOT what she wants for her children....BUT at least they have backpacks and rest maps and can start kindergarten tomorrow with all the necessary supplies now!!


above, My Helen kept busy all night with her buddy from school Abigail...such sweet little friends helping those less fortunate!!


And, LL was worn out by the end of the night.....actually she was just glad I finally put her down...I basically handed out back packs and took pictures ALL with LL on my hip all night!! As the place cleared some..she finally could get down to play!!!
***So, my other kids had fun at the BIG CHEESE RAT place with Daddy...but I know HELEN learned the most from the night!! She and I talked about it the entire way home!! As I explained that God has blessed our family and HE expects us to ALWAYS give back and help those in NEED...I could see in her eyes that she "gets it"!! And, I pray she (and my other kids) always GET IT...and they'll grow up and live their lives being ORDINARY HERO'S for those in need whether across the ocean OR right in their own back yard!!!

**And..a huge THANK YOU to our friend Bev (pictured at the top with my sister Kelly) who ORGANIZED the entire night!! Kelly could never pull off these HUGE projects with out the help of her ORDINARY HERO crew of helpers!! So, thanks Bev!! The night was amazing!!!
***Happy Wednesday to you all, kj

13 comments:

  1. My first year teaching a student came with a Wal-Mart bag because he had no backpack. This was a 7th grader and it was so heartbreaking because he knew and so did the other kids. Awesome work Ordinary hero is doing!

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  2. What amazing work Ordinary Hero is doing. And what wonderful life lessons for Helen.
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
    Kim

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  3. This is a wonderful post and a tremendous project.

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  4. This is a great example of not just "wishing them well" or a "God bless you", but actually meeting their physical needs--In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead James 21:17 What a joy to see this lived out!!

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  5. What a wonderful idea! I'm sure it was an invaluable experience for your daughter, too. Thanks for all of your efforts!

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  6. I have tears in my eyes as I read this! What an amazing project and I love that so many kids were there helping kids! Thank you for your words and your heart!

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  7. I get inspired everyday by your posts, Thank you!

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  8. what a amazing project to be a part of. it challenged me to look in those faces. so good to remember that "the homeless" are not a faceless, nameless category, but REAL people. glad you got to meet some of them and help their sweet kids. and that your kids got to be a part of it too, especially julia.

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  9. How precious. Touching lives of those precious children without a home, while teaching your daughter the most important mission we could have as Chrisitans! Priceless!

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  10. Wow! What a blessed event. And what a HUGE heart your Helen has! I have a feeling she will be forever changed from that night.

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  11. Beautiful witness of sharing His heart beginning for Jerusalem onto Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth!!
    Precious Helen!! Love that child!!

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  12. O'Kristy....an amazing post. I had shivers and tears running down my face as I read this. How wonderful of you all to help out. It just melts my heart:)

    Karen, WI

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Thank you for your kind words!!