Growing up, I watched my mom help people in any way that she could. As a single mother of three and an immigrant, she didn’t always have a lot of money or time but she made sure to give with a willing heart.
She’d cook huge pots of Liberian food, dividing up the portions to send to friends and loved ones. She was always sending money to family members or people back in our country to help them make ends meet. The few times I asked her why she’d do this, she’d simply reply, “Because it’s the right thing to do,” or “It’s the Christian thing to do.” She’d bag up our clothes and shoes once we out grew them and send them in barrels back to West Africa along with new school supplies, toiletries and whatever else she could afford. She instilled a sense of gratitude in me that I carry to this day. On my worse day, I’m still immensely blessed.
That desire to help others inspired me to give back during this holiday season. Last week, I reached out to two homeless shelters and signed up to adopt 6 families for the holidays.
When I initially told some of my friends they thought I was a bit wonky. “Why SIX Families?!?” They bellowed fearing I was taking on yet another massive project. I knew I wouldn’t be in it alone. From the beginning, I reached out to friends and family. They answered with the love and compassion I knew they would.
In a week we raised over $550 to buy gifts for the families. From upstate New York to around the corner, friends sent monetary donations and ordered gifts for in store pick up. It was amazing. Twice, I was so overwhelmed by the generosity that I found myself misty eyed.
After hours of shopping, (thanks for the help Mr. AD) we finally had all of the goodies the kiddos requested.
I spent about 4.5 hours wrapping all the gifts and putting together spa bags for the mommas. It took a lot of tape and even more patience. Once they were done, I took my work kiddos along with me for drop off on Thursday.
My heart was so full. I just want to thank everyone who donated to this. With the exception of one donation, all donations were $30 or less. It just goes to show when we all do a little we can make a big difference. And to think we only had a week! I can only image the kind of impact we may have had if I had started at the beginning of the month!
If you’d like to help, please feel free to reach out to Helping Hands Shelter or Stepping Stones Shelter both bases in Rockville Maryland. Their staffs work tirelessly to support families with transitional housing. While many shelters only provide services to single mothers, Stepping Stones provides services for entire families, including dads. There are volunteer opportunities all year long for those willing to give back. Their contact info is below.
Helping Hands Shelter
622 N. Horner Lane,
Stepping Stones Shelter
1070 Copperstone Court
Rockville, MD 20852