I have wanted to do something with the kids at the church I am attending. I wanted to a craft or something interesting for them to take home for Christmas. I was told they were not going to do anything for the kids; I figured I could make a craft with them and have a little party at the same time. The very next week I go to church to find they have changed the date I was supposed to do the craft to an earlier date and now they are having a party for a the kids the Saturday before Christmas. Darn it, I just wrote out the invitations the night before. So, I go ahead and do the crafts with the kids ( which they loved!).
That night we have our monthly community meal and some members from another church are there and I am introduced to them. (I’ll call my church lady J) J introduces me and is telling them about the craft I did with the kids. The ladies from the other church offer to come and help with the party (which at this point I am still sulking and silently decided I want nothing to do with it). So J is gushing about how fabulous it is going to be and how I have come up with 5-6 crafts for the kids for the party. WHAT? Where the heck did that come from?
There is nothing I hate more than being volunteered to do something without being told, asked or at least being warned. I was sitting there with the look of a deer in headlights, what could I say? I didn’t want to embarrass J, so I’m like, yeah... 5 or 6. The other church lady I’ll call G is so excited, she offers to bring some other members of her church over to help. Oh my God!! Feeling trapped, I’m looking for any exit to get away from this table. How did I get roped into 5-6 games for a party I wasn’t planning on going to because my feelings were hurt. I’ve always had a problem saying no. Since I wanted to do something with the kids I guess I’m okay with it.
Last Sunday I had a meeting with J about the party. The pastor was supposed to be there, but he doesn’t show up for anything but Sunday service, then he is out! Part time employee, I guess that’s how he looks at it.. nothing extra. So, anyhow she and I are discussing plans for the party, the presents, games, and crafts. She then tells me she is having surgery the next day and will be out of commission for about a week or more. She is looking to me to pretty much plan and pull this thing off. I’ll get to the kicker and best part in a minute.
We received 2 huge boxes of toys from the Toys for Tots program. We also received donations for G’s church of toys and 15 huge bags of clothes, socks, underwear, gloves etc. Unfortunately there are no clothes for girls, toddlers or infants. There are also only about 20 toys for girls, again nothing for toddler or infants. J has asked the other church if they can maybe help out with balancing things out. I will say it’s a little weird to be in a church that is a charity for another church. It is a very small church in a very poor neighborhood and more than half the members are 75+ years old and have been going to this church 50+years. There is no choir, no Sunday school, no youth activites. I am trying to do something to help the kids who attend as well as reach out to the kids in the neighborhood generally.
Be the change you want to see. In this neighborhood, these kids have absentee parents, drug and alcohol dependant parents, grandmothers who are tired and worn out raising them. These kids see everyday what the weight of being poor does to a person. They see no way out, they have no one to show them there is good, and there is a way. I am one person, but I firmly believe that if you lead, they will follow the example set before them. There is one particular girl who is right up on me, every time I turn around she is there. She just wants to talk, she is thirsty for attention. She is 11. As my grandmother would say, she is on me like white on rice!
On Monday I spent the whole day at the church alone wrapping presents. I accidently set off the alarm, how embarrassing! I spent 8 hours and wrapped a total of 127 presents. I assigned each one a number, description, age and whether boy or girl. On Wednesday I went back and catalogued all the clothes and wrapped more toys. I spent a few hours wrapping socks, underwear, hats and gloves. So as right now there is a total of 142 toys and 47 of the socks etc.
I now have to come up with not only crafts, but also games for the kids to play. J said 10 and younger, although I don’t know how that will work since most of the kids who come to church are between 11 and 17. She told me to expect 50+ kids. Wowser! Games and crafts for 50+ kids. I am not Annie Sullivan!! I am no miracle worker. I personally had planned to give the kids little gift bags.. when I thought it was going to be 15-20 kids. Nothing special really a brown lunch sack I decorated, a small trinket like an eraser, pencils or small toy, and some homemade cookies and perhaps an apple or orange. Now I have made approx 70 bags and I don’t think I will be able to afford the apples or oranges. That’s a lotta cookies! I started making them yesterday. I have 10 days to make umpty dump dozen cookies, finish with the presents and clothes, figure out crafts, games and decorations! All while still attending to my family, cooking meals, baking cookies for home and crocheting scarves for the homeless shelter. Ugh, and helping out at the food pantry at the church. On top of it all, I am still foster a mother cat and her 3 kittens who are needy and need to be fed every 4 hours or so. I am tired!!