Wednesday, May 25, 2005

June 2005: Project Pencils 2005

It's time to start collecting school supplies for the children who live in foster care or poverty-stricken communities. We were fortunate to receive an extremely generous donation from an anonymous donor which will allow us to expand our reach in soliciting donations from local corporations and churches in our collection effort. It appears that Assumption Church in Morristown is going to help us again. Also, we may have recruited the Methodist Church to assist in our efforts. Several corporations agreed to do small drives and the Market Street Mission is helping us one more time for our local people in need.

I must admit that I'm still exhausted. The last holiday season really burned me out. I am slowly getting remotivated now that I've received letters and photos from the new KY community. It's hard to give, give, give and receive no appreciation. The anonymous donor also helped re-motivate me. Their letter was so kind in acknowledging the good that we/I do. A little appreciation really goes a long way. Otherwise, you begin to feel taken advantage of...such as last year at our Project Pencil giveaway when one man sent children in from the street to collect dozens of backpacks so that he could sell them in his local community! We now have worked out methods to avoid similar situations but, that type of action really hurts my enthusiasm to help.

Anne Marie, one of my friends, ran a huge garage sale with items from her days as Miss Delaware and a contestant in the Miss America pagent. The idea was to raise money for Focus America. She wound up selling most of her goods at ridiculously low prices to women from the very communities that Focus America helps! She noted that the women paid for most of their goods with crisp 100 dollar bills! Ironic, isn't it?

I'll get it back. The coal-mining community is in such need that I know they will not take advantage of goods that are shipped out to them. And I know that the children need the school supplies. The money saved by the parents who really need the supplies can buy food or clothing for the children. We are just going to downscale our collections a bit in order to focus on providing the children who really need the goods, vs. a massive giveaway.

May 2005: New Community to Adopt

A new community has contacted me. This community is located in the coal mining region of Kentucky. The organization that is acting as the liaison is Manna from Heaven. I asked them to send photos and they did. Ironically, for well over three years, I've been asking Pembroke to send photos and have received nothing. Well, the KY community is in bad shape. People live in houses that are literally falling down around them. Cinder blocks are the front steps, doors are barely on hinges, roofs are rusted or full of holes, walls are rotted, you name it.

In one house, there are two adults and four children living in a two bedroom shack. Since this is the coal mining region, there are really no jobs for people. Simply coal mining and that's it. I looked up the community on a satellite website and it is so remote...on top of a ridge with one road leading up to it. Very isolated and, unlike Pembroke, completely neglected and unknown to the general public.

I did send one box of clothing out to them so far. I want to encourage as many people as possible to package up clothing and mail it to this organization. But, if they do, they should label the box with the contents (i.e. clothing for a 3 year old girl, coats for children, etc.). I'll make certain to add them to our school supply and holiday drives. They really need it. These children have nowhere to go and no way to escape. There are always pockets of poverty in every community but this community simply IS poverty. So, we will continue helping out our local families but I'm adding this little community into our circle. I cannot help them all but...even a little bit goes a long way.