Friday, July 15, 2005

July 2005: Kentucky Passed the Test

Just a quick note…I received a thank you call from the Pastor in Kentucky. He just passed my test. I had shipped out a few boxes of goods…nothing major. The fact that he called to thank me just elevated him and his community in my book. I had that gut instinct about him. Now I feel much more comfortable in spending the hard earned money that my donors have entrusted to my organization in order to ship goods out to those children living in the coal mining region of Virgie, Kentucky.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

July 2005: First School Supply Collections!

It always amazes me how people find us. The Essex Baptist Church in Livingston reached out to us. They had several large boxes of backpacks for us. I am very grateful for their donation since this kicked off our first official donation for Project Pencils 2005.

I have to admit that I’m disappointed in having to scale back our donations but, I faced the fact that I am a one-woman show at this point. Since I am no longer with the College of St. Elizabeth, my pool of eager college students to run the projects are gone. So much for service learning…Oh well.

The good news is that the programs are still running and helping hundreds of children. I find it amazing how much one person can do. If only we had an army of people helping us. If each person could do what I am doing, no child would return to school without notebooks and pens/pencils…the basic tools to succeed. But at least my wonderful donors are helping those children that I can reach. Yes, it isn’t 1300 children but the 250-300 children we can help will be grateful.

I also have to admit that I made a decision not to assist the day laborer community this year. I know that many of these people need a helping hand. However, I also have to admit that I saw a lot of greed and uncharitable behavior from this particular group. Men sent children into our donation centers for multiple items so that they could sell the items to their friends or send back to their home countries. People lied about how many children they had during our holiday giveaways. When Anne Marie ran her garage sale to raise money, the day laborer women paid her with crisp 100 dollar bills. It made me think that, in scaling back, I need to help the people who do not have money or resources…the children directly.
This required a lot of soul searching on my part. At one point in time, my ancestors were immigrants and struggled in this country. Perhaps that is what more people need…a bit of a struggle to realize that life is not a hand-out. Frankly, a bit of gratitude goes a long way in motivating me to help people so when I don’t get the gratitude or don’t recognize the look of appreciation, my own motivation decreases. I’ve been burned throughout the years and it has been a learning experience. From helping young women try to develop business acumen who later turned on me to recipients of goods who never say Thank You. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

This has truly been the year of assessing where I want to be and where I want to take Focus America.