Monday, December 18, 2006

12/18/06: Mailings and Reality

Just a quick posting that we have mailed almost 1000 lbs. of clothing, coats, and toys to Kentucky and South Dakota. We had wonderful donations from the Morris School District as well as a church in Flanders who donated over 150 coats in exceptional shape! Normally we receive dirty, torn, or worn items that have to be filtered out from the good quality. This church really did a fantastic job of collecting and sorting items.

A sad commentary that I was hit with reality again when a person close to me called me on the phone and was reading an email from a "friend" about a poor family who attended a church service. At the end of the phone conversation, this person was crying about this poor family and what could we do to help them?

At first, I was really angry because these types of families are who we deal with on a daily basis and the very reason why I created Focus America. Then, I felt sorry for the person who called me because this individual doesn't "get" what I do or why I do it. At no time during this holiday season did this person...or any of my other close friends/family (save two special people)...offer to donate, collect, or even assist in the efforts. All of my help came from strangers and children. Isn't that a sad reality?

A long time ago, the founder of Christmas is for Children, a life-long friend, gave me wonderful advice. She told me that not everyone would buy into my desire to help the poor. It's a behind the scenes charity, not one that makes Oprah or the front-page of the New York Times. We roll up our sleeves and do the hard work with little to no glory. No one says to me, "What a great job you do, Shelly!" or sends me thank you notes, for the most part. But I still continue to spend my weekends boxing up 200+ coats, weighing them, labeling them, paying for shipping. No, I don't walk up to the Father at the front of the church in front of the congregation with my shoebox of goodies for the Angel Tree receipient for all of the congregation to comment on what a good Catholic (or Christian) I am. There is no public honor for what we do...except for the knowledge that we are not holiday Christians. We carry forth the good-will and do-good attitude all year long and truly make a difference in people's lives for the right reasons.

A sad ranting but one that is needed from time-to-time...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

12/05/06: Manna from Heaven Shipment

Almost 250 lbs. of clothing, hats/gloves, toys, books, sweaters, and other gifts for the holidays are shipping out tomorrow. Wonderful gifts from Woodland and Thomas Jefferson School in Morristown as well as continued support from friends, family, and corporations such as Sankyo Pharma and BASF. A church in Flanders is dropping off 150 coats on Saturday and more items are still coming in from various individuals.

Big problem now: With 25 boxes shipping today and another 25 or more pending, the cost of shipping these items is going to hurt us financially. Some donors are coming to the rescue but we are depleting our budget for shipping for 2007 so...we may have to reach out for more fund raising options...