One day last spring, the lady who does local marketing for my husband’s restaurant came back from an event she’d done at an elementary school and told me a story about one of the little girls who had been there. She was a little tiny thing, very sweet and well mannered, and she stood out from the rest of the kids there that day. When Rikki asked the principal about her, she was shocked to find out that the little girl was homeless. She came to school from the shelter every day. It was a heartbreaking story.
At that moment, Rikki and I decided we were going to…do something. We weren’t sure what we could do, and school was just about out for the summer, so we took some time to think about it. Rikki came up with a great idea, and a few nights last week she collected donations from the restaurant staff. The money would go toward buying each of the kids currently staying in the homeless shelter a new shirt for the first day of school.
On Tuesday, we took all the money raised, and some of our own, and headed to Old Navy. We managed to get in touch with a very sweet lady who worked with the kids in the shelter, and she gave us a list of all their names, ages, and what size they wore. It was so much fun picking out something special for each child on the list.
We didn’t wrap the shirts, but put each one in a colorful gift bag with the child’s name on it, and headed down to the shelter. When we arrived, a beautiful little girl met us just inside the door. She had seen us unloading the rainbow of bags from the car, and wanted to know what they were. Rikki told her they were gifts. “Who are they for?” she asked. Rikki replied that they were for kids. In a meek, heart-wrenching voice, she asked, “Is there one for me?” In my head I was panicking. What if the lady had forgotten to tell us about this little girl? What if her name wasn’t on a bag? I was so relieved when Rikki asked her name, and I recognized it as one from our list.
That little girl’s face absolutely lit up when I pulled out the red bag with her name on it. I can’t even tell you what I felt in that moment. We spent $10 on a new shirt, and it made a difference in one little angel’s day. We didn’t get to see any of the other kids, but that one little smile made it all so worthwhile.
How do you make a difference in your community? Is there anything you aren’t currently involved in, but would like to be?
***I have no affiliation with Old Navy. We bought all the shirts with donations from our staff.