Monday, November 28, 2011

The one where charity begins at home...

Right. I know. You're all mad at me and probably no one even reads this blog anymore because I can't be bothered to write it. I'm sorry. *hangs head in shame* But honestly, I'm so busy living...that I don't always have time to write about it. And I don't know whether I can apologize about that.

Anywho, I do owe you guys a blog post about Mike & I's trip to New Orleans, complete with pictures, and I promise that one is coming. But this one is slightly more important.

Lately, I've been feeling ultra-charitable. Don't get me wrong, we've always tried to be charitable, I've tried to raise the kids to appreciate their blessings and give to those less fortunate. I think it worked pretty well, both of them will donate their time to a good cause. Lu cannot pass a Salvation Army bell-ringer without emptying her (and whoever happens to be with her's) pockets of change. We donate old clothes and shoes to the Salvation Army store. We've given away furniture and unused TVs. I recently redecorated the living room and donated all the old decorations.

And in New Orleans? Well, Mike wouldn't let me carry cash because I kept giving it to homeless people. Especially those with dogs. Something about those homeless dogs really got to me. When we got home I started feeling a tug every time a commercial for a non-profit would come on. I started debating the relative merits of donating to UNICEF, ASPCA and the WWF. You've seen the commercials, who can resist those sad eyed children or kittens? And don't even get me started on the tigers... I figured I could spare a little, and there were so many organizations who need help. But then I found a charity closer to home.

I noticed last time that I picked CJ up from his group home that he had some flaky patches on his scalp. We used some head and shoulders shampoo and I bought him a bottle to take back to his house. When I dropped it off, they told me that all the kids had been switched to a body wash/shampoo combo soap. Obviously, it wasn't working for CJ, but I'd bought him new shampoo. When I picked him up this time, I told them I'd bring special shampoo, soap and lotion back for him. We discussed how the new soap wasn't really working for any of them. I couldn't get that out of my head. Some of the boys in CJ's house have toileting issues still. That can't be good for their skin.

When we were driving CJ back to his house after Thanksgiving, I reminded Sean that I had to stop and get CJ some hygiene products. And that while I understood that smaller budgets and dwindling money sources had forced his school into trying to save money where they could, switches like these really bothered me.

"Why don't you buy enough good body wash for all the boys?" Sean asked.

Why didn't I? I talked to one of his aides and asked if that would be a problem or if we'd need special permission for them to use it. She said not as long as it was on the approved list. Whaddya know? Suave body wash for men was on the approved list. And since that's what I buy my guys at home, I figured it's what I'd buy these guys too. She said they'd go through 8-10 bottles a month. I bought one for each boy and got them started. But I'll be sending more their way. Everyone deserves decent soap, shampoo and lotion. Especially those who can't buy it for themselves.

Take a look around you this season and find someone who really needs your help. Pay it forward. I dare you.


PS- Many of the children with disabilities who attend CJ's school have families of their own. Some of those families struggle to send their children to a place where they can receive the special instruction and care that they need. Some of them live far away and don't get to visit often. And some of the children are wards of the state, with no parents. They can always use donations of clothing (all sizes), games, books, dvds, ect for the residential dorms and group houses. We have donated many items over the years and they are always very grateful.

**Update- here is the link to The Hope Institute's Webpage for those of you who would like to donate. They and I thank you.**