Monday, July 30, 2012

The Forgotten Initiative

I try not to compartmentalize our lives.  You know what I mean, don’t you?  There is the homeschool part of your life.  The church part of your life.  The club/activity part of your life.  The whatever I’m involved in at the moment part of my life…but they often never blend together as LIFE.  So I’ve been looking for ways to combine what we’re learning (in school, at home, at church) into hands on opportunities to be the hands and feet of God.

Recently, the kids and I have started doing some volunteer work with our local chapter of The Forgotten Initiative.  This ministry works to help the foster care community all the way from the caseworkers to the kids and foster families.

This past weekend, the girls and I organized a project called Journey To The Heart.  The purpose was to collect various items (hygiene items, school supplies, clothing) and then come together and pack Journey Bags.  Typically when a child is removed from their home and placed into foster care they have only the clothes on their backs.  Journey bags are backpacks and/or diaper bags that hold items that a child needs for hygiene and also personal items to give them a sense of ownership and belonging.

Olivia and Lindsey helped me to shop, collect and sort items for the big event.   Below is a photo of the the fruits of our labors, and the blessing of many friends, family members and churches in the area.

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The head of our local The Forgotten Initiative – Augusta found a supplier for backpacks in bulk at a reasonable price.   The day of our event we had people come in, donate the amount to cover the cost of as many backpacks as they wanted.  Then these same folks got to go through the stash of goods and pack their backpacks (for FREE) with items for a child in need.

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Lindsey of course put herself in charge of packing the diaper bags for babies.  She has an incredible love for babies, and was very distressed to find that there weren’t enough pacifiers to go around.  I see some more shopping for pacifiers in her future.

Olivia was more interested in the teenage girl bags.  She really put a lot of time and effort into picking out things that she thought an older girl would want.  Sadly, it became quite evident to everyone attending that teenage boys were getting left out in the giving of donated items.  The next focus will be to fix that issue.

All together, we were able to assemble 70, yes SEVENTY, backpacks/diaper bags.   What an awesome feeling to know that 70 children have basic items to call their own.  What a horrible feeling to know that the 70 won’t last long.

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Each backpack also had a handmade, hand written card placed inside.  It was very heart warming to see my 6 year old write things like “God loves you and He will make sure you are ok.  Don’t be afraid.”

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How does your family incorporate your beliefs into acts of service?   Maybe you’ve never really thought about it before?  However, I’ll give you an opportunity to get started.  If you’d like to make a donation to The Forgotten Initiative, click here, you can even designate which state group receives your funds.  Or maybe something here has tugged at your heart, and you want to get involved and start a group in your area.  Find out more here.

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