Friday, March 16, 2012

HAITI :: Turning complaints into compassion

Kimmie and some of the items she collected
Recently, The Red Thread Promise met an amazing fourth grader from the midwest. She had an incredible gift to share with us that we, in turn, would like to share with you.

Kimmie is a 9-year-old girl growing up in the suburbs of Ohio. Like others her age, one night she found herself complaining to her parents about all of the things she didn't have. (Haven't we all heard this at one time or another?)

In an effort to enlighten her eldest child about what it means to have nothing, her mother began sharing some of her experiences as an inner city social worker. She told her of a family who had five children. Both parents were unemployed and all utilities had been cut off. As a result, the family was running an extension cord to the neighbor's house in order to operate a small heater to keep them warm. Kimmie was also told of another family whose home was so deplorable that they had actual holes in the kitchen floor. However, both families still managed to be thankful for the four walls and a roof that they had over their heads.

These stories were a far cry from the life that Kimmie was accustomed to. These children didn't have American Girl dolls, MP3 players or bicycles. Yet they were satisfied with what little they had. 

Kimmie wasn't merely moved by these accounts - she was ENERGIZED. 

She told her mother that she wanted to do something to help others. When asked who, she simply stated "the people of Haiti" as if it was the most obvious choice in the world. More than two years had passed since the devastating earthquake which begged the question, "Why Haiti?" Kimmie's answer was right on point: "When a tragedy happens, so many people want to help right away but most people forget about others as time passes." (We couldn't have said it better ourselves.)

Thus, her service project was born, entitled Every Day is Giving Day. With the help of friends and family, Kimmie spread the word that she was collecting everyday items for people in Haiti. She created and passed out flyers, set up collection points and even did the morning announcements at her school to spread the word. In just two months, she collected over 1300 items! From wash cloths to soaps to toothbrushes and underwear, her diligence paid off.

Her next challenge was figuring out how to get the items to the people she wanted to serve. And guess who she found? Kimmie and her family were able to visit with Red Thread Vice President, Sonya, where she was able to see photos and hear stories about the people who would actually receive her gifts.

Knowing that the donations will be used and appreciated by the children of St. Vincent's makes us all smile.

Even greater still is knowing that compassion is alive in our children, a true blessing to The Red Thread Promise.

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