“I often ask for gifts that have nothing to do with money. There are always things one can get. What I desire is the presence of the donor, for him to touch those to whom he gives, for him to smile at them, to pay attention to them.”
Mother Teresa, No Greater Love
Sometime giving money can be the easiest way to give. The least sacrificial. The least intimate. This is not to say that everyone has piles of cash ready to be handed out. But for the majority of us, we have something we can give away. Even if it is the coins nestled between your couch cushions.
But giving your time, giving your love, that is the challenge. To hold hands with a homeless woman, to look here in the eye, and hand her a meal. In these quiet moments you hear their needs, such as the whisper asking if there are any available bras or feminine supplies.
This is what Generic Ministry is doing twice a week in Boston. I’ve learned about them from a dear friend, who goes out in the van to distribute supplies.
Generic Ministry is an all-volunteer organization that provides clothing, food, toiletries, blankets, and friendship to homeless and needy people in Boston. Two nights each week our well-stocked van delivers supplies to designated stops in the city, meeting directly with our homeless friends on the streets. Our goals are simple: to help destitute people make it through the night, and to engage people to help those in need.
I admire their goal of helping the homeless friends make it through the night. What gratitude we should all feel to not worry about making it through the night! And with that gratitude, we should give. Let’s fearlessly love our neighbors and give to those that are holding their hands and giving them respect and love and sustenance.
How you can help:
Support their GoFundMe campaign to raise $1000 to rent storage space for (and purchase) much needed supplies.
Donate through Network for Good:
- $10 Provides a 2-week supply of water for distribution
- $50 Keeps the van on the road for 1 month
- $150 Purchases socks and underwear for 1 month
- $500 Purchases insurance for the van for 6 months
- $1,000 Pays for the rent for our garage for 4 months
- New underwear & socks (in packages – nothing used!) for men and women
- Men’s cotton shirts (long sleeve t-shirts) and Hoodies XL, XXL, etc
- Women’s bras
- Hats, mittens, coats
- Travel-sized toiletries
(Visit their website for more donation information.)
I feel silly trying to write about an experience that I can’t even put into words. The magnitude of the evening still sits on my heart and flows through my thoughts, leaving my spirit dancing and my face smiling.
I had the privilege to volunteer for Compassion at a local Rend Collective show. To give a bit of background, the last time I was at a Rend Collective show, the girl behind me asked me to make her a bag just like the one I designed and was carrying. My first order! And so Ginger Lane, now BEVY Goods, began. Also at that show, I learned all about Compassion and committed to using a portion of profits to sponsoring a child. So Compassion + Rend Collective hold a deep spot in my heart and am grateful for how God has worked through them.
This time I was on the other side, and able to be one of the people handing out the child packets to audience members. I was able to talk to people about the girl we sponsor and share stories of how our relationship has grown.
A photo of our girl, her family, and the goat they were able to buy with funds through Compassion.
The heartbreaking moments came when we held stacks of cards in our hands, and realized just how many children need to be sponsored. Sponsoring a child is so much more than having money automatically deducted from your bank account every month. It is a relationship, filled with letter writing and sharing stories. Sometimes giving love and giving of yourself is much hard than giving money. But so much more valuable.
Patrick from Rend Collective said it best: “we can sacrifice a little luxury for someone else’s necessity”. It costs $38 a month to sponsor a child. To some, $38 is the cost of two pumpkin spice lattes a week or a t-shirt bought on a whim at Target that you’ll never wear. Little luxuries.
Please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion.
This is not an ad, I don’t work for Compassion. I just love what they are doing.
How precious are these children and amazing these photographs? The photographer, Cara, just happens to be a friend of mine from college, with whom I’m so excited to have to reconnected with recently. Cara Soulia Photography is a Boston-area photography who specializes in photographing babies, children and families. Not only does she make giving back to the community the heart of her business, but she also lives what she says and makes giving back a priority with her kids.
Cara’s heart for giving is such a meaningful reminder that we have all been given gifts and talents that can be used to help others.
And I can say from personal experience, she is such a pleasure to work with. Cara photographed my Ginger Lane collection. Blog post and photos to come. But you’ll find sneak peek at the end of this post!
“I donate my photography services to Cradles To Crayons, which provides homeless and low-income children ages 0-12 the essential items they need to thrive. Each December, I photograph the organization’s biggest fundraising event: the Un-Gala. I love this event because kids participate and it is a hands-on family volunteering experience. In 2012, I brought my own family to volunteer, while I photographed the event. It was so fun to be there altogether and it was a fantastic way to introduce my kids to giving back and helping others.
Separate from the Un-Gala, I have also volunteered with my son at the C2C warehouse sorting children’s clothes. It was there that I got the idea to donate a portion of my fall mini-session proceeds to purchasing new socks & underwear for C2C.”
In addition to donating her time and talent to Cradles to Crayons, Cara also donates her photography to Solutions at Work, a local nonprofit that helps homeless and low-income people break the cycle of poverty by providing resources and opportunities.
“On several occasions, I have photographed participants shopping in the Solutionswear store and in the Children’s Clothing Exchange. I also photograph their annual Vase Glazing event, where Solutions at Work child participants paint vases which are raffled off at their annual gala. My favorite thing about this event is seeing children, who have been helped by Solutions at Work in the past, paying it forward to support the organization.”
Looking for a way to support Solutions at Work? Donate professional attire, computers or children’s gear or make a financial gift.
Cara and Wally at Cradles to Crayons
“I love to give back to organizations that have an emphasis on helping children and families, because these are the causes that are closest to my heart. I am always on the lookout for new opportunities for local giving. I am currently brainstorming a Mother’s Day event which will include a charitable component!”
Sign up for the Cara Soulia Photography newsletter to stay in the loop. Or shoot her an email if you’re Interested in learning more about booking a session with her.
Here’s a sneak peek from my Ginger Lane photoshoot with Cara Soulia Photography…
(All photographs courtesy of Cara Soulia Photography)
The End it Movement has declared today, February 27, Shine Light on Slavery Day. Love the concept and love that they are raising awareness and money for some incredible organizations to end slavery. But they make a great point that “awareness must lead to action”. Ending human trafficking needs more than drawing a red X on your hand one day out of the year.
“This is how the battle against human trafficking will be won – one person, one family, one community at a time.” (Sak Saum, About)
Sak Saum, located in Cambodia, restores the physical, emotional, spiritual, social needs of those rescued from human trafficking. They are “dedicated to the rescue, restoration, transformation and rehabilitation of vulnerable and exploited women and men.” Daily life includes housing, medical attention, vocational training, counseling, studying, worship, community, friendship. In addition, they run a vocational training center that employs, trains and then sell their bags and handmade goods worldwide to support their ministry. Shop their beautiful products!
Leap Tote (it’s even on sale!)
Freedom Wrap Watch
I am in awe of the women God called to Sak Saum to love and restore the exploited.
And just like that, the busy-ness of the Christmas season (hi, shopping & building gingerbread houses) and a sick child turn this “daily gift” into a “mostly daily gift”.
IJM seeks to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law.
International Justice Mission is the real deal. I’ve had the opportunity to hear the founder, Gary Haugen, speak on a few occasions. The work they are doing is real and so needed: There are currently between 21-30 MILLION slaves. Even if you don’t donate a penny, take a moment to read just one of their many rescue stories: IJM Helps Rescue 35 Girls Enslaved in a Thread Making Factory.
They’re focus is to provide: Victim Relief (immediate relief for the victim), Perpetrator Accountability (through local jurisdiction systems), Survivor Aftercare (help victims rebuild their lives) & Structural Transformation (working with local judicial system to protect future abuse.
International Justice Mission Donation Page
There is a great organization in the Boston area to help survivors of domestic violence. Each year, a group of moms in my town gather to serve these survivors a Holiday meal. The least I could do was provide a few items for the meal.
The Second Step fosters the ongoing safety, stability, and well-being of survivors of domestic violence. Our comprehensive residential and community-based programs build on the strengths, needs, and values of the individuals and families we serve. Through partnership with survivors and collaboration with the community, we lay a foundation for a future free from abuse and full of possibility.
The Second Step
Donations can be made online to help families get back on their feet. Giving can be made online or donations of goods (household items, clothing, toiletries, etc) can be dropped off.
Today the boys and I have started filling a cup. The contents of which we are going to donate to World Food Program. Had I planned ahead, I would have ordered a World Food Program Red Cup for the occasion. But I’m sticking with “it’s the thought that counts”, to make up for my lack of planning.
Since 2004, Coins 4 Kids has helped the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) provide over 72,000 school meals to children in nearly 100 schools throughout the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Coins 4 Kids supporters around the country collect bills and change in a red collection cup, modeled after the red cups that WFP fills with nutritious food for these children each day in school.
Every 25 cents you collect in your Coins 4 Kids cup, will feed one hungry child in school for a day. It’s that simple – one quarter, one cup of nutritious food.
World Food Program Coins 4 Kids