Sunday, March 6, 2011

about the impact of connections.

I am very lucky to work for an organization (Hands4Hope) that gives youth the chance to make a difference in our community.  I have found a match with my passion.

Last week, TL and I volunteered with a handful of kids and adults for one of our homeless outreach events.  The organization allows it's members (more than 340 of them) to sign up for different events to volunteer for.  The homeless outreach events tend to fill up fast.  The reason: unbelievable connections are made with the youth and the people they are serving.

Our morning started early.  At 6:30 a.m., I had a large pan of refried beans heating in our oven.  At 8:30, we met up with the group in the conference room at a local supermarket.   There, we set up an assembly line and spent time putting together sack lunches.  The kids hand made the bean burritos.  Then they assembled the bags with chips, and cookies.

After caravanning to our site - the kids had fruit, bottled water, and hot chocolate to offer.

Within minutes of arriving... more than 100 people had lined up to take advantage of a good meal.

We parked along a back alley and pulled fold up tables out and set them up with the different stations of food.

The last station had donated items: clothing, books, toiletries, and bags.  (The toiletries go fast - toothpaste, hand sanitizer, soaps, ect)
The tall kid in the hat is TL - followed by the assembly line of H4H kids.
 Circled up after the event discussing our experience.
The group of volunteers (minus Jen, our founder, who took the picture)
(I know I look like a kid in the front row - some of the 10 year olds are taller than me)

We served lunch to more than 250 people.

The morning was amazing for me.  I saw kids talking to these people who are truly struggling.  It helps put the world into perspective for all of us.

I saw one of our kids get approached by one of the men getting help.  He was a little scary looking, but he just wanted to shake his hand and say thank you.  When he put his hand out, I saw some hesitation at first from our kid, but then he looked up into his eyes and shook his hand and said "you're welcome, sir."

I hope you're having a wonderful Sunday.

If you're wondering how we get the funds to get the food & toiletries... our kids do a lot of it.  Every year they do a huge toiletry drive and collect thousands of them.  They do fundraisers to buy food & supplies.  We also receive donations from people in our community and everywhere.  If you know anyone that is ever looking to give to a good cause, send them my way. ;)


Katie said...

For toiletry donations, do you accept hotel items (like the mini-bottles of shampoo, body wash, soap, etc)? I travel for work and can collect these easily!

mrsashcake said...

ok that last part about the guy wanting to say thank you to the kid had me all teary. this is so so cool!

Michaela said...

Love this Tracy. You are so inspiring :)

Skyes Scribbles said...

AW, This makes my heart so happy to know there are good people like you and those kids still out in our world. Thank You!

Stephanie said...

what a rewarding job?! happy sunday!

Anonymous said...

That's so great!!! It's amazing what connections can be made when you forget about our differences :) Great job!! I hope you keep writing more about your work!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fabulous way to give back... I love your job!! I still volunteer with these types of things through Kappa Delta and hope to do more with the JL soon too.

Have a wonderful weekend girl!!

Sarah said...

O my goodness what a wonderful cause to be a part of. I bet it feels so rewarding to give back

christie @ said...

this is awesome :) good for you!! xo

Anonymous said...

Tracy, I'm curious- what are your and TL's political views?

Sierra said...

that's so awesome that you were able to get out and help the community. love your big heart girl, xoxo.

Natasha said...

what an awesome and completely fulfilling day...looks like you all had a great impact on so many people!! love this and so glad you're new job is something you truly enjoy friend ;)

Lindsey @ The Hill House said...

I think it's great that you do this type of work! I've always wanted to be more involved in my community but have never made that step to do so. Do you have a place that us readers could send donations? I have items that were given to me that I don't use and they are just taking up space in my cabinet. I would love to pass them on to someone who can use them.

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Sounds like a great organization!

Annemarie said...

Tracy- I love this post. The organization you work for sounds awesome! What a blessing to be able to go to work and help others like this. Thanks for reminding us that even something as small as a hot meal can make someone's day :)


Anna said...

What a great organization. I'm so proud of that kid :)

Lori said...

What a fantastic day Tracy ~ I love volunteering and giving back ~ I should really take the time to do it more often as it is so rewarding. Bravo to you and TL!