So, if you read my blog Couponing for Good Part 1, you know all about the items me, LuLu, and the Little Man purchased at Walmart (using coupons from All You Magazine, the newspaper, and bargain shopping) for the All You Champions for Kids campaign with Collective Bias. I chose to donate the items to the Ozanam Family Shelter on behalf of the incredible non-profit organization Enchanted Makeovers.
Since the first post, I found a few more special details for a bargain at Michael's crafts. I found these beautiful angels on clearance at Michael's Crafts for under $4 each!! Love the message of Faith, Hope, & Grace!!
I also purchased lovely wicker laundry baskets at Michael's crafts for 40% off (each one was under $5). I figured I could use them as gift baskets, and then the baskets could be given to the women for laundry day!
And, my Little Man, LuLu, and Lu's friend Rachel made special pictures for the children in the shelter! I love watching the kiddies create things from scratch - their pictures will go in the 'Creativity & Imagination' basket.
Also, I received a wonderful package- Terry Grahl, a kindred spirit, dear friend, and founder/visionary of EM, sent me handmade pillowcases, capes for kids, and polka-dot boxes for the delivery. I was so excited when Terry's package arrived at my doorstep!!
Now, I was ready to begin putting the polka-dot boxes and baskets together! First, I made 'Be Your Own Superhero' kits and filled 3 polka-dot boxes with handmade capes for kids, crayons, and blank paper along with a note...
Then I put together a 'May the Force Be With You' strengthening box that included Gummy calcium chews, vitamins, and Star Wars lightsaber toothbrushes. The Little Man helped, too!! He loved the superhero capes and lightsaber toothbrushes!!
The 'Movie Night' box included Where the Wild Things Are on dvd and lots of popcorn!! The shelter has a common area where the children can watch movies, so I would love to plan the movie night together...the 5 polka-dot boxes are filled, sealed, and topped with a flower that is a hair clip - perfect, bright, and cheery accessory for the little girls at Ozanam!
Next it was time to fill the laundry baskets - one called 'Creativity & Imagination', one called 'Believe', one called 'Nurture & Care', and one called 'Shine Like the Star You Are'...
There were also handmade pillowcases for the women in the shelter, so I wrapped these in a gift bag. The pillowcases were stitched with love to ignite both the spirit of the sewer and the recipient. There are common threads that connect us all, and I wanted the moms to receive something from Enchanted Makeovers along with their children!
With all boxes and baskets wrapped and ready to go, the next morning I loaded up the car with the help of my mother-in-law, and I went off to the Ozanam Family Shelter.
When I called Ozanam, I immediately clicked with Cindy, the Resident Assistant. She was upbeat, real, very protective of the children, and I couldn't wait to meet her! She told me while the shelter appreciates donors, they could not accept any used items. She explained that people (while they meant well) would drop off bags of used clothing, old sheets, stained blankets - items that were in no condition to pass on to the angels living in the shelter. I explained to her the types of things I had, and told her I would come there to meet her, and hopefully some of the children who lived there.
So today, my mother and I went to Ozanam, which provides shelter for 16 women and 26 families. While living in the shelter, program residents work with case managers, receive career counseling, assistance in securing permanent housing, counseling, education, resources, and referrals. We brought the polka-dot boxes and baskets in to the main office - that's my mom in the picture below (she didn't know I was ready to snap a pic!)...
Inside the office we met Cindy, along with some of the residents and their children. I met a precious 5 year old girl named JuJu - I told her her name rhymed with my little 5 year old LuLu! JuJu couldn't wait to receive her handmade cape - she wanted the pink one, and the pink flower clip for her hair. I asked her what her Superhero power was, and she told me she has 'princess powers' and loves to draw - sounds like my Lu, too!!
I asked to see the grounds and the facilities, and Cindy gladly gave me a tour of the shelter. We met many more children, including 2 year old Christopher who had the greatest belly giggle - when we left the room, he followed us out and played a round of peek-a-boo with me!
I know we will be back to the shelter - we talked about the movie night and perhaps a craft class with the children. Then I asked Cindy for a picture as we were leaving, and her response was this, "I don't like pictures of myself, but I do like myself, so I guess I'll take a picture!" Yes, Cindy should love herself inside + out, she is an inspirista through and through! She grabbed 2 of her friends who were sitting outside, and I snapped the picture!
"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~ Maya Angelou
You can see the entire album of photos in my Google+ Story HERE.
To learn more about Ozanam Family Shelter, to contact them, and/or donate, click HERE.
To learn more about Enchanted Makeovers, to volunteer, sponsor, and/or donate click HERE.