Adventures in Volunteering - The Holiday Store Project

It's the holidays - and you know what that means?? Presents Day Really meaningful volunteer projects!!!
I actually haven't been volunteering much lately, just a few times since the big Heart Incident of 2011. I had done my Love Letters project (making cards for terminally ill kids) every month for 5 years..and then I just stopped. The ABC Project (making ABC posters for schools in Africa) - every month for (maybe) 3 years...just stopped. For the last three years, I've organized/coordinated 4 different holiday projects in December. This year - just one.
I'm hoping to make up for the last six months of non-volunteering in 2012, after Andrew leaves me forever and I have nothing at all to do.

However, I did manage to coordinate the Holiday Store event this last weekend. With the help of eight wonderful volunteers, we created a little "store" at a local low-income apartment complex where parents could come in and pick out one free toy per child. We even offered to gift wrap it for them and deliver it to their apartment when ready. It's a really fun project, as most of the families are VERY appreciative and show it. I think people have a hard time understanding that it's hard for poor people to ask for help. It's humbling and sad and really hard. Sometimes when you have to ask for help, you come across as unappreciative, rude even. I am glad that most of the parents I personally talked to on Sunday were visibly appreciative.

Over 100 parents came into our makeshift "store" and received a free gift - and we had the extra toys packed and were on our way home within two hours from start to finish! That's some amazing work. My volunteers were awesome.

The two girls in the middle have volunteered at two of my projects in the past - they volunteer together throughout the year, taking pics of themselves volunteering at each event and then make a Goodness Calendar at the end of the year for their mom. Sweetest thing ever, right??

Happy monkeys!!

Happy wrappers!

I love this event! I wish it was every month - handing out toys would be my ideal full-time job I think.


  1. Brian Miller said...:

    very family i work with was really blessed by a similar event here locally...

  1. How cool that you actually had little monkeys helping you!
    Happy Holidays, Kaylen!

  1. I bet your heart grows 3 sizes each time you do something like that!

  1. Brandy@YDK said...:

    what a great idea. that's awesome.

  1. Annie said...:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! This is the first post that I've read from your blog and it has made me think more of what Christmas is really about. I hope that my friends and I can do something similar to this next year. We always plan an event out, but it never works out because school always gets in our way...

    The picture of the monkey smiling with his present, made me smile. The picture with the two boys playing with their toy, completely made my day. They looked so happy to finally have a new toy to play with. Thank you for making a difference in the parent(s) and the children's life! (:

  1. You rock.
    When you are low on money, all you want is for your kids to have a good Christmas. You don't need anything for yourself.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    That is such a great idea! I love that you did that and the monkeys were adorable!


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