It all began with mittens.
Mittens, hats, gloves and an old, somewhat battered Christmas tree in my school library. I wanted to do something…to start something to give the gift of warmth at Christmas and to provide an opportunity for our junior high students to be reminded that not everyone is well cared for at Christmas.
By after Christmas, and with God’s grace, the boughs of the tree were hanging low under the weight of the bounty – a veritable menagerie of mittens, gloves, hats and scarves.
This is a guest post by Barbara Meyer. Barbara is a Jazz vocalist & pianist with 25 years of international performing experience. Solo, duo, trio, big band, orchestra soloist. She is a school librarian in St Albert and has attended North Pointe for the past three years.
Socks and Stuff
I was given the name of an elementary school in Edmonton’s inner city – Mother Teresa Catholic School – and I paid them a visit.
The school secretary welcomed me warmly and shared that many of their students come to school without the basics of socks and underwear. She also informed me that the school has both a food and a clothing bank.
I left with my heart filled with the sense of a new mission – to both raise awareness and to collect much-needed items on a continuing basis for these beautiful, less privileged children who so touched my heart that day – many of them new Canadians who were experiencing the harshness of a Canadian winter.
Working for a school district gives me access to a huge pool of caring, committed people. I began posting requests for “most needed items” and the response was wonderful. Trips downtown to visit “Mother Teresa” with a carload of supplies became a bi-monthly delight (enhanced by my stop at the nearby Italian Center for an exquisite cup of Italian cappuccino!)
Soon other schools were jumping on board!
Classes created projects to raise money and collect items. One school had a “snowball fight” with mittens that the kids brought in and then donated to the school. Another class visited the school to assist with the lunch program. A personal friend and his wife “adopted” Mother Teresa as their own personal project.
The “Giving Tree” initiative was growing wings and developing in beautiful, unexpected ways!
North Pointe’s Giving Tree
In December of 2014 (and each of the two years following) I asked Pastor Bob Jones if he would consider keeping the Christmas tree in the foyer up a couple of weeks longer. North Pointe Community Church’s own, personal “Giving Tree” was created.
Again, the response was enormous. I was deeply moved by the generosity of the church community as I found myself with a small team of people driving around Edmonton delivering clothing, sporting equipment and food to schools and service agencies.
Not only were we now contributing to inner city school children but also to schools and agencies in the Beverly area: Abbot School, R.J. Scott School, The Candora Society and Building Hope have all felt the touch of the “Giving Tree” initiative.
The Christmas tree is still up in my school library.
Now it is adorned with pink and red shiny hearts. February and March are just around the corner. The weather is still cold and families are getting hungry. There is room on the boughs for more mittens, hats and gloves, socks and underwear – and room under the tree for non-perishable food items to fill the school food bank at Mother Teresa Elementary School.
I would love to make another trip downtown to see those smiling faces again. (And, yes, I will stop in for another delectable cappuccino on the way home!)
It is my personal vision that all children go to school in February and March with breakfast in their tummies and socks on their feet.
The mission continues.
APPLICATION: Interested in being a part of the mission and helping these students? Connect with Barbara on her Facebook page. Please leave a comment for Barbara. Thank you.
I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.
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