I have this friend named Christine. When the girls were little, they called her Kris-Kreen, so she still gets called that a lot. Kris-Kreen works at a domestic violence shelter and is always in the mood for donations of any type. So now, when I go through junk to clear it out, I offer it to her before taking it to the Salvation Army. In fact, I used to have a laundry basket that I kept in my closet and would throw stuff in there as I came across it. We had a standing date every week and I'd give her the basket one week and get it back the next.
At least a year ago, I went through the toy cabinets and got rid of a lot of things the girls had stopped playing with as they got older. One of the things I passed on to Kris-Kreen was a toy that Grandma had gotten Melody for Christmas two years prior.
At least four months had passed and no one had missed it. It was a 4-year-old toy and I had six-year-old girls, afterall, but I had not been diligent enough in collecting all the pieces. One day, we're cleaning up their room and Melody finds a piece that was behind their dresser and she ran to put it with the rest of the toy. Unable to find it in it's usual spot, she starts frantically searching for it. When I tell her that I gave it away, she becomes hysterical, then despondent. I try to tell her, 'If you haven't missed it in four months, it can't have been all that important,' but this does not help matters.
Once she has had time to calm down, I explain to her, 'Kris-Kreen works with boys and girls who do not have good daddies. Their mommies take them to a new home to be safe, but they have to leave quickly to go there. They often don't have anything besides the clothes they're wearing when they get there. They may have a stuffed animal that is precious like Dixie's Baby Elephant, but they certainly don't have nice toys like that one to play with once they get to their safe new home. Christine helps those boys and girls and their mommies. One of the ways she helps them, is that she gives them clothes, books and toys. That is why I take her the things that we don't need anymore.'
She pauses in her sniffles and looks up, wide-eyed. "Well, that means we need to find more things to give her!" The girls finished cleaning their rooms and also filled up a large sack of things. We talked about how they don't want broken junk; they need things they can actually used. So they tested the toys and made sure they rounded up parts and sets and such.
Then, Melody comes to me with her purse, asking if they can use money. I tell her that she always needs money to help with diapers and things. She opens it up and has a ten dollar bill and a one dollar bill inside. I think that most kids would give the one dollar bill, but Melody, with only the slightest hesitation, hands me the larger bill.
Then Dixie started a money jar. Any coins found around the house were always thrown in it, and then given to Kris-Kreen every week. They would earn money to put in it if they felt they weren't finding enough spare change. In fact, we were at Walgreens one day and Melody found some pennies and a dime on the ground outside. She immediately picked them up and said, "Oooh, we can take this and give it to the babies at the shelter who need diapers!" A woman walking by paused, and then gave Melody her change to add to it.
From about April until we moved in August, every cent found, even some tooth fairy money, was given for this purpose. Toys we came across were given as well as clothes as they were grown out. It was such a heart-swelling thing as a mom, to have such eager and compassionate children.
More reasons I miss home!