06 Mar Helping struggling families keep clean!
Humbled. Nobody knows what it really means until you feel it. My husband, and 10 yr old son at the time felt humbled when we moved to Arkansas a few years ago. We came with an old, rusty, Toyota, and whatever we could fit in it from our life that we had collected. We lived in a tent for a few months, not realizing jobs would be so hard to find, and also not realizing how rural this little part of Arkansas was. We prayed and met a lot of kind people in the surrounding small towns that helped provide work, food and bartering for piecees to make a tiny home on a piece of land in the woods we bought.
During this time though since money was so scarce going without clean socks, new underwear or even soap for a day or two really made us apperciate when did have those items that a few months prior we had in abundance.
Over time, our son who had turned 11 came up with an idea for a the back to school church event to collect new socks & underwear to give out for children for back to school. We took him around town to collect items and many business allowed him to leave a “drop off box” for people to leave packaged socks and underwear donations.
Our son Eric, also got in the local newspaper and was on a nearby radio station to ask for the commuinty for support. He thaked God for our experience going without these items because now we apperciated them so much more and could relate to other children if they didn’t have them. My husband and I were so amazed with how his heart just opened up to get help for the children going back to school, and our son is homeschooled!
At the event we knew there would be a lot of children from all over the county, so we bagged and tagged each brown lunch bag with sizes and girls/boys socks, 2 pairs each and underwear 2 pairs each.
My husband AJ & I passed out bags that day with our son and really saw the need with the parents as well just like we had been in need only a short time ago. We ended up giving to the adults as well if we had their sizes. In all 2100 pairs of socks and underwear were donated that day. We then gave a huge box that was left over to a local pro-life center, and then later the rest to help out the victims of the major flood in LA. It felt so good to give, and meet others that had been in our shoes, but now just a little help was going to mean a more comfortable day at work, or a child not getting bullied with sports for not having underwear.
We met a lot of families after that expressed how much the socks and underwear helped. Again we prayed and my husband really felt we were able to do more, we were meant to help more families. We became a 501c non profit last August & got the support of our local Wal-Mart to do a fundraiser to collect items. We thought it would be amazing to help with basic needs that no family should go without to keep your body healthy & clean! We added personal hygiene products, such as diapers, wipes, soaps, shampoos, Q-Tips, Toilet paper, shaving cream (NO RAZORS), face wipes, toothpaste, deoderants that will keep a family fresh and clean and a body safe and healthy to live better, to feel better!
So far we have had a few good fundraisers and some local church support. On Twitter we are fairly new but have had a few loyal followers help with diapers, underwear and a gift card to get supplies.
The thing is since we are in a rural area of Arkansas, not a lot of help is around here, so when we meet a family they need a little bit of everything we have. We hear that work has been cut back, or there was a death and the stress is making it hard to work. They may be taking care of extended family or there are grandparents that are now taking care of their grandchildren and are on a fixed income.
We are trying to fill the gap with the items that are a needthat are not given out most times at food banks, or just to help give these items so they can use the extra money for gas, to get to work or extra milk and bread. We can’t help everyone, but we are going to try! We wish someday that our ministry, ACCEPTED MINISTRY is able to spread to more rural areas in America so we can help more families that are struggling and help make life a little easier with items that are a need, yet so many go without. We are all 100% doantions so we never know what sizes are coming or how many bars of soap we get.We are asking for our stock to be abundant so we can help as many families with all sizes and that they dont have to be turned away because we dont’ have help for them.
Today we struggle, week to week like the families we help but we smile more, we laugh a lot as a family and we keep our heart and ears open to other stories of the people we meet. It feels great to put on a new pair of socks and we are thankful to have clean ones to put on.