Friday, July 29, 2011

Addressing the Missing Social Spokes

Our new Salvation Army corps officers recently requested volunteers to help take some disadvantaged children to Target for some back-to-school shopping. Although I don't want to take on so much that I feel even more depleted than I already am (caring for three boys and a husband), I do believe that volunteering helps to meet my personal need for social interaction and caring (as Liz commented on the last post). When I discovered the officers would provide supervision for Sean in the gym while I assisted (Trevor is visiting his Grandma for a few days), I jumped at the opportunity.

I was paired with a delightful 6th grader named Monay. She told me that she is named after the artist Monet, but her mother wanted to spell it differently. She just recently moved into the neighborhood near our Salvation Army corps and came with her younger sister, Dayonna, who is going into kindergarten.

We were given a budget of $80 for the purchase of school uniforms and school supplies. Monay was my kind of girl. She explained to me at the outset that when she shops with her Mom, they find something and then hang it on the end of the cart handle. If they find a similar item for a cheaper price, they return the more expensive item to the racks and place their final choice in the cart.

Monay was true to her word, and a delight to shop with. As we neared the end of her list, she ran into her sister and sister's shopping buddy. She turned into an extension of her mother. She picked up each extravagant item and informed her sister that she really didn't need an $11 pencil box that looked like a mini suitcase, covered in sparkles and labelled for a princess when she could purchase a plastic one for 50 cents and then have more to spend on other school supplies she really needed, like glue and pencils and markers.

As we sat waiting for all the other children to finish going through the check-out line, Monay turned to me and told me that she really enjoyed shopping with me. That made my day!

Here is a photo of me and Monay:

And one of her little sister, Dayonna:

Later that day, I visited with a lovely retired lady named Delores. I met Delores a few weeks ago, when she was having a garage sale at her son's home. She was selling the cutest little note cards accompanied by a tea bag holder and tea bag, with this little poem tucked inside:

"Wish we could get together
and have a cup of tea,
but since we can't
when you drink this
I hope you'll think of me."

I purchased one and sent it to my mother. Then, I began to kick myself for not purchasing more (they were only 50 cents each). So, I drove back to the house and asked for her name and number. She invited me to come to her house and purchase more.

Here are the six additional ones I purchased:

I plan to give one to my mother-in-law, since she is often looking for little money-making projects for bazaars at her Salvation Army corps.

It was such a lovely thing to stand and chat with Delores for a while. She certainly puts people at ease. I found myself telling her all about our house here, my parents in Florida, their ministry to retired officers, my family Christmas visits and how spread out my family is. When she heard that my brother lives in Kentucky, she asked where. She couldn't believe it when I explained that he used to live in Wilmore. That is the exact town her nephew lives in because he attends Asbury College. I went on to tell her that my father went to Asbury and so did my brother, Mark, and sister, Dawn.

I'm feeling like the social spokes, which have been neglected, are finally being restored somewhat. Plus, I have a handful of clever little crafts to give out to others.

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