“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself” ……Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the greatest joys of my life is helping others.   Recently I embarked on this journey to put together, plan and execute a clothing and shoe drive to help the foster children in our community here at HQ.  As most of you know, when I am very passionate about something, I get quite vocal and excited.  I do believe excitement is infectious and when you truly believe in something, if you are open in your desires to do good others will naturally want to help you.

What began as a grand idea that I could put together a clothing and shoe drive by simply asking my friends to clean out their kids closets has turned out to be so much more.  As I began to express my idea with others here at HQ we formulated a great plan to host a great clothing and shoe drive.  We decided to spread the word via Facebook to save on costs, we would collect the clothes and shoes by having two collection points in the community at local parks, and we would strive to collect enough money to purchase 300 pairs of new shoes.  My excitement sucked others in and soon Cassie created the cutest flyer for a clothing drive I have ever seen and we had a donor make the first donation so we could start purchasing new shoes.  Not only am I blessed in the pleasure of purchasing shoes for children who desperately need them but I have the joy of hearing my colleagues say “this is SO MUCH FUN”. What greater joy can a person experience when not only is she helping children but she is brining joy to those who are assisting?

Last week Friday (23 March 2012) I set out to shop for my daughter’s birthday with a few flyers in hand.  I went to a local store to purchase sneakers on clearance (I was also armed with coupons).  I made my first purchase of 8 pairs of sneakers.  I stopped by my sisters work (Enterprise Rental) and was gifted with 2 new basketballs, a football helmet, football pads, and 2 pairs of sandals from the lost and found.  She posted my flyer and handed one to another local business owner who was renting a car. He said he had loads of stuff for us and he would contact me in the upcoming week.  I then went to a local sporting goods store to purchase catchers gear for my daughter for her birthday gift.  I asked a sales clerk (who was the owner) if he would hang up my flyer.  Not only did he hang it up, he asked me if I wanted anything.  I was shocked, clarified if the stuff was free, and started boxing up clothes. I left that store with 4 boxes of new clothes.  (and I was late for my own daughter’s birthday party)  We have daycares that are putting the flyer out and are willing to collect the donated items.  The Safe Children Coalition has banners that we can use on collection day and they are sending representatives to speak to the donors about fostering and adoption opportunities.  We might even be able to help a child get a forever home!

I spent the weekend, as did Cassie, Jenn and Michelle Shiflett, scouring the local department store that had a clearance sale (and we used our coupons) looking for sneakers.  That weekend we obtained nearly 40 pairs of sneakers.  Everyone I spoke to was ready to clear out their closets and donate to this wonderful cause.   Through several donations we are getting close to 60 pairs of shoes.  The goal is 300 so only 240 more to go!! 

I am now asking each of you to please sponsor a pair of sneakers.  The cost is $15 per pair.  You can purchase them on Amazon so you have the joy of choosing the sneakers and you can ship them to me.  OR you can transfer the funds via PayPal to kicksnklothes4kids@gmail.com  and the money will be used to purchase the sneakers.

I would also like to offer a contest to the person that sponsors the most pair of sneakers or who can obtain the most sponsors.  Spread the word, tell your friends but the person who can collect the most pairs of shoes will win a prize.  A special prize from me for your truly amazing efforts.

There is only two weeks left until we provide everything to the Safe Children Coalition.  April and Jeanette and others at HQ are going to help me man the post on collection day.  Please spread the word.  Share my post on Facebook.  You never know who you will touch through one small act of kindness!

“Too often we under-estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”….Dr. Felice Leonardo Buscaglia