Such A Great Feeling
This past weekend our Valley Skeptics chapter of Volunteers Beyond Belief participated in a school supply drive for School on Wheels. Last year when Danika was interviewed for an article that appeared on the VBB website she was asked what she would like to do as a volunteering event. Without even pausing to think, she said she wanted to collect school supplies for kids that don’t have enough money to get them. Well now that I’m the new volunteer coordinator for the group (not to mention that it was perfect timing and everyone else thought it was also a great idea) I made sure it was my first order of business. We gave everyone a few weeks to take advantage of the back to school sales that started after the fourth of July and we met at a local park to collect them. The kids played, in the blistering heat I might add, the adults chatted, we made some new friends, and then we let the kids take a picture with the supplies they brought.
Our family had decided to buy half of our supplies to bring to the park and then buy the other half once we saw what everyone else brought so that we could get things that maybe other people didn’t. My goal was to get at least one of everything on the student wish list, and I was able to get pretty close. So with the other half of our family’s funds and the check that someone brought I was able to get the rest of our group’s donation together. All in all we were able to get together more than $350 in supplies!
The next day I went to the facility with Danika and Lucian. Before we even got out of the car I new we had chosen the right place to donate our supplies to. For several blocks leading up to it the streets were just lined with homeless people. People with their shopping carts, people just roaming the streets because the have nowhere else to go.
Once we unloaded my car Lisette, who was very grateful for our donation, gave us a tour. She said that each of the kids that come there for their after school program are given access to a kitchen stocked with all kinds of snacks, as well as tutoring, a small library, about ten computers, and tables to do their homework. Everyone there was so nice and I didn’t meet a single one that didn’t express their gratitude to both me and our group for our donation. Lisette actually told me that last week they had run out of backpacks and were brainstorming ways to get new ones. Even better was the fact that we brought girl backpacks as well as ones for boys. They said they usually only get plain black backpacks so they were thrilled to see some pink and purple in the mix.
All in all, I have to say this was a great experience for the kids and me. Not only did they help me buy all the supplies, they came to the park to collect them, and they got to see exactly where they went. I want to make this a yearly event for our group during back-to-school time so that this great organization can benefit from what we can offer year after year.