Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Blessing House is in our Driveway!"

It was school supplies delivery day and Sr. Mary and Sr. Sandra loaded up the van with all of the donated supplies we had received to deliver them to children who have stayed at Blessing House.  Families have been calling for help and school is about ready to start.

Deliveries were made to 30 children and it was exciting for Sr. Mary and Sr. Sandra each time they knocked on a door and the children realized they were getting new school supplies.  They went with their moms to the van and picked out bookbags which they filled with paper, pencils, glue sticks and notebooks. 

Then as Sr. Mary turned a corner and pulled onto a side street, a young boy standing on the sidewalk noticed the Blessing House logo on the van and started shouting, “It’s Blessing House!  It’s Blessing House!”  He ran down the sidewalk as the van drove slowly down his street continuing to shout.  Then when Sr. Mary finally pulled into his driveway, he went running in the house and yelled to his mom, “Blessing House is in our driveway!”

He was so excited to get his supplies and now he was finally ready for school.

Then his friend and neighbor joined him and wanted to know if the supplies were free.  When Sr. Mary told him they were, he asked if he could get some, too.  Sr. Mary asked him what school he went to and when he told her, she pulled out the supply list for his school and filled a bag for him, too.

It was a great opportunity to visit with some of our families and we couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome.  (Blessing House is in our driveway!)  The children are all ready and excited about going back to school and for most of them, these supplies were all they had to start back. 

Thanks to all who donated supplies for our children.  We wish you could have seen their faces, as they filled their bags with brand new things.  Now they are ready to learn. 

Just one more example of the simple things that truly make a difference in the lives of our children.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Every Day Miracles - Cereal and Ramen Noodles

“Food insecurity” is a term that is being used more often in relation to children who are living in poverty.  Food insecurity occurs when “the food intake of one or more household members is reduced and their eating patterns are disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food.”

At first glance, it would just seem that food insecurity is simply another word for “hunger.”  And while this may be something that happens in “those other countries far away,” many don’t think it is something that we need to worry about in Lorain County. 

Let me tell you a little more about food insecurity, as seen through the eyes of our children and families.

Food insecurity is cereal and ramen noodles.  When I asked one of our school age children one time what her favorite meal was, she said, “Cereal and ramen noodles.”  She was the oldest in a family of 5 and had a hard time coming up with other foods she ate at home.

Food insecurity is worrying about what is going to be for snack before lunch is even finished.  Or worrying about breakfast the next morning before baths were even finished that night.  Children who have been hungry are preoccupied with when they will eat next and can’t seem to stop worrying about their next meal.

Food insecurity is wanting to have seconds, thirds or more of foods they are not used to getting.  It may be meat loaf or mashed potatoes.  Once in a while it’s even green beans or tomatoes.  They want to eat when they know the food is there because they just don’t trust it will be there tomorrow.

Food insecurity is asking to take food home with them.   Children see food that hasn’t been eaten or food that has been donated and ask if they can have it or take it home when they leave.  Some will even try to sneak it and take it with them when they leave the dinner table. 

Food insecurity and good nutrition are major issues with many of our children.  Children come from homes where they are not able to receive regular healthy meals because their moms just don’t have enough resources to buy all of the food they need for the whole family.  Or they don’t eat balanced meals because Mom can’t get transportation to the grocery store to buy the milk and vegetables her children needs.  Or Mom can’t cook because she doesn’t have a stove or a refrigerator to keep her food from spoiling.

Recently during dinner at the house, H. asked for a third helping of macaroni and cheese and couldn’t understand why Miss K. wouldn’t give it to her.  Miss K. knew that 2 helpings were enough for H. because she had been having digestive problems all week.  H. was not used to eating healthy meals at home and would try to make up for her lack of food all at once by eating too much.  She had been having problems with her digestive system all week and it would take time to get her system used to eating regular healthy meals once again. 

We recently were taking J.,  a young boy home after a visit to Blessing House and he did not want to go home.  He cried all of the way and just kept repeating, “I don’t want to go home.”  When we arrived at his home, we began to gather some of the donations that we brought with us to give to the family.  We tried to get J. excited about his return home by asking him to carry the toys he had received. 

J. stopped crying for a moment, but then looked past the toys in the back of the van and pointed at a bag on the floor.  J. knew that the bag had snacks and drinks leftover from an outing.  He wanted to know if he could have them.

Sr. Mary gathered his things and handed him the bag with the “Lil Hugs” drinks.  J. stopped crying and started walking toward his home with his bag.  The toys didn’t seem to matter nearly as much as his bag.

Food insecurity is another term for hunger, and there are children in Lorain County who are hungry or who don’t eat properly because they don’t have access to the right foods.  So much of their development is affected by what they eat and many agencies in Lorain County have devoted their resources to helping these families learn about nutrition and how to get food.

Children don’t stand a chance to develop, to learn, to be able to deal with the difficulties they encounter if their bodies are focused only on the food it needs to survive.

There are children who are hungry.
Right here in Lorain County.

Please continue to help our kids by supporting Lorain County Foodbank and the local food pantries and hot meals programs throughout the year.

 Your donations do make a difference.
Our children need our help.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

God is Good!

I was at the house tonight and all was quiet, even with 8 children at the house. As I walked in the playroom, I was amazed to see all 8, in pajamas and laying down on their blankets on the floor quietly watching a movie. 5 different families. But for a few days, they would be together as one, safe and secure. God is good.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

100 Women Who Care About Lorain County

In August, 2010, 4 women from Lorain County got together and decided they would like to form a group of women benefactors who would pool their resources to make donations to non profit organizations in Lorain County that would truly make an impact.  Libby Thuning, Sue Bowers, Marcia Miller, and Nancy Sullivan organized the first meeting and set up the framework for 100 Women Who Care About Lorain County.

Participants meet once a quarter and select an organization that has been presented by one of the members.  Everyone gets a chance to provide input and the group collectively decides who is going to receive the donation.

Blessing House recently was chosen to receive a donation from 100 Women Who Care About Lorain County.  We received $8,000 from this group of women who are not only generous but civic minded in their  support of their community.  

This donation will go toward the care of children at Blessing House.  It costs $150 a day to care for our children and this donation will provide a safe place to stay for 8 of our children.  That is 8 times a child will come to our door needing a safe place to stay because they are homeless, their mom is sick, or they are living in a stressful or dangerous situation that puts them at risk.

A special thanks to Maria Grega for presenting us to the 100 Women Who Care.  We appreciate your present and past support as you have helped us in many ways.  You have helped us with our medical screenings, you have brought special donations (the children really loved the PJs!) and you and your friends put on a great picnic for our staff and children this summer.

Everyone working together can do so much to help those who need it.  Working together we do make an impact.

Thanks to 100 Women Who Care About Lorain County. 
Thanks for making a difference in the lives of our children.

Sr. Mary Berigan
100 Women Who Care About Lorain County