Once upon a time, no wait, that’s how fairy tales begin. Fairy tale or not, once upon a time our chapter was young, and our chapter was big, and we didn’t feel the need to be home before dark, or worse yet, in bed by 10. But things change and so has our chapter. It would be easy to sit back and say we’re too old or we’re too small or we’re too tired. But as our chapter has changed, we have found there are still so many ways that we can make a difference.
Halloween 2021 found us handing out candy at a Trunk or Treat event in a local church parking lot. This was a first for us and for 3 hours that evening 4 old Sigma Beta ladies greeted children and their families and soon discovered 20 bags of candy might not last the evening. Although our trunk was decorated with pumpkins, spider webs, and colored lights, we couldn’t hold a candle to the more elaborately decorated trunks. It was obvious that next time we need to up our game.
A local newspaper story on the Coats for Kids campaign caught our interest. All of November, donations of new and gently used coats are collected to be distributed to homeless shelters and community organizations servicing children. This was certainly something we could get on board with and 2 of our members utilized their bargain hunting skills to purchase $100.00 of coats in varying sizes which were later delivered to the Volunteer Center for distribution.
We didn’t need to look far for a December project. For many years we have helped a family served by a local agency have a brighter Christmas. Our 2021 family was a mother & two teenage daughters. Armed with a list of sizes & needs, three members purchased clothing, boots, baking sheets & utensils, sheets, towels, & personal hygiene items at a cost of $200.00. And to top it off a $100.00 Walmart gift card! Three hours of shopping then turned into 2 hours of wrapping by all of us. Beautifully wrapped and tied with bows, the gifts were then delivered to Whitington Homes for the family.
In February we learned about the Pajama Project sponsored by our local Long Term Care Ombudsmen agency, where pajamas are collected and distributed to local nursing home residents. Armed with their shopping expertise, 3 members shopped for pajamas which then received a beautiful ribbon & a cheery note from our chapter. Thirteen pairs of pajamas for both men and women were purchased at a cost of $150.00 & delivered to the Ombudsmen office for area nursing home residents. Again, a new project we are looking forward to next year.
Our focus then transitioned from nursing home needs to baby needs when Associated Churches kicked off their Baby’s Closet campaign in April. Having given to this cause in the past, no discussion was necessary at our meeting and we voted to spend $150.00 for the Baby’s Closet. This program allows for low-income families and those experiencing hardships to obtain much needed baby supplies by redeeming coupons earned for completing programs on nutrition and parenting, keeping prenatal and well child appointments, attending childbirth classes, or simply by continuing their education. Once again our diligent shopper members purchased bottles, washcloths, diapers, baby wipes, crib sheets, lotion and diaper cream which were delivered to Associated Churches on the day of the ribbon cutting of a newly renovated home to the Baby’s Closet.
While our city has a number of shelters and safe places for homeless men and women with children, it lacked a place for single homeless women. Earlier this year we learned of St. Joseph’s Mission which provides emergency shelter and resources for women to live individually and collectively with others in a safe environment while networking with local businesses and social services for employment and self-sufficiency. From their website’s Wish List, we were happy to purchase 50 all day bus passes at a cost of $150.00.
While attending a Volunteer Opportunity fair we learned about Project 216, a non-profit humanitarian food aid organization, derived from Kids Against Hunger. On June 4 three members joined 70 other volunteers for two hours at a Summer Public Packing Event where over 21,000 Nutri-Plenty meals were packaged to be shipped to the people of Ukraine. What a rewarding experience this was and one we hope to repeat in the months to come.
The summer months come and go so quickly and soon we were in the midst of Back to School sales. Once again our chapter voted to buy needed supplies to donate to our city’s school corporation. Book bags, pens, pencils, notebooks, calculators, notebook paper, crayons, glue, and disinfectant wipes totaling $150.00 were purchased in July and delivered to the school’s collection site.