Beyond Ourselves

In an attempt to expose my girls to a world beyond their own, we spent Saturday morning at a community service project at our church. It was ‘extravagent giving’ clothing outreach where we gave away free clothing (infant through mens) to those in the community.
I was careful to preface it by explaining that they would see children and adults that are less fortunate than they are… some may not have homes, cars, money, family, or the means to purchase new clothing. 
They seemed to take it all in, asked a few questions, but within the hour were walking up to children and helping them find clothes which were sorted on the many tables.
Britton walked up to one little boy and said, “I wear a medium. You look like you wear a medium too. How about this shirt?” as she held it up to him.
*Photos courtesy of our pastor

It was a humbling experience indeed. A mother, who looked about my age, arrived with her two precious little girls. She was very thin, and looked to be sick. Her girls, were about the same ages as mine–although while Kenley sported the latest pink Mary Jane crocs, her daughter walked in barefoot. Barefoot. She was very nice, and was looking for warm clothes for her girls- we sorted through the remaining clothes, but the plethora of clothing that took the volunteers days to sort, was quick to make it into the shopping bags and by then didn’t have quite the selection as the aisles of Target.
I wondered where they went when they left with their bags, literally walking barefoot down the sidewalk- since most people arrived today arrived on foot.  And here I had worried that parking might be a problem- how naive.

Later in the morning, a little girl, about Kenley’s age, selected a t-shirt to put in her plastic shopping bag, and Kenley looked at her and said, “That’s not for you, that’s for the homeless.”
Pulling her aside, I reminded her that we are not to use that word, nor are we to ask anyone if they are homeless. She nodded obediently, and skipped away to continue her mission of bedazzling the church volunteer’s name tags.  I think she was curious what ‘homelesness’ looked like, trying to see if she could decipher who was, and who was not… literally.
Britton, like her Sassy, had yet to met a stranger and seemed oblivious to the material, and social, gaps in those that surrounded her this morning. 
As we left the church, I am reminded that I need to make it a point, to continue to expose my children {myself included} to those less fortunate so they can give back to society, and have a heart filled with compassion.