This post is coming out a little later than usual, I hope you don’t mind. We were ultra busy today!
A couple of months ago, I talked about how this year for Christmas we wanted to do something for the community. I had a small budget that I was going to be working with, but I knew anything is better than nothing. It also would help teach Pickle about helping others.
In my Blogmas Day 8 post, I talked about the generosity of a few strangers who paid off our layaway. These ladies, who we don’t even know, may not have known what this meant for us. Since we had planned on spending the money on the layaway, we decided to add that money to our small budget for our community project.
I started my quest by researching shelters in our city. I actually was dumbfounded to find there were a lot more than I knew about. I have only heard about the ones who are able to market whether in person or on an ad.
I stumbled upon the Youth Emergency Services (YES) website. YES is an organization for teens and young adults. YES helps “homeless and at-risk youth by providing them with critically needed resources” that empower them to be self sufficient. The type of teens that are in the YES program may have mental illnesses, emotional and sexual abuse making it unsafe for them to be at home, and substance abuse issues.
It didn’t take much for this organization to hit home for me. If you’ve been following me for awhile you will know my struggles with depression and anxiety. When I was a teen, I often thought about running away from home because of my feelings. Secondly, I mentioned before about my younger brother and how his troubled teenage years ended when he went to prison shortly before his 19th birthday.
Being a teenager is already rough. Add in trauma from your household, peer pressure, and internal battles and the fight becomes difficult for many. This program helps keep them fighting even if they feel like all hope has been lost. I know what that feels like. I want them to know there are people out there who have survived what they’re going through. I want them to know they are cared about.
So what did we do?
I got with our best friends and asked if they would be interested in partnering with us for the holiday season in an effort to give a big donation to YES. Luckily we have some very generous, caring, loving, friends who didn’t hesitate for even a second to say yes! It actually turns out, one of them had done some donating to the organization last year through their work, so he knew all about it. My mom and step dad also joined in on the spirit of giving. I am lucky to have such loving generous people in my life!
I knew some items that are needed this time of the year is cold weather gear. My first thoughts were hats and gloves. I found the contact page on the YES website and emailed asking if they accept these things and what else they may need. I got a reply back saying they do accept cold weather gear, especially with it getting colder they are in high demand. They also gave us a list of some other items they are in need of.
On one of our Target runs this past week, I found some gloves. They were 2 pairs for $3. I thought that was a great price! I grabbed a bunch of them. I was excited to finally start putting things together for YES.
Since our schedules have been a little wonky with me working and unexpected delays, we had to wait until this morning to do our final shopping.
In an effort to provide for as many as we could, we decided to check out our local Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores. We wound up finding nearly everything on their wish list at these two stores, plus a few extra items.
Our friends also bought (not pictured) Subway gift cards, pots and pans, wash cloths, a toaster, a drawing set, deodorants, and cleaning wipes.
It feels good knowing where these items are going. I am grateful for how everything played out this year for us to be able to do this. I am grateful for our friends and family who have a giving heart.
As for the rest of today, we are going to take these items to the organization. After that we are going to enjoy an evening with our friends looking at Christmas lights, watching Christmas movies, and maybe playing some games.
I am definitely feeling the Christmas spirit!