Friday, May 12, 2017

Celebrating Like a Mother!

For the fifth year in a row, my amazing friends have helped me put together Swag Bags for mothers in need.  We didn't just make a few this year, we made thirty bags for moms and twenty bags for kids!  For more information on the inspiration behind this little project, read this post or this post. 

In the past, our bags have always gone to the Women's Crisis Center of Northern Kentucky.  I connected with them for my original project five years ago and have since grown to love and admire their mission.  If you missed out on this year's Swag Bags, consider making a donation directly to the Crisis Center for Mother's Day.  They serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Their shelter is anonymous and residents are surrounded by loving, sensitive staff which provide comprehensive services for the women and their children.  It's a phenomenal organization.  I look forward to showering those mamas with gifts each year, because they are truly the forgotten warriors of motherhood.

However, with a growing amount of interest in this project, and after lots of reflection and prayer on the whole issue, I asked friends this year to double our efforts and also support women and children in The Welcome House.  This shelter is for homeless women and children and I am learning some wonderful details about their organization.  I was worried that asking for 30 items this year would be asking too much, but my friends and family totally delivered!  In fact, it was the biggest, most well-attended Swag Bag stuffing party I've ever had and almost all the women involved mentioned that we could go bigger next year!  So look out, year is going to rock your socks off!  

I'd like to send out a HUGE thank you to everyone involved in this project.  The organization is the easy part, but my friends and family did the hard part: the shopping, deal hunting, drop offs, Pay Pal donations, social media sharing, and showing up for the big party to make these bags as amazing as they could be!  I know that our shelter mamas are going to feel so special on Mother's Day!  I can't thank everyone enough.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: the only way - the BEST WAY - to celebrate Mother's Day is to lift other mamas up.  And we didn't just lift the spirits of some mamas in the shelters this year.  I could see the spirits of everyone involved become lifted and lighter as we worked together to serve. Thanks, friends!  Happy Mother's Day!

Here are some picture recaps from the whole project: 

Thirty bags filled up my living room!  Next year we may need to rent a hall!

I forgot to take a picture of all the goodies IN the bags, but trust me....these moms are getting hooked UP!

I thought it would be fun to let all the kids work on the the kid bags.

They did the best they could, but some Moms had to jump in and help get it all ready to go!

Writing out the cards and putting the finishing touches on the bags!

Ten ladies stuffed the bags, but countless more helped make it happen!

Van full of love!

Margot helped Mrs. Tracey load the gifts into the elevator at the WCC.  Albert tried to sabotage.

Sylvia tried to carry four bags down the street in Covington!  It was a tough job.
This project has brought many unexpected blessings, including a slew of new friends through social media, but the biggest one has been watching my kids' hearts grow through giving.  They know what shelters are for and they know it is our job to love the homeless and those leaving a dangerous situation.  In fact, Sylvia would tell you that she's trying to "love fearlessly," and I can tell you that I'm trying to do that, too.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering at the Crisis Center or the Welcome House, check out their websites (linked above) or contact me for more information.  The work I've done with the Crisis Center has broken my heart wide open and I highly recommend giving your time, talents or treasures to this worthy organization!  I plan to work more closely with the Welcome House this year, so I'll keep everyone posted on what I learn.  Thanks again, friends!  Happy Mother's Day!

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