Hey everyone! I hope all my friends out there are doing well: I decided to take a little break from the blog after the awesomeness that was the 3forCHD Project…but now I’m back! So you might be wondering – how did the 3forCHD Project go? I have to say it was fantastic, inspiring, moving, exciting, and all sorts of other great adjectives. People all over the world participated and shared on social media and on our Facebook event page and it was just really touching to see how people were joining together to do some good in their world. People bought food for others, shoveled snow, made cookies…it was just incredible. I also wanted to share a little bit about how it went for my family:
We kicked off early as my oldest son Hudson was really excited and wanted to set up a free drawing station at the 7th Street Public Market in Charlotte. It’s a busy place where people can come and get food from all sorts of different vendors and it’s a place we love to go. So Hudson set up shop and made drawings that he gave away to people to bring smiles:
He did a really nice job and I was really proud of him for being so kind and for helping share information about his little brother’s CHD.
A couple days later while in the drive-thru for Dunkin Donuts, I decided to pay for the couple behind me – they got the hook up:
Hudson was at it again as we both volunteered at a friend’s church for a program they have called Room at the Inn: they bring in homeless people from a local shelter and give them a home-cooked meal, showers, a warm bed, and a roof over their heads for the evening. Hudson is really passionate about helping the homeless, which is amazing for a 6 year old. He worked really hard setting up beds and helping serve food:
Finally, Hudson brought some chocolates to his teacher:
One of the activities I did was to volunteer for a few hours at one of my favorite organizations called Bright Blessings. They provide birthdays for homeless kids in the Charlotte area, and it’s since expanded into providing snacks at schools for kids who may not have them, toiletries, and even baby supplies for new moms who don’t have resources:
I spent most of my time prepping goodie bags for the birthday parties and then moved to packing snack boxes that would go to the local schools:
I can’t say enough about how much I love what this organization is doing!
Our family continued to do some other kind acts together, like giving chocolates to our mail carrier and bringing donuts to our local firefighters. The kids especially loved that part…sorry, I didn’t get pictures for that one!
Next, I was off to volunteer at an organization here in Charlotte called Project 658. They provide resources and support for our refugee community. It’s easy to see why this population needs a lot of help, especially lately. My task for the day was to assist with their free store, where clients received credits each month so they can come “buy” clothes. It encourages them to learn budgeting and some responsibility:
I spent the time sorting clothes and hanging them up and chatting with shoppers…I found it was a great way to help them with their English, since many of them were in ESL classes as well. There was also a sewing class going on in the back, which was very cool to watch.
My final kind act for the 3forCHD Project just might be the one that had the greatest overall impact on me personally. I collected some food items to donate to a local Mosque’s food pantry: when I was corresponding via email with the Imam, I also asked if I could just spend some time chatting with him and learning about his faith. He readily agreed to have me visit. I’m not a Muslim and what I know of the faith is really just the few things I learned at school, so it was a very cool experience to go to a mosque – I’d never been to one before – and learn. Everyone there was so friendly and welcoming and made me feel very comfortable. The Imam gave me a crash course in Islam before inviting me to observe their prayers. As I sat in the back of the room, I felt very privileged to get the chance to be there and watch all this happen. I got to see all these people – from different backgrounds, different races – standing shoulder to shoulder and praying together. It was peaceful and very moving: I was so glad to get the chance. Afterward I chatted with the Imam some more and someone brought me some Pakistani tea, which was AMAZING. I’m not a tea drinker but this stuff was fantastic. But aside from the tea, it was such a great experience:
Around the time I did this, there was a lot going on in the media with the travel ban and a lot of fear of Muslims. I wanted to do this to show people in my community that our Muslim friends are just like us: nothing to be afraid of. In fact, lots of Christian churches could stand to learn from the kindness I was shown at that mosque. I firmly believe that we need to build bridges, not walls!
Overall, the 3 for CHD Project was a really great success: we got to do kind things for others while spreading the word about CHDs. I truly believe it has an impact and I can’t wait to do it again next year! Are you with me?
And if you didn’t get to participate this year, don’t worry: don’t relegate kindness to one week in the year. Make the 3forCHD Project a living thing that goes on and on and on! Keep being kind, never stop!