Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sacrificial Hospitality: Week 2 RESULTS

When I headed into town with my 4-year old, it was still dark out and very, very rainy. To be honest, I would have just as soon delayed my errands for another day. I mean, it's not like we were OUT of milk. I could scrounge out another day or two with what we had...

But I had a mission. I had care packages to deliver. And what better day to spread some cheer than a gray, dismal, rainy one?

I had assembled our goodie bags earlier in the week and was all set to deliver them. I was excited, but a little anxious. What if other parents thought I was presumptuous? What if I tried to give one to someone and received a lecture on the corn syrup that was likely in that granola bar? I probably could have talked myself out of the whole idea during the 17-mile drive into town if it hadn't been for the constant singing going on between my son and me!

I used Hefty One-Zip bags to hold the items. I had picked up a box of these for free with a coupon. (Long story, but I bought a box one time and they were all defective. The company, in a true show of excellent service, paid me to send the defective bags to them AND sent me three free product coupons. Anyway...) In each bag, I slid a book (Beatrix Potter classics were clearanced for a quarter at our Target!), a couple coloring pages (I opted for doctor themes), four crayons, and a granola bar. Confession? Those crayons are "restaurant crayons"- the freebies they give you along with the kid's placemat? We don't go out to eat a whole lot, but every time we do we seem to collect more and more of those things. They're not new or pristine, but they still work! And, quite frankly, the ones I usually dole out in the waiting room have all been used too; I've yet to meet a child who cares. I actually usually make our granola bars, but these Fiber One bars were a fabulous deal and I thought strangers might feel safer with factory-packaged treats. I mean they don't know me like YOU all know me, right?? ;)

Sorry about the glare! I love that doctor pic- he looks so trustworthy! Actually, he kinda looks like my dad...

I had made up a half-dozen of these bags and that ended up being just about perfect! I was able to give two of them to the harried mom of twin newborns with two more kids about 3 and 5. I think because it was rainy, people seemed even LESS likely to be prepared. I could envision these poor parents dashing out the door with their sick little ones just trying to get to the car without getting soaked to the skin.

I received so many thanks and smiles... my son was absolutely delighted! He was so proud to hand them out. One woman gave him a Hershey's kiss as a thank you. It is true that one parent seemed afraid that I was selling the things and she seemed stunned and skeptical that I would just give it to her child with no strings attached. Again, this made me realize how infrequently we see such little displays of hospitality...

"Hospitality is a mark of affirmation, a signal that someone is special, like the ribbon bow on the baby shower invitation or the gold ink used to announce the retirement party. Little touches, big impact."
-Chirstine Capecchi
"A slice of pumpkin bread: How hospitality heals"

How about you? Did you find a little way to make someone's life slightly easier? Were you able to meet an unspoken need? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
Be sure to stop by later today to see my challenge for Week 3.
To read what my Lenten journey is all about, see this post.


Amy @ Finer Things said...

This is so cool. Seriously. Can't wait to see what you do next!

Rochelle said...

Really great idea. I always try to brighten up our "Cry" room before Sunday Mass by looking through the box that is filled with books, toys, crayons, etc. I know when my kids were little, they loved to see what new things were in the box when we had to use the room. Now that I think about it, they probably acted up just to go to the room!

liz.preemiemom said...

I love that you chose to do this. The last time we were in the waiting room I was thinking of you because a little girl was whining to her mom, "there's no toys" (taken out for RSV season) and asking her if there was anything she could play with. My little preemie (now almost 10 months and 15 pounds) was sitting there playing with a rubber duck and a bath book, and all of the kids kept coming up to her. It made me feel bad that I felt I couldn't let her "share" in fear of all the coughing and sneezing.

Tara aka "Mama Koala" said...

This is a great idea! I'm going to be making some Easter baskets for some new members of our church--for their kiddos. My good friend (with whom I used to have a gift basket business) recently passed away. I am doing these "in her honor"...I think she would like it:-)