We always have a lot to be thankful for at Patchwork, but lately we’ve had some special celebrations.
The day before Thanksgiving, Darlene came in at the crack of dawn to bake breakfast casseroles for all of the morning’s visitors. “I’m grateful for everything I have,” she said. “I want to pay it forward.”
By the end of the morning, breakfast was gone and numerous guests, volunteers, and staff had had a warm and filling meal. We’re grateful for Darlene and all of her generosity and hope it inspires others to “pay it forward” as well.
That morning was particularly busy as our guests came in to shower, to make phone calls, and to pick up some last minute food from our food pantry in preparation for Thanksgiving. Two mothers speaking mostly Spanish came for food and we worked to see that they were fed. A woman using sign language received food. Darlene was able to use her own sign language skills to converse with the woman.
I checked whether a man was eligible for a food order, and he was. “I’m gonna eat this week!” he said happily before telling me how grateful he is for the smiles he receives at Patchwork. “A smile means a lot to me,” he says. “Someone like me doesn’t always get a smile everywhere I go.”
The next week, it was the children’s turn to celebrate during our annual Arts & Smarts Christmas Party. It was a special day of caroling with friends from Aldersgate, making Christmas crafts with volunteers from Resurrection School, and sharing a feast provided by the staff of Unit 5100 at Deaconess Main Campus and the Muntzers.
As has been true for many years, the highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity for each child to “shop” for gifts for their families in our Christmas Store. The Store was made possible thanks to our Junior Leaders (grades 6-8), our High School Volunteers, and a grant from Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana. The teens stocked the store during a grand pre-Thanksgiving discount store shopping spree.
At the Christmas Party, each child could chose at least three gifts for their loved ones and additional gifts if they’d had good attendance during the fall semester. A total of 46 children picked out gifts, including little brothers and sisters who are usually too young to come to the Arts & Smarts program and the high schoolers–once they’d helped the younger ones through the store.
Several children familiar with similar Christmastime stores doubling as PTA fundraisers at their schools were concerned that they wouldn’t be able shop for their families because they hadn’t brought any money. It was a gift to tell them that no money was needed. Once the gifts were chosen, they were wrapped and sent home. A grand time was had by all!
The Arts & Smarts Program will resume on Monday, January 5.