Summer Sun, Summer Fun Baskets, with KindWorks
What is summer without fun? Summer is a break from routines, a time for whimsy, and good old-fashioned F-U-N fun! Imagine the smiles when 1600 kids in over 8 low-income housing and camp locations started summer with bins overflowing with tons of 'fun stuff.'
Though several community centers and organizations throughout the county host summer camps, limited budgets prevent them from refreshing and replacing the tools of summer fun - a.k.a. 'fun stuff.' This isn't something KindWorks likes to hear, so it stepped up to become Angels of Summer Fun! Kindworkers from all over the community gathered truckloads of summer fun gear - bubbles, sports equipment, books, puzzles, art supplies, and toys - that would be delivered to low-income apartments and community partners. So much was gathered that kids who had to be turned away when registration was full, were given string backpacks filled with 'fun stuff' like playdough, coloring books, jump ropes, and books to enjoy at home...
Today, I worked in the basement of a home that was transformed into a warehouse of summer fun. Each corner, quadrant, and free space was designated for a certain type of 'fun stuff' and, believe me, every inch was covered! Here, I helped sort donations so that we could then assemble age-appropriate bins for delivery. Music played, light conversations were had, and a tremendous sense of giving filled the room. During my short volunteer stint, I met the director of one of the recipient camps who explained how helpful this influx of new supplies would be to his program.
Thanks to this project, 1600 kids will have more summer fun. When kids are happy, communities shine! Thanks KindWorks!
My Takeaways: (1) Once again, small gestures can yield big results! Whether you spend $10 at the store or 10 minutes in your garage gathering reusable things, you can make a difference to someone. Here, 1600 kids benefited from this summer collection -- isn't that extraordinary? (2) If collection drives feel too remote, redundant, and anonymous for you, Give and Go. Go to where the collections are being kept, sorted, and/or delivered. Going oftentimes connects you to people who can tell you how your donation will be used. Hearing about programs and interacting with others will make you more invested. (3) Lastly, we often think that if a program exists, it is all that it should be. For example, if the county funds a camp, it is stocked with all necessary tools and supplies and that if someone meets the criterion, they will be admitted. This is not the case and these county-funded programs still need support from the community. We can enrich these existing programs through in-kind and monetary donations and make a big difference. Only when government and people work together can a community be its best.