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But for the grace of God...

Posted Jan 27 2009 8:05pm

So I had this idea. About three weeks before school ended, my son put on a pair of paints and all of a sudden, they didn't seem to fit anymore. They were too short. Overnight, he seemed to have grown a few inches.  I put the pants to the side and decided I'd deal with them once the school year ended.

As I began to pack up things my children could no longer wear I thought what I am going to do with all of this uniform stuff? The economy is bad and I figured there had to be someone in my community that might be able to use it. Boy, how right I was. I asked a few friends to donate school clothes they had for their kids, some uniform, some regular clothes.

We sorted through them all hung them up and made a flier inviting the community to come.  We started at 8 a.m. By 6:30 a.m. the line had begun to form. By the time we opened the doors, the line was 100 strong and wrapped around the building.

I have to say, it felt so good to help people who really needed it. But on one hand, it made me sad. Sad that people needed clothes badly enough to stand in a line for clothes that could have been in any kind of condition (don't worry, we only accepted clothes in good condition and some of what was donated was brand new). Sad that while we had loads of clothes to give away, it didn't seem to put a dent in the amount of clothes the families needed, many with more than one child to clothe.

And I started to think but for the grace of God, that could be me. Anyone who's ever read this blog knows that I write a lot about the joys, experiences and stresses of raising my children, especially my daughter, a special needs child. But you know, my problems pale in comparison to what many of the families I met during the giveaway are going through.

I am grateful that even though it leaves me with less spending money, I can afford to buy my daughter's medicines, even as the co-pays rise. And I am grateful because I didn't have to stand in line for free clothes for my kids and I was able to buy whatever they needed. And I am grateful that I was able to lend a hand to someone else.

I encourage all of you to realize that no matter how bad things may seem, trust me, it's worse for someone else. And I am asking you to help me. If you have school clothes in good condition, you can send them to me. We are opening a "store" if you will. A place where those who qualify can purchase clothes for free and others can buy them at a deeply reduced rate.

You can ship them to me. Send them to: Clothes for School c/o Karin 1002 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Tampa, FL  33603. You can also send us a gift card to any department store. Once we purchase the items, we will send information about the child(ren) your donation has helped. All donations are tax deductible. My sisters and I have a non-profit working with children in foster care. The program is under our umbrella.

If you want to know how to start your own school clothes drives, e-mail me, I'm happy to share.

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