On Friday afternoon, around 3:30 pm, I announced to one of my co-workers, "I have no plans or obligations for this weekend. I don't think I've had a free weekend since sometime in October!" I was really looking forward to doing a lot of knitting, watching the Colts on Saturday evening, and doing a little house cleaning. Then about 4 pm, James called me to say that we had been asked to help at church with an effort to put together health/hygiene kits for Haiti, and my plans immediately seemed pretty trivial. I felt really blessed to have this opportunity to do something with my own hands, beyond praying and writing a check, to help those affected by this terrible earthquake. And I have to add that with many hands working together, we got it done so quickly that it didn't encroach on my own selfish plans at all.
On Saturday morning James and I went to Holy Liturgy and a memorial for the sister of one of the priests attached to our parish, which was another gentle reminder to me to think of others. Since she lived in Serbia, he was unable to return there for the funeral. Afterward, we learned how to put together the hygiene kits and organized supplies so that we would be ready to teach others how to make them after liturgy today. The congregation all worked together to put together the kits, and in less than an hour we put together about 850. We still need to get a few more supplies to finish putting together 150 more to round out 1000 kits to be shipped this week. It was really a joy to do this, and the hustle and bustle around the hall as everyone pitched in to get it done was fun to experience.
Look here to learn more about what you can do to help Haiti through IOCC, including making health kits or emergency buckets. Recently a staff member from IOCC visited our parish, and he told us that they can never have too many of these kits on hand. It's one of the simplest and most effective things they can do to help people in the immediate aftermath of an emergency. These kits provide a modicum of comfort and dignity to people who have lost their homes and belongings, and they also contribute to sanitation to help prevent the spread of disease after a disaster. We found it so gratifying to do be able to do something tangible to help our neighbors in Haiti, however small, that we are now making plans in our parish to have kit-making days several times a year to make the various kinds of kits that are distributed by the IOCC.
And while I'm talking about IOCC, which is a really remarkable non-profit with extraordinarily low overhead costs, did you know you can select them as your charity at Goodsearch.com? Goodsearch allows you to choose a charity, and each time you use the search engine it donates a penny to that charity. Using their links to web retailers raises even more money for your charity. It lets you see how much money has been raised for your charity each month, and judging by IOCC's numbers, this is a well-kept secret! So mosey on over to Goodsearch, type in IOCC to set them as your charity, and start searching. Also, you may not know this, but if you give money through United Way at your workplace, you can probably direct that giving to IOCC. Click here to learn about it.