Angel Box project…now that the ground is warming up, there is a need for ig trash bags. They used the as a ground cover and then crawl into another one, with all of their things piled inside with them. The socks have been lifesavers! ANd theb lankets were so very much needed. I have a box full from my house and am thinking aout wiring the ox to that metal grid. I haven’t seen any children digging through trash for food. Someone dropped of several dozen of child to adult sized footed pajamas, made out of that non-ravel blanket fabric. They sure looked warm to ME! Also, the Angel box had been started in Virginia, Berkley/Oakland, Seattle, and the Sepulveda basin park and Venice each. They are taking thier cues from us–no giant pilesof items, just small steady stream of things. I hope that the project makes the area around it safer–it has hours. Not to take anything away from other projects who have food and beds and showers and are in the business of helping the homeless, these little flickers of light help those who for whatever reason cannot avail themselves of more traditional shelters. Thank you all so much. One by one, we can make someone’s life easier.
What started out for me was just dropping of our weekly recyclables. We live in downtown in an old whorehouse and everything goes into one giant dumpster. I just want to gift strangers with the idea that at least I considered them valuable children of God. From there, I started putting out the unmatched stocks , the outgrown things that end up on top of my dryer….I even went through my closet and left still good clothes that I never wear. I give, as all the other do, quietly and anonymously. The ox is on the corner of my building and you barely have to slow down when you drop things off. It is the ease and anonymity that is where it works magic in your own heart. Sometimes it is clothes. Sometimes it is Tampax. Sometimes it is coloring and crayons. But each time something is left, it is something usable. No ball gowns. No fur coats and no obviously worn out raggedy things. When it was so cold and rainy here, someone dropped of several bags of blankets and coverlets, packaged in plastic bags so then would stay dry.
People have dropped off underwear for children, warm socks, hats, toys. 38% of the homeless here in my town are children , infants and preschoolers.
Imagine being in third grade and having ratty socks with holes in them. No underwear. Shoes that probably were thrown out into the trash.. No winter jacket and not even a sweatshirt to wear to school. Just eight or nine t-shirts that don’t fit and smell…and yet, this little spirit would go to school because maybe, just maybe, it was a place where your teacher knew you name and it was warm. Those are these real reasons I started this project and why I will continue to do so. Those little faces haunt me. I taught public school for over 30 years and I kept a box of fry socks, dry underwear for boys and girls, with sweatshirts and jackets my own children had outgrown. It was set up so that if by chance you came in from recess just soaked, you could find some warm and dry clothes while you own things dried out next to the radiator. I never asked for them back. And I found many of my students come in quietly and dropped off the kinds of things they knew were needed. No big to do. Just a quiet and quick stop that planted the seed of giving in their hearts.
While I don’t know if it changed them in any way, I know it made me kinder, compassionate and not so quick to make judgements. Every homeless person has een a five year old. Every one of them were in third grade, with sham and embarrassment waiting right around the corner.if all I c ould do was to make my classroom a safe warm and dry space, I did my job. What those children learned from books? Insignificant compared to what they they learned from their hears and how they were able to mold their developing characters.
I still stay in touch with many of my children. They are kind, loving and giving and they are my shiny pennies because they know what it is like to be cold and wet and they know what it is like to give back to anyone less fortunate. They learned to do it anonymously, quietly and kindly.
So when people ask me what I did with my life, I tell them.I was a teacher and I taught my students how to make a difference. What kind of price can I put on that?