Day #11: Give with Family Life Center in New Braunfels, TX

Quite a few people have asked us how we manage to volunteer with two small children in tow.

The answer? We’re still learning that ourselves.

That said, our answer so far is that…we just DO.

Today, we spent two and a half hours at the Family Life Center in New Braunfels, Texas. It’s an organization that connects temporarily under-resourced and/or unemployed residents of the community to churches, charities, and agencies in the area. They also have an on-site food pantry and clothes closet.

We inventoried and sorted clothing into boxes – men’s, women’s, kids, and linens. At first, the girls handed us clothes and our 4-year-old helped label the boxes with a marker. After a little while, they lost interest in the task and sorted through the donated books. They also chased each other around the courtyard.

In fact, about an hour into the project, our almost-2-year-old lost her shoe down the gutter outside. A service guy on the premises came around w/ a forklift and Tim crawled down into the sewer to get it. Never a dull moment around here.

We made quite a bit of headway in the room – organize, tape up boxes, repeat. When we first got started, our 4-year-old said, “This isn’t very fun.” We ended up having a good talk about how giving isn’t always fun or glamorous or sophisticated. It often looks more like beat-up tennis shoes than it does sparkly high heels.

P.S. When you donate clothing to your nearest goodwill or center, please do try to give unstained, freshly laundered items. I promise the poor do not want your mismatched socks, poopy underwear, and heavily soiled garments. And all of the volunteers across America say? AMEN.

Comments

  1. Doddie Householder says:

    Not in America (in South Korea), and also not American (Filipina married to an American) but still saying:

    AMEN!

  2. Here's how our family volunteered today. It involves a sewer, poopy underwear, and boxes. http://bit.ly/fhQMQA #GiveEveryDay

  3. I have wondered about volunteering with small children. I had heard that some places don’t let small children in to help. I guess this is where looking into places is helpful. Really? poopy underwear donated. That is disgusting.

    • I’m sure every organization is different. We always try to emphasize on the phone that we will have our two young daughters with us…to ensure that there isn’t any miscommunication.

      Volunteering with a 23-month-old and a 4-year-old definitely creates extra challenges AND requires extra patience…but it’s also very rewarding.

  4. Amen!!!

  5. Seriously? What are people thinking when they donate? It’s like they think charities are just their personal dumpsters.

    The gutter story is priceless!

  6. I love what you are teaching your girls through this! Growing up as an MK, my parents taught us to be “givers”, not forcing us but just by teaching us through their own lives and through situations around us….much like you guys are doing. It has shaped who I am today, and I know that my sister would say the same. Your girls will come to KNOW the rich treasure you have invested into them during this season as they grow older.

    • P.S. I HAD to add this! A missionary friend of our received USED tea bags one time in the mail. The donators’ thoughts…….you are a missionary so you could anything {and not complain, right?}! OH BROTHER!!!

      • Oh my. That is TERRIBLE.

        I’ve been really convicted lately about the quality of what I choose to give to the poor. I don’t want to just give the last/worst of my things. I want to give GOOD things – healthy food, stylish clothing, working appliances, etc.

  7. I love your answer “so far… we just do!” Noted. Thank you.

    What a great lesson for the girls to learn and a beautiful way to teach. We spend so much time filling ourkids lives with fun that it has to be infinitely valuable for them to learn that sometimes the most important things are not fun. The beat up tennis shoes analogy (or simile?) is just perfect.

    Poopy underwear? Seriously? (Have to admit, I LOL’d just a teensy bit).

  8. I’m wondering if you know anything about clothing recycling centers…I’ve heard those are terrific places to take clothing that is really in too bad of shape to be worn. But I don’t really know anything about them. When my clothes are unwearable, I throw them away…but I still feel bad about it!

  9. Definitely never a dull moment! Glad Tim was able to rescue the shoe :)

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