It is easy to be swept up in all the busy excitement and forget that December isn't a magic-filled month for a lot of needy kids. It's important to Saunders and I that our kids learn to be grateful for all they're given by helping kids who are less fortunate. Saunders and I have gotten active in our local children's charity organization - Advocates for Bartow's Children. Saunders is a member of the Advocates' Young Professionals group, and we're excited to be working with the group on several activities this holiday season.
We started off our December full of busy activities with an evening of volunteering at the local children's shelter - Flowering Branch. We take supplies to Flowering Branch - they are always in need of staples like toilet paper, cleaning wipes, and paper towels - but this is the first time we've taken the opportunity to cook dinner for the kids. We divided up the work with a few other members of the Young Professionals group, and we delivered the food and served dinner for the kids tonight. We had a big holiday ham, corn casserole, hashbrown casserole, and pumpkin pie. While Saunders and the other men played Spades with the teenagers who live at Flowering Branch, the women served the dinner. Katie Anne was a great little helper - her job was putting ice in glasses. She got a little overzealous and made about 5 more glasses than there were kids, but that's okay. All the teenagers living in the group home absolutely loved Katie Anne ... she was definitely a little charmer when she came around to the table asking, "Who needs a refill? Sweet tea or lemonade (pronounced lem-a-lade)?" After dinner, she and I sat on the couch in the living room and watched a video with a few of the kids. One of the girls had a hermit crab, and Katie Anne was absolutely entranced by that. It was a great way to spend the evening as a family and to kick off the holidays. We're going to be delivering dinner to the children's shelter once a month from now on, and we're really excited to make this part of our family traditions.
Me and Katie Anne in the kitchen just before dinner service began:
If you live around this area, there are many ways that you can become involved through Advocates for Bartow's Children or through the Flowering Branch Children's Shelter directly. I encourage you to look around the great website at www.advochild.org - there's lots of opportunities to volunteer all year long and a special section for "Santa Helpers" who are interested in helping during the holidays. Also, the Advocates Young Professionals are hosting an after-the-parade party at The City Cellar and Loft this Thursday night from 7:00 - 10:00 pm. It's going to be a game night, and tickets are $25 per person. All proceeds go directly back to Advocates for Bartow's Children. If you're not busy on Thursday night, come and play some games with us - I'll be working the front door, so I hope to see you there!