The laundry is never done.
My hair is so overdue for a haircut and highlights.
Don’t even get me started on the state of my closets. (And furthermore, DON’T open them.)
As often as such complaints pop into my head, I am fully aware that these are #firstworldproblems, as they’ve been tagged on Twitter.
At least I have money to buy laundry detergent, and machines in my home to wash our clothes. As for my hair? I can afford to get it done; I’ve just been too busy to schedule an appointment.
But parents who aren’t as fortunate–the long-term employed, single moms stuck in a cycle of poverty, folks who have just plain been dealt a bad hand–face daily uphill battles that make mine pale in comparison.
Like the parents of kids at Ethel Taylor Academy in Cincinnati. This school isn’t just near “the projects,” as many refer to urban housing developments. Taylor is situated in the projects, which means an overwhelming number of its students live in poverty and rely on government assistance for much of what they need to get by. About 5% of the students are homeless. When my good friend Karen told me she was fundraising to help their families, I jumped on board.
Karen’s idea was to provide baskets of basic household items (paper towels, detergent, bandages, that sort of thing) as door prizes for Taylor Academy’s National African American Parent Involvement Day event.
In just a few short weeks, she raised $1,740. Which kinda blew my mind. She simply used Indiegogo and asked friends, business contacts and her church to pitch in. Pretty amazing what one determined woman can do, right?
Karen used the money to fill 55 laundry baskets with detergent, dryer sheets, kitchen garbage bags, waste garbage bags, dishwashing liquid, cleaning cloths, scrubbing sponges, disinfectant spray, all purpose cleaner, air freshener, paper towels, tissues, napkins, wet wipes, and alarm clocks.
I asked my friends at JOHNSON’S® Baby if they could contribute any products. As a member of their CARES Council of bloggers, I requested (and received) a donation of 200 bottles of JOHNSON’S® Baby Shampoo, Conditioner and Lotion, as well as 200 packages of BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages. We handed these out in bags like party favors after the event.
The National African American Parent Involvement Day event inspired me. Parents could learn more about how to be more actively involved in their kids’ lives. They also watched their children’s musical and dramatic performances, mostly related to Black History Month.
Oh, how I loved seeing the sweet little kindergarteners sing “This Little Light of Mine” and a teen girl duo perform their rap song about making a difference. I could tell the proud moms and dads around me soaked it all up. They beamed. And of course, the families of Ethel Taylor Academy were grateful for the baskets of household supplies and care packages from JOHNSON’S® and BAND-AID®.
But more importantly, I was grateful for the chance to help them out. And for my 6-year-old to be part of the whole thing. I want do more helping like this, with my kids observing and participating when they can. We both gain perspective on our own lives, and gain more understanding and empathy for others in need.