Today I am sore. Yesterday morning I was a parent chaperone to help take my daughter’s fifth grade class to assist Kirkcare, a local organization providing canned goods to area families in need. Many area churches collect for Kirkcare throughout the year, but during November there is a big push for foods for the holidays. My daughter’s school alone collected 4000 cans! We joined volunteers in packing new white boxes with various foodstuffs to be picked up the next day by the families. After the boxes were used up, the remaining food (a lot!) was loaded, using old boxes or cardboard trays, into trucks to be delivered to a central pantry. The fifth graders assisted with filling the boxes and then loading the pickup trucks with the rest of the food. Then we followed the trucks to another church where the pantry was kept and unloaded all, using elevators to bring cartloads down to the basement or walking down two flights of stairs carrying armloads. Even four-year-old Nathan, brother of one of the kids, was happily carrying whatever cans his little self could manage. I have never seen children so happy and eager to do work—and it was HARD work! The kids were sweaty despite the chill in the air and talked about their “rubbery” muscles, yet wanted to stay even later to help unload one more truck on its way in from a school. They had to head back to their own school, though, to catch their lunch hour and get some school work done.
Later that day, when I asked how sore the kids were feeling by the end of school, my daughter commented in a quietly serious voice that she felt good about helping. I was one proud parent. All the kids deserved big hugs for being enthusiastic helpers. There were only three older men unloading, so I don’t know what they would have done without the many strong young arms and legs. They were so thankful.
And so, due to a teacher’s thoughtfulness, a group of youngsters experienced the joy of being useful, the pride of working to provide for those less fortunate. The pain they (and I) feel from worn muscles will be a reminder of a job well done and appreciated. As Mrs. Borman says, you don’t have to look much farther than your backyard to find people who need help. During this season of sharing and caring, perhaps you will find people nearby who could use a helping hand or a cheerful face to brighten their day. Grab the kids, reach out, and share the spirit of the holidays.