“What does love look like?
It has the hands
to help others.
It has the feet to hasten
to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery
It has the ears to hear
the sighs and sorrows
This is what love looks like.”
-St. Augustine of Hippo
Our volunteer coordinator, Meg Miller, pokes her head into my office and asks if I have a minute to meet some young volunteers, the Hibey siblings, who she says, “have done a bit of fundraising for us too.” Just as I begin to say yes, three bright and smiling faces — 4-year old Henry, 7-year old Isabel and 10-year old Grace — pop around the door-frame. Quickly their mom Katie explains, “we’re here today to visit with the Residents and to give you this (indicating a sandwich bag full of money being held by Henry) money they raised at their lemonade stand.”
“Each summer,” says Katie, “the children have a lemonade stand to make a bit of money.” “But this year, after a visit from the Little Sisters to our Parish,” she continues, “they decided to give the money to the old folks.” Grace, clearly understanding the economics of it all, rallies her good friend Abby who is “quite a baker” and together they bake as an extra way to raise money and as a fun thing to do. The girls are so enthusiastic that they add more items to the menu than originally planned and end up spending an entire day in the kitchen baking goodies including brownies and rice crispy treats. Unfortunately, the weather does not cooperate with the children’s plans and they must postpone their fundraising event a few day.
A few days later, the children blessed with a sunny but hot day decide that its go-time. Henry, Grace, and Isabel, along with their good friends the Flynn siblings set up a stand, stock it with lemonade and Grace and Abby’s baked goodies, post a sign that says “All Proceeds Go to the Little Sisters of the Poor” and then open for business. “Everyone gave us extra money,” says a still-amazed Isabel, a second-grader at St. Bernadette. “This is our most successful lemonade stand ever,” adds Grace, a rising fifth-grader also at “St. B’s.”
The children pass, back and forth among themselves, the sandwich bag of dollar bills and coins, agree to pose for a picture, hand to me their donation and then they head off to spread more sunshine by spending time with our Residents. They never break their stride and they never once stop smiling.
As it turns out, there is nearly $43.00 in the bag. Along with their parents matching donation, these young people have raised nearly $100. “I could have just mailed it in,” Katie shares, “but, I like the idea of the children taking the project from start to finish and seeing first-hand the impact of their gift. It really made an impression on them, and hopefully will inspire more ways to give of themselves in the future.”
We are blessed to count this wonderful family and enthusiastic young people – so willing to put the needs of those less fortunate ahead of their own wants and to share their time, talent and treasure – as our friends. Please know that the time you spent with our Residents was priceless and that the money you donated will help the Little Sisters of the Poor continue their mission to care for Washington’s elderly poor.
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.” - Victor Hugo