i need to be a proud friend and tell you about my friend, rachel bliss. coolest last name, right? we've known rachel for close to 15 years. she and i were pregnant together with our first kids and they were both born on the same day, hours apart. we've stayed in touch all these years.
anyway, she recently started a non-profit named be about bliss. within this non-profit, rachel hopes to provide for the needs of children. last year for christmas, rachel provided an entire elementary school with books for each student. this particular school has 90% of the kids on the free lunch program and many of the kids only eat while they are at school. once rachel found out about that, she decided to put together food kits for all 700 plus kids in that school to take home over winter break so that they would have something to eat while they weren't in school. pretty awesome. when we moved out here to colorado, we began helping rachel with this huge project. i wasn't quite aware of how much time, effort, emotion and struggle we'd all put into this project. at times it was overwhelming, especially for rachel. but we all focused on those little kids who would get the food and it made it worth it.
rachel's kids and my kids put many hours into this project. as moms, it was nice to see our kids put energy into thinking about other people. quite a few saturdays they'd spend with us standing in front of the local grocery store telling people about the project and asking for donations. that takes some guts. many times i'd be talking to people as they kept walking into the store, not very interested in what some random chick was saying. but i'd just keep up with them and eventually they'd hear what i was saying and helped us out. people just need opportunities to be generous and they usually come through. but imagine a kid having the guts to follow that person and talk to them. it was cool to watch. izzy was great at collecting money donations. haha. who can say no to her adorable face? she got quite a few $20 bills. i loved it.
after collecting what we could, we shopped for the rest of the food so that the kits would all be equal. our church ward xmas party even involved helping us put the kits together. many, many hands were helpful in pulling off such a big project.
last thursday we were able to take all the kits to the elementary school. i kept my kids home from school so that they could participate. they handed out the wrapped books to the students. they were smiling just as much as the students. the students were so appreciative of what they were given. rachel hired a man to play santa claus too...those adorable kids lit up when he walked in the room. every minute of it was touching and special for everyone.
this is the link to rachel's website if you'd like to know more.
and i'll just say one more thing about rachel. i've never met someone who thinks about helping people more than her. she's constantly finding ways to improve the lives of those around her. an example of this says it all...a few weeks ago she and i planned on going shopping. she had to run some food to the homeless shelter (see, always giving something) and then was going to come pick me up. she called and said something came up and she'd be about an hour late. no worries. when she arrived at my house, she apologized for being late. this is what she said, "i saw a mom and three kids, about the ages of our kids, checking out of the shelter (they have to check out each day and then come back in the evening to spend the night, first come first served kind of thing) with a grocery bag of belongings. i felt pushed to help her. i was supposed to help her. i took her and the kids to a hotel, checked them in for the night and gave them food to eat while there. i wish i could afford to do more for her. hopefully one night out of the cold in a comfortable place will be okay." she shrugged her shoulders and then she cried for a minute, cause that's what she does...she calls herself a cry baby. haha. i mean for real, who does that? that is christlike love. that is pure service. she's good people, i tell ya!
|rachel sitting outside the grocery store. i think she was going on her 9th hour of being there.|
|rachel's daughter kinsey and my olivia|
|they took their job very seriously|
|see, don't you just want to hand over money to that cute face?|
|rachel and i picking up 500lbs of rice. it's how we have fun on saturday nights.|
|mark's job...moving food all over the place|
|see, it's what he does.|
|books waiting to be delivered|
|santa visiting a class|
|happy little kiddos|