TOAM families gathered in Brookfield at the end of September to assemble bags for moms who are assisted by CareNet Milwaukee. CareNet is located within the city of Milwaukee and serves 800-1000 mothers every year. The majority of the moms live below the poverty line (considered $11, 880 for individuals) and as such, have difficulty securing basic items for their babies. They are in great need of material items such as new/used baby clothes, strollers, baby toys/items, car seats (within expiration dates), and VOLUNTEERS. The place we thought we could help the most with this project was donating diapers and wipes.
TOAM gathered at Elmbrook Church under the leadership of one of our new KOAM directors, Debby. It was also very special that we had Rachel, Care Net's director, join us for the event. In the end, we helped make 35 bags for these moms in need!
We had a lot of new faces show up to our mission and we really appreciated the positive feedback we heard:
- Parents appreciated the laid back atmosphere and didn't feel judged for walking in late or if their kids decided to play instead of "work."
- It felt good to "give back" without having to leave babies and toddlers at home.
- The inclusion of crafts in our project allowed the kids to give a part of themselves to the mothers at CareNet and that was really empowering to them.
- The friendly atmosphere allows for relationships to be made between parents and their children, which helps to create a mini-community of like minded, caring people.
I'll close with this beautiful reflection from Debby and her husband Nick:
If the little ones don't remember or grasp all of the meaning of what we did, it is a great steppingstone to a lifetime of volunteering and helping others. If kids continue to stay involved, helping will be part of their "norm." That is a goal that I would love to see happen with my family. Giving back is just something that is done.