I've been debating for awhile whether I should share this, I'm generally not the type who says "ooh, look what I did" (Then 'why do I even keep up a blog?' you may ask. I'm just hoping that the things I say are of use to someone out there.) But I decided that this is important enough to share.
Last week while we were running errands my daughter told me that she wanted to buy toys for kids who don't have any. I'm ashamed to admit that my first thought was 'Mommy is trying to save money.' Then I thought 'No, this is the type of person that I want her to be. The kind of person who thinks about the needs of others. I can find a way to make this work.' The first place that I thought of where we can take toys for children without, was the DOVE Center. The DOVE Center is an local emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I called them to see if my plan would be feasible and to find out what things they were needing. They actually were desperate for toys and games and would also appreciate toiletry items and women and children's underwear. Then I took my coupons and let my daughter pick out some toys. We managed to get $10 worth of small toys for $1.83. Then we managed to find several packages of Disney themed underwear on clearance for $3 for a 5 pack and a few packages of plain women's underwear. Then I went through my "stash". In my stash I have many toys and games that I've gotten on clearance or other ridiculously great deals. I also have multiple toiletry items that I have gotten for less than a dollar (often for free) using coupons. I filled an over-sized department store bag with items that all total cost me less than $30 (much of which I had spent previously). Once it was gathered in one place she threw a tantrum because she wanted one of the new games and I tried to explain it was for kids who didn't have anything. She pouted for several hours about it.
A few days later, we took our bag o' booty to the DOVE Center. It's kind of difficult to find, and I suppose it's that way for the safety of its victims. It looks like a nice little place, other than the fact that it's behind a very tall locked chain-link fence. The lady who came out to take our donation was very appreciative of things we brought. My daughter was disappointed because she wanted to give the toys to the kids herself. I tried to explain to her that the kids were hiding inside because they were safe there. I tried to explain that their daddies had done mean things so they had to hide. Her four-year-old mind did not seem able to wrap around this idea. I suppose in some ways that's a good thing. So the experience was not exactly what I had envisioned. I don't think my daughter understands what it means to go without, and she doesn't really understand that there are people out there who are genuinely suffering. But hey, she's four. Hopefully this experience and others like it in the future will help her to be a better person. And the moral of the story is you don't have to have lots of money to help those in need. Coupons can do the job too.