Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Christmas Box and Teddy Bears ~ a Great Day for Service

“Hugs should be available at the medical stores 24/7. Sometimes, they are the best healers for almost everything.” ― Minhal Mehdi

Betty Q

Ardis, Lynn, Betty, Carolyn and Kathy
We met Betty Q and Lois Kt the Christmas Box Project Room (located in the State Government building east of the courthouse in Provo).  Betty is the President of the Utah County Christmas Box Club, and Lois is the Vice President. The Christmas Box Club serves kids in foster care in Utah County.  

The Project Room is jam packed with things kids would need who were being removed from their home and being placed in foster care.  The kids do not have time to pack a suitcase and often just have the clothes on their back.  The social worker can bring a child to the project room and get socks, underwear, shoes, school clothes, pajamas, a blanket, hygiene kit, etc.  We also saw backpacks, strollers, car seats, diapers, sippy cups, binkies, etc. in the project room.  Our group was donating summer pajamas.  I noticed that a couple of the bins that were supposed to have pajamas in them were empty, so our donation was very timely.  We estimated that We Can donated about $168 worth of summer pajamas the day of our visit.  Because the project room is not large, Betty and Lois were in the process of putting winter clothes into storage and putting out the summer things. The project room is well organized.  Everything is put in a baggie and then in bins that are labeled to make it easy for the social workers to find the size they need for each child.  While we were there, a social worker stopped by who has worked in the state foster care system for 25 years.  She is a supervisor over the social workers in Utah County.  She spent a few minutes talking to us about the foster care system and about the valuable service/partnership the Christmas Box Club provides.  She told us that when she started working 25 years ago, most children were removed from their home and placed in foster care because of abuse whereas now 90% of the kids are removed from their home because their mother is abusing drugs (and so the children are neglected). WE CAN has done several projects for the Christmas Box Club.  We've collected binkies and sippy cups; summer clothing; summer pajamas; receiving  blankets for babies born to drug addicted mothers (these are the blankets that needed to be a certain size because the babies are swaddled a particular way by their foster parents).  Our hooded bath towel project was also for the Christmas Box Club.  We could tell that Betty and Lois are passionate about helping the kids that are served by the Christmas Box Club.

After we had toured the Christmas Box Project Room, we headed over to Project Teddy Bear.  Project Teddy Bear meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at a stake center on Timpview Dr. in Provo (right next to Rock Canyon Elementary School).  They meet from 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  The head of Project Teddy Bear is Ruth Brasher.  Lynn became acquainted with Ruth working at the temple.  Project Teddy Bear donates homemade Teddy Bears to the Children's Justice Center.  The Children's Justice Center works with children who are victims of sexual abuse.  Project Teddy bear donates between 60-75 bears a month to the Children's Justice Center!  They've been doing this for more than 20 years and have donated thousands of teddy bears over the years. It's sad to think that there is that much need.  There are good women who help Ruth sew up the bears ahead of time, then volunteers stuff the bears and stitch them closed. Since they only meet once a month, they need to stuff and complete 60 bears each time they meet.  It was fun to meet Ruth and the other ladies who help her.  We stayed about an hour and 15 minutes and stuffed 9 bears total in that time.  It's time consuming because they bears need to be stuffed very tightly.  It was fun, and I think if we go again, we would get faster at stuffing.  Practice makes perfect!
Ruth is also in charge of the Doll House Festival (held in the fall).  Proceeds from a dinner, auction, and boutique also go to benefit the Children's Justice Center.  We think it would be fun for the WE CAN ladies to do a doll house or at least boutique items.  Those attending were Kathy, Paula, Ardis, Lynn, Carolyn.  We had a great day!

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