Friday, December 01, 2006

Giving Back at the Shelter

Women at Seattle's Union Gospel Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter make Caregiver Kits.

Ryan Smith is assistant editor with World Vision’s publications department. He graduated from Seattle Pacific University in June 2006. All photos by Jon Warren, photo director for World Vision.

Braxton, 4, enthusiastically loaded towels, soap, and other items into plastic containers—World Vision caregiver kits. “We’re helping sick people in Africa,” she announced.

When Braxton finished one, she pulled her mom back to the front of the line of assemblers. “She’s put together at least 12 containers,” her mother, Jamie, said with a proud smile. And the pair made at least five more before the supplies ran out.

In less than two hours, women at the Union Gospel Mission Women and Children’s Shelter put together 500 kits for caregivers across the world who take care of AIDS sufferers. The supplies in the kits are basic—things like notebooks, pens, soap, towels, gloves, and a flashlight—but their impact on the quality of care in rural villages is profound.

This was the first opportunity for the women of the shelter to create something that helps other people, said Gloria Hall, the director of the shelter. “I knew the women would love to do this because they love to connect with people.”

The Women and Children’s Shelter houses up to 90 people, providing short-term care and long-term rehabilitation for women and children in Seattle. “We try to create a safe environment for the women to heal and get back their dignity,” Gloria said. “[Creating these kits] is something that gives them dignity, because they have something to offer.”

“We don’t get many opportunities to do things like this, so it’s good to be able to give back,” said Maria, a woman with a big smile and overflowing enthusiasm. “We’re very blessed here, at the Union Gospel Mission and in the United States.”

Another resident, Nancy, was glad to have the opportunity to help. “I used to work with Alzheimer’s patients, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to help people,” she said. But making the “gift boxes” for caregivers was a good way to do that again.

When the work was done, Gloria said, the ladies asked for the opportunity to make more caregiver kits. “These women, even though they’re in poverty, are the most giving people.”

- Ryan Smith

- Back to Top -

No comments: