For our January KindCraft event, Ascension Catholic School in Overland Park, Kansas hosted over 250 KindCrafters for a service project called Socks of Love. Families filled socks with the following items: soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, bottled water, a granola bar, and a razor.
Ascension Catholic School Eagles worked hard to collect the supplies for our project and several 8th graders even helped to set up the event.
About 80 families gathered on a VERY cold evening in Kansas. We loved hearing the kids expressions as they walked into the room for the event:
"Wow! That is a lot of stuff!"
"Look at all that soap!"
It truly was an impressive site!
The night began with families discussing questions such as:
What does it mean to be homeless?
What can you do to help the homeless?
Why are people homeless?
What do homeless people look like?
Can children be homeless?
We discussed how cold it was walking into the building, which only took a matter of minutes and compared that to what it would feel like being outside all night.
A representative from Catholic Charities talked with the kids about what it means to be homeless. She showed them pictures and explained that being homeless can mean various things-not just the typical picture of a person lying on a bench in a park.
She explained that some of the socks would be donated to the Shalom House. For more than 30 years, Shalom House has offered shelter and hospitality to homeless men in Kansas City, Kansas. Originally started as a Catholic Worker House, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas assumed operation of the house in 2008.
Each day, Shalom House opens its doors to 24 men of all faiths in need of shelter, food and companionship. Services are provided at no charge and include a safe place to sleep, eat dinner and breakfast, shower (toiletries and other necessities provided), do laundry and get clothing. In addition, men get employment assistance as well as referrals for medical care. Most of all, the men have the support of people who genuinely care about their life and future. They find the resources and the encouragement that they need to help them develop a plan to successfully transition to permanent housing.
Once the kids had a solid understanding of WHY we were doing this project and WHO would benefit from it, it was time to assemble!! Instructions were given and the kids were eager to get started :)