This year Drew’s class is raising money for a charity. The first week they did this he wouldn’t give the money I had given him to his teacher. He insisted that he needed more toys, as if the mounds of toys we have scattered around our house are not enough. This made me realize, to reiterate yesterday’s blog, that I have my work cut out for me in teaching these kids some values.
Last month we started volunteering at The Ark. I had memories of contributing my time there in religious school growing up. The Ark is an organization that provides free social and medical services to Jewish people in need. We spend the first Thursday of every month delivering boxes of food and flowers to families that are in need.
Our first week we received a tour of the facility. They have an office for social services, a doctor’s office, a dentist’s office and a food pantry. They are able to provide services that we take for granted to people who don’t have these services available to them. When we walked into the dentist’s office Drew’s first question was where are the televisions. We had recently been to his dentist who not only has a tv in the corner of the exam room but also on the ceiling (anything to keep those squirmy kids still). It really made me realize how fortunate we are and how out of touch with certain realities we all are.
One of the things that touched me so much was the “sanctuary.” They have a room dedicated to religious events. The director said that there have been countless services of all types performed there. Anything from Bar/Bat Mitzvahs to weddings and funerals were conducted in this room equivalent in size to our family room. I can’t imagine going through such a happy experience or sad time and having to celebrate/mourn in such a circumstance. I was so grateful to see that there is a place like that for less fortunate.
The first time we ventured out to make our deliveries, no one was home at both locations and we ended up leaving the packages on the front stoops. This time we delivered three packages to three different homes where the people were home on all accounts. It was so touching to see these people, real people with real problems and experience the real joy they went through by receiving these packages. I was so happy to be a part of this.
I may never know how to ignore labels, I may always want more things than money can buy and I may always be materialistic. But I now also know what it looks like to have less. And it also forces me to be face to face with how fortunate I have been and continue to be. And my kids may not take away anything more than some people don’t have tvs at their dentist offices. Either way I felt good doing this and I am so happy there is a place in this world like The Ark.