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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Generosity Abounds

Imagine you had a life. And somehow, you made a bad decision and took a hit of meth. And then another. And then you were hooked. The life you knew took a back seat. The chemical balance in your brain made your next hit more important than your husband, your parents, your children. It consumed your life. You broke hearts. Your husband left. You lost rights to your children. You broke the law to get your next fix. You knew it was wrong, but you didn't know how to change it. You went to jail. You hit bottom. You got help. With a felony record, you've finally been clean for a while. You have no job, no money. You are offered a last chance way back to a respectable life.

I belong to a women's "guild" (or club) that supports two transitional houses for women in substance abuse recovery. The women in these houses have hit bottom, and they are clinging to their last chance to set their lives right. They've made mistakes, often big ones, but they are trying to turn around.

Our guild helps in numerous ways. We provide welcome packs of personal items when they first move into one of the houses - things like pajamas, socks, underwear and toiletries. They often arrive at the houses with nothing but the clothes on their backs. We have a "clothing bank" that they can resource when needing clothes for school, job interviews, etc. We collect household donations to help them set up an apartment when the are finally able to secure permanent housing. And most importantly, we can help with first/last month's rent and damage deposits.

One of our members worked with a local salon that volunteered a Sunday afternoon of beauty for the residents. They each got a haircut and style, manicure and pedicure. During the month before this event, the salon had collected toiletries from their clients. When I walked in, I was completely overcome by the generosity of their clients.



Look at all this stuff! I think there was almost as much under the table as on it!


Have you ever seen so many "personal hygiene products" outside of Costco?


That's a lot of toothpaste. Look under the tubes on the left - those are BOXES of more toothpaste!




These were some of the treats we provided during their salon time. The gift boxes were provided by the salon owner - so generous!

One of the wonderful things about our guild is that we get to see first hand what our support does. I wish I could thank each and every one of the salon clients that donated items. I wish I could tell them how some of the women got tears in their eyes when they saw it. I wish you all could have seen them walk into the salon, nervous, self-conscious. And watch it all melt away as they got to escape daily life for just a couple of hours with a scalp massage, a hair cut, and freshly painted nails. And finish up with just a little more self-confidence.

There is good in the world. People are generous. And it's wonderful to witness.

***Ally

7 comments:

blueviolet said...

That is just pure phenomenal!

Erin said...

You just gave me the chills. What a lovely thing to do---what a wonderful guild that you are a part of. You are paying it forward. I wish I could have been there to witness the transformations and the emotions that were in the air....thanks for sharing.

APPLAUSE!

Mindy said...

I LOVED reading this. What an incredible, important group you are a part of. I think it's so essential for us to regularly engage in service so we can keep perspective when the world feels dark and so we can have empathy for others. I am so grateful for the service I've witnessed as both a recipient and participant throughout my life!

Babes Mami said...

Fantastic! I love hearing about things like this!

I also love the picture in the upper right, faces to words!

Artemis Clover: The real L.A. love story. said...

posts like this one reminds me that for every person out there doing harm in the world, there are at least two doing good :-)

Daffy said...

It is not only fantastic that you are a part of this but also that you are sharing with others that it is happening. It helps bring light to the fact that kindness DOES still exist and there ARE generous people helping others and doing good.

We never truly know just how deep or wide the impact of even one single act of kindness...

Helene said...

Posts like this give me chills!!! It is so wonderful to know there are people in this world who will still go above and beyond to help others out. What a wonderful thing you and your club are doing for these women...giving them a lift up when they need it the most!