Blankets 4 Kids – Keeping Kids Warm in Prescott, Arizona

A sock monkey peers over the top of a fleece blanket, rolled up and tied with a pink ribbon.  Children scream with delight as they scramble for a seat playing musical chairs.  Free hot dogs, coffee and cookies tempt browsing parents as they choose from the many handmade and gently used blankets, jackets and other items at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Mission’s Children’s Day.  The church, located in Ash Fork, Arizona, 54 miles west of Flagstaff and 50 miles north of Prescott, is playing host to Blankets 4 Kids, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that collects and distributes blankets, scarves and hats to needy families in the Prescott area.  
The brainchild of Ron Campbell of Prescott, Blankets 4 Kids serves organizations throughout the surrounding areas, including Head Start, Women’s Shelters, Pregnancy Centers, Police and Sheriff’s Departments and local churches to name a few.  Blankets, hats and scarves are collected from drop-off points throughout Prescott and Chino Valley, see http://blankets4kids.org/dropboxes.html for a complete listing.

 
 
Volunteers collect, clean and sort donations.  Children’s blankets are “packaged” with a stuffed toy and other “surprises” tucked away inside.  One little boy’s face lit up when he opened his hand crocheted rainbow colored blanket and pulled out a soft yellow hat and scarf, just the right size to keep him warm next winter.
 
For more information, to donate money, blankets, hats or scarves, or to schedule an event for Blankets 4 Kids, contact Ron Campbell at 928-541-0483 or 4kid@cableone.net.  Visit the website at http://www.blankets4kids.org.
 
 
 

 

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The Blind Side

Typical upper middle class (is there still such a thing?) soccer mom meets underpriviledged, homeless youth. Recognizes hidden talent and alternataive learning style. Takes child into home to shock and dismay of friends and relatives. Sound like an overused storyline? Possibly, but The Blind Side is based on actual people and events. The names are not changed, but of course the actors are more “Hollywood” than the real people.

Family and child adopt each other and love brings out the best on both sides. Child garners attention of college football recruiters. “Non-governmental-organization” tries to foil child’s chances at a college scholarship, “in his best interests”. Child defies non-governmental-organization and chooses to go to college he picks, despite the fact that it is the college his “white” family endorses. All ends well.

How often do special interest groups become enforcers “in the best interests” of a child, a monority group, the environment, (add your pet peeve here), while really serving only their own best interests? As Catholic Christians we are called to the Works of Mercy – shelter the homeless, instruct the uninformed, feed, clothe, give drink. We are not necessarily called to form NGO’s with boards of directors and large staffed offices to carry out these duties for us. All of which require money to operate. I liked The Blind Side because it shows people doing what people should. Feeding, clothing, sheltering and educating those less fortunate. Not asking for a grant to do it with. Not sending out fundraising letters or taking up a collection at church. Not calling social services and pushing the job off on someone else. Just seeing a child in need, and quietly doing what needed to be done. Amen.

The Blind Side is availabe in several formats at http://www.theblindsidemovie.com//.
No compensation was received for this review. I borrowed the movie from our church library.

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Welcome The Stranger – Immigration Ponderings

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While not usually listed among the Corporal Works of Mercy, Jesus states this command among them in his discourse in Matthew 25:31-46. Specifically verses 35 and 36: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me”. This should certainly leave Catholic Christians in a quandary about how to handle illegal immigration.

I don’t profess to have the answer. I can just share some of the reflections that give me cause to believe that the great state of Arizona has not hit on quite the right solution yet.

flight to egypt

After Jesus’ birth, in desperation, the Holy Family fled Bethlehem. They entered into Egypt illegally, hiding for several years until an angel proclaimed it safe to return home. How did Joseph support them during that time? What if it was today, and the Holy Family were fleeing to the United States? Hoping for a better life or a safe haven from persecution? What if Jesus was born here and Joseph and Mary got deported? Far fetched? Not really.

Throughout the Bible, we find God’s message of love. We are our brother’s keeper. How do we help immigrants achieve what they are hoping for when they cross our border? How can we help them do it legally, keeping families intact? Can we help them improve their lives in their own country, so they can live with dignity and self-respect there? In a world that has little use for the gospel message, it is our duty to be a light in our own little corner. The opportunities will present themselves to each of us today. Lord, help us to recognize them and serve you.

resting on the road to egypt

Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by that means some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

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