Wednesday, September 26, 2007

4-H Volunteer Project: Grace Place

Our family recently learned about a wonderful home called Grace Place that offers a temporary residence (up to one year) without cost to women - with or without children - who are in transition from homelessness. Right now they are hosting a family that includes a mother, her son and her newborn daughter as well as a refugee family of 9 from Burundi. One of there biggest needs right now is for fall and winter clothes for the kids in the home. Below is a list of the sizes they are looking for, items can be new or gently used. Anything the families at Grace Place can not use will be passed on to the 5 other Burundi refugee families in our area (information about why these refugees are in our area is at the bottom of this announcement).

Here is the list and information that Joyce sent me:
14 YEAR OLD BOY wear size 16 bottoms and 16/18 tops

13 YEAR OLD GIRL wears women's small top. She has a small waist but a curvacious rear. Size 14 fit in the length, but the waist is big and the hips tight. We ended up with a size 7 jr but they are a bit big in the waist but the hips fit and we needed to shorten them.

11 YEAR OLD GIRL weats size 12 girls top and bottoms

9 YEAR OLD BOY wears size 8 boys top and bottoms

5 YEAR OLD BOY wears 4 bottoms and tops

3 YEAR OLD BOY wears size 3 bottoms and tops/can also wear some 4 toddlers

2 YEAR OLD BOY (in November) wears 2 toddler

NEWBORN GIRL (born in July) will need 3-6 and 6-9 month winter clothes

They also need clothes for the adults in the refugee family. Mom wears a size 10. Dad is small. His slacks are 31 w x 29 l.

They have enough clothes for now, but will need some long sleeve shirts and heavier long pants when the cool weather comes. Since they are from Equatorial Africa, they think 70 degrees is COLD! Sweaters will be appreciated too. At some point we will need thermal underwear for them, winter coats, gloves, hats and boots.

A little background on the family of 9: They are one of five families who have come from Burundi in the past two months. They all have kids of assorted ages and sizes. What our family doesn't need we will pass along to the others.

The reason there are so many families at this time is that the U.N. ruled it would be unsafe for them to go back to Burundi from the refugee camps they were in, so they asked many countries to take thousands of them. The US was one of the countries that responded to their need. One of the difficulties of this nationality is that their language is only spoken in their small country and most of them do not speak any other language. There are only a coupld of interpreters in Cincinnati. The dad of our family does speak French and a little English, he is rapidly learning more. The kids start school at an English as a second language school in Cincinnati this week, so hopefully they will learn quickly, but I am sure they will experience a lot of frustration without dad to help them understand us Americans.

Other items the home is in need of: pillows, simple green cleaning concentrate, mops, brooms, sponges, dust pans, 10 lb packages of baking soda, body lotion (urgently needed), disposable diapers (size1 and size 4), toothbrushes and toothpaste, bars of soap and feminine hygiene products.

Deanne, Sarah, Chris and my gang headed over to Grace Place to volunteer. The older three (Brett, Hannah and Sarah) went with Joyce to go and disassemble shelves that had been donated to the home while the rest of us stayed at the house and cleaned windows, sorted clothes and raked leaves. Joyve was gone with the older teens MUCH LONGER than we thought she would be, but despite that, all of mine want to go back and volunteer again.

The mom with the teen and infant daughter have been able to get their own apartment, and the home has taken in two new guests, a brother and sister also from Burundi.

When Joyce was gone, we realized that none of the teens had their cellphones with them and that we didn't know (1) where they had gone or (2) what kind of car Joyce was driving! When we couldn't reach Joyce on her cellphone, I think both Deanne and I were a bit paniced, wondering just how we could explain to anyone that our teens had left with someone we really didn't know! Of course it all turned out fine, we were able to reach Joyce on her phone about 15 minutes later and we found out when she would be back with the teens!

We were fortunate enough to meet the entire family from Burundi, the children are beautiful and seemed very happy. It was adorable to watch the little ones (ages almost 2 and 4) interact with the kids.

No comments: