What a great year for Operation You Are Loved! A big thank you to those who donated!!! We had over 100 new stuffed animals donated and were able to spread love to two shelters! Although we heard and saw some hard things this weekend, our hearts were filled as we spread hope and love to women and children escaping abusive relationships, as well as to homeless women and girls that are trying to heal and start a better life. We were told that stuffed animals are some of their favorite things! (Wahoo!!!) They thought that maybe it’s because they are soft and can cuddle with them and find comfort in them. I thought that was so interesting, and showed the level of love and hope depravation that these women feel. It’s hard to comprehend if you’ve never experienced it, but this year’s project opened my eyes a little more.
Our first stop was The Women and Children’s Alliance. This wonderful organization offers shelter and services that help women and children escape and heal from highly abusive relationships. These women are in such dangerous situations that we don’t even know the location of the housing shelter. Everything is kept very confidential and secure.
When we first walked in, these notes were hanging on the wall. Carissa inquired about them and they told us they are notes written to inspire and empower their guests and clients to say NO MORE!
These pictures make my heart double in size! I don’t know where else I’d rather have kids!
Our second stop was City Light, a shelter for homeless women and children. This organization offers incredible services to help women suffering from mental health, addiction, loss, etc. They offer education on jobs and budgeting and help the women get back on their feet. They don’t just give them fish, they teach them how to fish, which we are big proponents of! It was an honor to partner with this shelter!
We weren’t able to take pictures inside the shelter because of privacy concerns, which I was bummed about because seeing it is different than hearing about it, but it really took me back when I saw the 60 beds lined up in one big room. I can’t imagine living like that. The shelter does a great job at keeping things clean, but the proximities are so close. The ceilings are low and the next bed over is only a few feet away. I admire these women that choose to come to this shelter because they are choosing the harder route that will eventually bring greater happiness later. There are a lot of shelters that just give handouts and they don’t offer programs that lead to true and real healing like this shelter does. It was so great to see!
It’s so hard to find projects in the U.S. anymore where young kids can be involved. There are always so many rules and regulations. It’s like they are contaminated or something!;-) This weekend we learned that City Light welcomes little helping hands! I had heard of City Light, but had never taken the time to find out more about it. They have multiple opportunities for kids and families to serve their residence. It’s awesome! After witnessing my girls serve in this capacity, I’d strongly encourage everyone and anyone to take a little time to research what shelters and organizations there are in your local area that allow little and big helping hands. Most nonprofit organizations rely heavily on the community to function. They need you!!!
I think it’s safe to say, that each and every kiddo LOVED being a part of Operation You Are Loved and it was such a great eye-opener to them!
The best thing about this experience is knowing that we spread some love and hope to women and children in seemingly hopeless situations. The next best thing was seeing how happy these kiddos were to help serve. My kids had a lot of questions and talked about how neat it was to help people that didn’t have homes or people to love them.
Thank you to Carissa for leading this project. She did a fabulous job, and to those who donated or were involved in any way! A special thanks to Dan Stone Photography for taking pictures for us at City Light!
If you want to be involved in Operation You Are Loved in the future, or any other Real Imprints’ projects please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to leave our imprints across the world, and we can’t do that without your help!
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