This is how we did during October:
- Take 1 bag of food to the food shelf. This month we decided to donate boxes of bandages instead of food. Non-food items are needed as much as food since often times these necessities are as difficult to purchase on a limited income.
Olivia with the boxes of bandages.
Most likely, the food shelf will divide the boxes into smaller units so more families can have some bandages on hand.
- Volunteer 1 hour at a community organization that is chosen each month (can be the same one or different one).
This month the girls carved pumpkins at their 4-H meeting with other club members. This is a project that the girls have done for several years now that they enjoy doing.
Sophia carving a pumpkin.
Last year when we delivered the pumpkins, we were told that the ones with the happy faces would be used in the courtyard by the unit where people who have Alzheimer's Disease and dementia live. The scarier-looking pumpkins can often frighten the residents, so they like to display happy things in this unit.
Olivia carving a pumpkin.
On a personal note, I was happy to see there were quite a few happy pumpkins this year. This is an issue close to my heart since my Dad (the girl's grandfather) had Alzheimer's Disease and died earlier this year (on January 5, 2012).
On Wednesday, we - along with another family from the 4-H club - brought the pumpkins to Parmly Care Center and put them in various courtyards.
The girls with another 4-H club member.
They are in one of the courtyards at Parmly Care Center
where they placed the pumpkins that club members carved.
Both the staff and residents were delighted to see the pumpkins, and were so appreciative of the children's efforts.
Olivia by the pumpkin she carved.
The other project we did was volunteer at the Sharing Shop and helped get the quarterly sale set up. The shop and sale is sponsored by a local church.
Throughout the year, they collect clothing and household items. Then, each quarter they offer a giveaway in which anyone who comes in can take a bag of clothing for free. Additional bags are only $1. If you volunteer, you are able to take as many bags of clothing and other items that you need.
Sophia zipping up a coat before she puts it on the rack.
We were assigned to work on coats and winter wear. There were at least five racks and a table packed with coats, ski pants, hats, and gloves by the time we were done.
Olivia going through the coats and
determining what size hanger should be used.
The fellowship hall was filled with tables and racks of items, and ready for the public by the time we left.
- Donate 1 bag of clothing to a second-hand shop.
We went through the girls' coats from last year and donated ones that they no longer could fit into. These were donated to Family Pathways.
Two bags of clothes that were donated to Family Pathways.
They also found a small bag of clothing that they no longer needed that they were ready to pass along to others who may need the items.
- Donate 1 bag of toys and other non-clothing items to a second-hand shop.
The larger black bag in the photo above included some household items that we no longer needed.
- Donate 12 books that we no longer read to organizations needing books.
We donated 35 books to Family Pathways. These were books that were not ones we could use for the library that we are creating in Lesotho, Africa, through the African Library Project.
35 books that were donated to Family Pathways.
- Donate $12 to an organization that helps individuals, animals, or the environment.
This month we did a 13-day Countdown to Halloween. On one of the days we focused on owls. We decided to visit Warner Nature Center since they have owls there.
When we arrived, there was a volunteer who was working with the owls and raptors there. She came out with one of them, introduced us to it, and explained why it couldn't be released into the wild.
One of the owls at Warner Nature Center.
We chose to sponsor one of the raptors there by donating $20. Sophia wanted to pick the American Kestrel.
The kestrel arrived at the Raptor Center in August 2002 after being found on the ground after the tree he was in fell. A human took him in and raised him for a few weeks, but by that time he was already imprinted on humans. So, it now doesn't know how to hunt, defend its territory, or do other things a kestrel in the wild would do.
The donation will help provide food, shelter, and care to the kestrel over the coming year.
- Write 1 letter to someone who has made a difference in our lives.
I wrote an email to Tom H. who was my Dad's Stephen Minister. In the email, I included an excerpt of something my Dad had written when he was going through training to become a Deacon.
It reminded me of Tom's philosophy, compassion, and care he extended to my Dad when he was in the middle and late stages of Alzheimer's Disease.
Tom wrote back to me that what I wrote to him means more to him than I will ever know. My Mom said that he called her after receiving the email because he was so moved by what I wrote to him.
- Donate 1 bag of pop cans to places that collect them to raise funds.
We brought a bag of cans to the collector at Northwoods Humane Society. The collector nearing the top, so once they bring it in they'll receive another sum of money in exchange for the cans.
The girls putting cans in the can collector.
The funds will help the kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs that are at Northwoods until they are adopted.
One of the many cats available for adoption.
Although there were many new animals at Northwoods this month, there were ones we saw last month who were still waiting for homes.
Olivia petting two of the dogs needing new homes.
The one on the left was found abandoned in a ditch with 12 puppies.
The one on the right is at Northwoods because the owner died.
It's always difficult to visit the animals, see ones who are so loving and would be wonderful companions, and then have to leave. Hopefully by the time we return the animals we visited will have found new homes.
- Donate 1 bag of Purina Kitten Chow to Northwoods Humane Society.
We donated a bag of Kitten Chow to help feed the kittens who are at Northwoods. We were surprised by the number of kittens who were there this month.
Sophia with the Kitten Chow we donated.
Normally, spring time is when there are significantly more kittens. However, there seemed to be quite a few waiting for homes this month.
This cat was so playful and kept sticking its paws
out through the bars. It was such a gentle cat.
- Spend 1 hour outdoors doing projects that help wildlife.
We continued to fill the feeders with seed and hummingbird food. Despite the fact that the hummingbirds have migrated, there are two types of woodpeckers who visit the hummingbird feeder regularly - a red-bellied woodpecker and downy woodpecker.
We also made a bird feeder from a pumpkin.
Two of the feeders we filled during the month.
A variety of birds have been visiting the feeder on the mudroom roof. There's a window next to the roof where we can watch the birds while we are homeschooling.
The pumpkin feeder was first discovered by and has been frequently visited by black-capped chickadees.
Some of the many birds that visit the feeder.
These pictures were taken within a half hour
when there was constant traffic to the feeder.
- Make and randomly drop off 1 toy for a child to find as part of The Toy Society. I made a hand-embroidered wool felt robin.
Hand-embroidered robin that I made.
It's the perfect size for little hands- it's small enough to fit into a child's palm.
Hand-embroidered toy ready for someone to find.
I put the robin on the periodicals shelf next to Parenting magazine. Even if an adult finds it, chances are that s/he has a child that would enjoy playing with the toy.
- Share 1 time the gift of music (piano and/or harp) or singing with others.
Sophia played the piano for her grandma when we visited her on October 14th.
Sophia playing the piano at her grandma's home.
Sophia also sang and played the wooden sticks at church on October 28th. Olivia wasn't feeling well, so chose not to perform this month.
Sophia performing at the October 28th service.
I expect to pass through life but once.
If therefore, there be any kindness I can show,
or any good thing I can do for any fellow being,
let me do it now.
~ William Penn ~