Yesterday a polite young man came into the HOPE Chest of Pekin asking if we could assist him with some clothes and help get his ID. He had just gotten out of prison and all he had were the clothes he was wearing and his shirt had a hole in it. Yes, we could help him with clothes, hygiene products and food, thanks to our wonderful donors of goods and food and funds. Becky, our Food Pantry Coordinator stocked him up on some hygiene products, socks and as much non perishable vittles that he could carry. We had a very nice pair of athletic shoes which we blessed him with. Men’s clothing is one area that we do not have an abundance of. However, he was not picky and was willing to make size 38 pants and underwear work even though he typically wears 34. We gave him a rolling suitcase so he could carry everything back to where he was staying for now.
This young man is just wanting to get a new start and because of your donations - both to the food pantry and to the thrift store, together, we were able to help him on his way to starting afresh.
At the urging of a friend, a young very pregnant woman came into the HOPE Chest and humbly inquired about some help with some baby clothes. Earlier in her pregnancy she had already purchased the needed baby supplies for her soon arriving little girl. But now she found herself in desperate need! Her world had been turned upside down. She had been thrown out of her place and the people she had been staying with had gotten rid of all of her baby supplies she had worked so hard for, new car seat and all! She was now 8 months pregnant and now with nothing!
A friend’s mom had taken her in and brought her to the HOPE Chest in hopes of finding some things to help get her at least started again.
As I asked her what she needed- her reply: basically anything. There wasn’t one ounce of entitlement, only grateful humility for however we could help. Because of our wonderful donors, we were able to provide some clothing, linens and other necessities. I asked her if she had a car seat or bed? She had neither. We did not have a car seat, but a nice pack and play with bassinet had just been dropped off by one of our donors. Tears of appreciation instantly filled her eyes as she covered her mouth.
About this time one of our regular customers Judy Smock, was also in the store shopping. She recognized that we were in the midst of helping this young mom but sensed there was still a need for something. As I stepped away to get some plastic bags Judy pulled me aside to inquire if there was anything in particular this gal need that she could possibly help out with - a car seat. Judy instantly replied, “I want to get her a brand new car seat.” I had the privilege of introducing these two ladies to each other and Judy asked if she could purchase a new car seat for her? More tears of appreciation and amazement at a stranger’s kindness. Even her friend was touched.
As we bagged everything up, I asked this young gal if she would please bring in her new baby once she arrived so we could meet this little one. And Judy piped up with this question: “Could I be her Grandma?” to which this young mama replied “You sure may!”
Thank you to all of our great donors who help make stories like this even possible!!!
Dave Craig, Executive Director, Alice Craig, Office Manager, Sue Kerr, Director of Marketing, Rhonda Greene, Hope Cupboard and the rest of our great staff and volunteers here at The HOPE Chest