Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Aviana's Elves

This year my plan was to get started early on Aviana's Elves, which included the putting together of a blog note. I know I have previously hinted around a few times, but had yet to put the actual note up, and out. I knew what was causing me pause, but had yet to figure out how to resolve this matter of the heart. 

As I said before, my Uncle Roger had previously volunteered at Loaves and Fishes. His doing so honestly stayed deep within me, and had a hand in the starting of Aviana's Elves. But last year, it made most sense to me in having a connection with the hospitals. 

Well, as John Lennon famously said, "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans," and boy was he right! As it turns out...a funny thing happened, and in the form of a slightly uneasy feeling that gained momentum all the way until the very night of Christmas Eve. 

You may remember, that was the night we had gathered up all those Krispy Kreme donuts. We gave out bags, upon bags, to the homeless surrounding Loaves and Fishes until every last donut was gone. And there was no better feeling. 

I felt this crazy pull of emotions though. We had just spent months gathering, working, shopping, wrapping, assembling, and delivering for Aviana's Elves...so why was I left confused by a feeling which floated so purely, so freely? But there it was, so clear, so plain to see, a force to be reckoned with, the best and most fulfilling feeling arrived from something, and somewhere else...

What appeared was in the form of something spur of the moment, unplanned, and not even a part. It was so unexpected, yet at the very same time exactly what was supposed to happen that night. 

From then, Dave, my mom, and I have gone through the Loaves and Fishes orientation, and Dave and I are going to the interview to become regular volunteers. We are trying to help them, as we feel they are in greater need. 

So this year, and as Aviana's Elves was approaching, I was conflicted. Being in the hospital with Aviana was most definitely one of the very lowest points of my entire life. The last thing I would ever want is to dismiss, or diminish the pain and loneliness of being confined within those hospital walls. 

So at first, and if all went well, my plan was to still include one, of the three hospitals this year, and then put all my other efforts toward the homeless. But truthfully, after I spent a good amount of time researching, talking to different people, and uncovering the real needs at Loaves and Fishes....I truly had a change of heart

One of the things that tugged most was a school for the children of the homeless, which we visited during our orientation. It's called The Mustard Seed. They are currently trying to gather together certain items as a gift for each homeless parent to wrap, and give to their own child on Christmas Day. 

The gift items are for children ages 0-18 yrs old and are: a new toy, a blanket, a hat, a pair of gloves, a book, and a sweatsuit. 

I thought, oh.my.gosh...these are such basic needs! Of course, that's not all, as they have an ongoing Needs List...for always. 

So after seeing all this, I really had to put myself back into the hospital with Aviana, and think...yes I was displaced, yes I was sad, yes I felt extremely scared and alone, but the true reality is...we have a home, and clothes, and food, and much, much, more than just basic needs, and so forth. Dave, Aviana, Rainey, and I are blessed beyond measure with all we have. We are not cold, hungry, or wondering where we are going to sleep for the night.

I know you also have local homeless shelters in your own areas, or other great causes to donate to, but we'd like to share our goal with you too. And that is is to raise as many donations, or as many of these basic supplies, and needs as possible in order to provide for these families with a nice, memorable Christmas this year.

I am running long, so I will be back with more details,
I know things have changed greatly from last year, but I do want to thank you for listening...and thank you for possibly thinking of us Elves. 

I promise you this will be the best, and most heart warming year ever!


  1. Jenn, I would really love to start something like this to help the shelter I cook for and volunteer at. How to you coordinate all the donations you get? How do you solicit for people to give toward your collection? I'm at a loss as to how to start, but would love to collect the basics like socks, toiletries, gloves, etc for our shelter here. Any advice you can give would be so appreciated. My email is hsinsplint@gmail.com and I think we are friends on facebook too if you wanted to inbox me. I am so touched and passionate about helping these folks who literally have nothing!!!

  2. Sounds like a great idea to me! It is so sad to think that there are people who can't buy their children Christmas gifts.