The gut-wrenching stories and photos that have come out of tornado-ravaged Joplin over the past few weeks have touched the hearts in all of us, pushing us to put our own cares aside and reach out to our neighbors in need.
As adults, we help by donating supplies, making financial donations and volunteering our time.
As children, our little ones may feel, well, helpless, about how they can help.
But through Kids4MO, children now have a mission project of their own without those pesky parent middlemen getting in the way (except to run them to the store of course). Now through June 27, kids can create “Boxes of Hope,” plastic shoeboxes stuffed with toiletries, games and activities – as well as personal notes – for children in Joplin who need an escape from the devastation around them and a kind word from someone who is thinking of them.
Putting control in the hands of children is exactly what founder and director of operations Danielle Schneller was going for. “Kids4MO is a tangible way for kids to help kids,” she explained via email. “It stirs up conversations between parents and kids, and becomes an incredible opportunity to teach not only your child something, but also the child on the receiving end in Joplin is given a moment they’ll never forget.”
As a mom of three kids under age four, Schneller was searching for a way her entire family could help the cause in Joplin. She had heard of Kids4ALwho within days of tornadoes in the Southeast had passed out more than 1,700 Boxes of Hope to kids throughout Alabama. Mitzi Eaker, founder of Kids4AL, wanted to provide boxes to Joplin as well, but had no idea where to start until she received a call from Schneller. Today, the two moms are working together to provide hope to kids affected by natural disaster.
Youth groups, churches, organizations and individuals who wish to create Boxes of Hope are encouraged to read the guidelines regarding filling and labeling boxes. On June 27, Boxes may be brought to the Kids4MO Central Distribution location at First Baptist Church Ellisville, 137 Clarkson Road, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The organization will distribute the Boxes on July 9 at First Baptist Church Joplin, and remaining boxes will be given to Mission Joplin at Forest Park Community Church.
Remarked Schneller, “When a child who has lost everything receives a Box of Hope, it’s an instant reminder to them that they are not alone. These kids feel joy. These kids feel loved and cared for. It’s a time in their lives that I’m pretty certain that they will remember back on when they are older – receiving that Box of Hope and what a great impact it had on their live during a trying time.”
“It’s a moment of smiles and fun that they probably haven’t had too many of in the last four weeks.”
By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting
Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL
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