Good News, Better News, Best News!
Hello Everyone! We hope you are doing well as 2021 is drawing to a close and many are deep into holiday activities! In my home, the moment December 1st came around, the kids demanded decorations be put up and Christmas carols be played (all...day....long). Now, I hope you have a nice warm drink and a cozy chair, because I'm about to unload a YEAR's worth of news and updates for you!
Ahem... lets start with the quilts. THE QUILTS!! My oh my, what to do when there's a pandemic and restrictions keeping us home? Apparently the answer for many was QUILTING! Donations came pouring in of beautiful, gorgeous, cozy, colourful quilts. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, fuzzy ones... they are amazing! We also want to recognize those who supported us with other donations, which allow to stuff our bags FULL of fun and useful items for the kids who literally have nothing else to call their own. Toys, stuffed animals, toiletries, and books have all been greatly appreciated and turned around and used almost immediately! Also a special thank you to those who've sent in monetary donations; we are so appreciative as it's your support that keeps us running!
Our hearts filled with gratitude and awe to see such dedication and devotion from our dear supporters. Truly, this whole operation would not be what it is without our community involvement. Our website might only show four members of our Bags of Love team, but there are so many behind the scenes (some you'll be able to meet soon! More on that coming!).
Next up... new offices! That's right, we have new Child and Family Services offices as well as several new organizations that have begun to request Bags! It's amazing and awe inspiring how God foresaw the demand and arranged that we would be in a position to meet those needs. Not going to lie, there was a time when our shelves were filled to overflowing with quilts, and then our backup shelves were filled, and then every nook and cranny of our building was starting to be filled, and we started to despair that we couldn't find enough outlets for all the supply we had. Would we actually have to start telling people to stop giving (I was reminded of the story of Moses building the temple and the people bringing all their valuables until he had to say 'Enough!')? But then November came... and order after order after order after ORDER came ding ding ding into our inboxes. This was due to a couple reasons: one, behind the scenes working of social workers spreading the word, and two, setting our bulldog Jewel on call out duty. If one has talked to Jewel, one will understand when I say she was able to light the fire and 'inspire' offices to get on board and start handing out these Bags ASAP!
Just in the past month, we've sent out over 275 bags, as well as other items passed on to other organizations! Yes, it was quite the fluttering of activity at our headquarters. Jewel was there almost daily, Nancy and I as often as we could. We are also thankful to the volunteers (Pastor Ian Hartley, Vera and Clarence Hyde, Cheryl Erickson) who stepped up to help us with deliveries to 13 DIFFERENT LOCATIONS!! From Edson to Camrose, Edmonton to Calgary, we covered A LOT of ground! All from our little shop in Ryley, AB (population 500 including pets). This brings our year total to approximately 500 bags... 500! A mixed emotion number... we are glad to have brought comfort and hope to so many children... and saddened by the thought that we even need to do so. But we are here, and we care, and we will continue to serve as best we can the children in our own neighbourhoods.
It's getting long, I know, but I've got two more (actually three) exciting points to bring up, then I'll let you be on your way! First of all, we recently posted a new submission on our Testimonials page (actually from the lady in the picture above!). We encourage you to check it out! Secondly, we've recently connected with the Siksika Nation and the Stoney Nakoda Child and Family Services in Eden Valley, and are proud to be serving their communities! Doors are opening and we are excited to expand our reach. I've posted a letter sent in by the Stoney Nakoda CFS on our Facebook page, hopefully you can open it or zoom in to give it a read!
Last, but certainly not least, we are about to be featured in a broadcast airing Christmas Day on the It Is Written Canada network! Our story will be able to be viewed online on December 25 at https://itiswrittencanada.ca, under Watch - TV Program! You'll be able to hear all about our ministry, meet some new people, and see more of our humble little home. We are so excited to share this with you! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more updates on this!!
Well thanks for staying tuned in to the end. Best wishes for this holiday season and a heartfelt THANK YOU for supporting this local ministry! May God bless you and keep You, may His face shine upon you!