Every year for the last five years I’ve put together gift baskets for a teen mom shelter in Massachusetts. This is the same place I lived when I was pregnant with Hannah. The year I was there, Christmas 1997, I was seventeen years old. I remember feeling so lonely and sad because I was away from my friends and most of my family. One night someone dropped off gift baskets for us- they were laundry baskets filled with all kinds of goodies. I didn’t get many gifts that year and it was so much fun to sit and go through that basket. It made me feel less alone.
These girls are so young- just a few years older than my Hannah- and still kids in my opinion. People donate presents for the babies, but the girls rarely get anything for themselves. I try to make the baskets as full of pretty things, sweets, and fun stuff as possible but I can’t do it by myself. There are usually five to eight girls and I just don’t have the resources to do it on my own. So every year I ask my friends and readers for help, and it always amazes me how many people want to help me do this!
I have been sticking to my usual schedule for the baskets, sending out feelers in November, re-asking the people who said earlier in the year that they would like to contribute, and planning a post asking for help/donations for early December. I failed to take into consideration that since I have moved 1300 miles away I will have to ship the packages instead of hand delivering them. Which completely changes my timeline.
I’m not sure I can get enough stuff together and get them shipped out in two weeks. Normally, I take donations right up until I deliver the baskets, usually around the 22nd. I obviously can’t do that this year. Someone suggested looking for a local shelter, and if there is one I might see if there are ways to volunteer or help out… But I don’t want to stop doing this for “my” shelter. This is the one I know, I understand their policies and how they run the place, and I love that I get to give back after all these years.
Doing this is truly my favorite part of the holiday season.
Do you think I still have time to get this done? I am so worried that I won’t be able to pull it off this year.