I'm sure you all know by now how we had to delay the shipment of donations which were to have been Christmas gifts for the pastors we work with, their families, local orphans, feeding center children, etc. Since the shipment arrived well after Christmas, we are still working on distributing the gifts. It's a big job.
Although we receive many pre-made gifts for children and for families, we receive a much larger amount of general donations - used clothing, household items, toys and stuffed animals, etc. All of the general donations are sorted, by us. If they are new or like new, we use these as parts of the gifts. If they are stained, torn, missing parts, etc, we put them in what we call the "give away pile." Pastors are grateful for the opportunity to get part of this pile, to give to the poor of their communities, who are grateful for even these items.
Once this initial sorting is completed, we start making gifts. We actually personalize the gifts for the families, and this takes a lot of time. Here is an example of what a gift for a pastor (and his family) might consist of this year:
4 bars of soap
1 ball cap
1 toothbrush for each member of the family, and at least one tube of toothpaste
2 spiral bound notebooks
1 pencil box, and a selection of pens and pencils
1 large container of mouthwash
1 bottle of conditioner (we didn't get many donations of shampoo this year, but we got a large donation of conditioner and mouthwash)
1 large can of chicken (another donation we received in quantity)
1 man's tie
1 woman's scarf
2 items of clothing for each family member
1 gift box for each child 13 and under (these include toys, candy, school supplies, etc)
1 kitchen or decorative item for the wife, or a purse
1 item from the donated linens (sheets, towels, blankets, etc)
a big handful of candy
1 selected item specifically for the man in the family (wallet, flashlight, etc)
If the family has children over the age of 13, we put in some items for those family members - extra ball caps, soccer bags, etc for boys, toiletries or hair things for girls, plus extra school supplies for either gender.
As of today, we have created and distributed approximately 75 gifts for pastors and their families. We expect the final number to be around 250. We always have more children's items than adult items, and these are given at the orphanages and feeding centers.
My goal is to have this project done by the end of April. My house is also the bodega/warehouse, so we are currently living in the midst of the boxes and bags. I'm looking forward to having my house back!