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What Better Way to Start Our Day?
Angela Schroeder hosted this months “First Tuesday Home Mass” for our members. Monsignor Guenther, our celebrant, preached a beautiful homily about how important it is for us to be lovingly present in each others lives, a concept that really resonates with our chapters mission. After the Mass, CCSS members in attendance enjoyed each others company over a tasty brunch. Many thanks to Angela and to her family for sharing their home and for treating us to such a moving and intimate experience. Many thanks also to Tracy Stabler for orchestrating the logistics of the liturgy and for those members who acted as lectors or Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist. If you havent had an opportunity to attend one of our Chapters Home Masses, please consider joining us next time. We anticipate having another home mass on June 5th.
A Bright Light to Start Our Day
Some of the Christ Child members were fortunate enough to celebrate mass last Tuesday with Father Brian Plate at the beautiful home of our member Lisa O’Hearn. Despite the dreary day, it was a welcome respite during the busy days of the Christmas season. The idea for the home mass came about in a conversation with our Spirituality co-chairs Tracy Stabler and Lori White. We reminisced about home masses from our youth and I mentioned that my Uncle was a priest and we celebrated many masses in my family room with my best friend and I singing and playing the guitar. I bet you didn’t know I played a mean “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” on the guitar! Back to the mass -we had a “sold out” crowd of 19 in Lisa’s living room. It was lovely, spiritual and brought us all together for the purpose of celebrating out faith with one another. May the bright light continue in the months to come.
Tis the Season...
The Christ Child Society of Summit got to play Santa today, as we made a holiday drop at the Central High School Early Learning Center that would make the big man himself proud! Thank you to all of our members who contributed in large and small ways. A list of what we delivered:
Advent Giving Tree gifts - these were gorgeous! We unpacked them and they were all beautifully put together, tags and bows in place, and looked lovely. Theresa Sweeney and Margaret Whelan did a fantastic job on these and all the other thousands (?) of presents they coordinated.
Hand tied fleece blankets from Oak Knoll and Girl Scouts - we gave them 29 (20 from Oak Knoll). They had 28 babies as of last week but may have another coming tomorrow....! Maria (the director) is like the Pied Piper of teen mothers.....
Gifts for teen parents (30!) - Terry Andrews did such a great job gathering gifts, buying gift cards and wrapping everything beautifully. What a huge help, and a nice gift for these parents.
Cookies - we brought at least 6 dozen that were dropped off by members. These are for their holiday party on Wednesday. We also brought a bag of childrens CDs (donated by Sally Golding) which were used immediately, as well as some holiday decorations.
Staff Appreciation lunch - Thanks to Lori White for ordering food and getting this together. Sandwiches, salad, chips and drinks, as well as a plate of desserts for the staff to enjoy today. The staff really appreciates this. We are like their honorary PTA moms!
Our hope is that these small gestures will help make this Christmas special for the young families and the staff at Central High School. Enjoy the wonders of the season.
Bearing Coats on a Trip to Newark
Our November volunteer visit was blessedly uneventful - no power failures, errant tree limbs, or snow! Eileen Rath, Michelle Cohen and myself spent a very pleasant hour and a half in the infant room. The babies mostly like to be engaged by being read to, sung to, and held, but the more mobile ones just need someone to chase after them! The babies were adorable, as usual, and the staff was in full planning mode for their Thanksgiving feast. We were able to drop off an additional supply of diapers, wipes and bottles that we received from the Verona Womens Club, as well as over 35 coats that we collected for the teen parents, based on the need identified by the director of the Center. Johanna Magovern coordinated the coat drive, purchasing some coats that were needed to supplement the ones that were generously donated by Summit Ski and Sport (thanks to our new member, Betty Ann Lecky, who has a contact at Summit Ski). Thank you to Betty Ann and Johanna for helping with this important drive.
I hope this blog finds you warm and enjoying the benefits of unlimited electricity! Summit has been dealt quite a blow, with no power for 5 days and counting, but we are fortunate that our power WILL eventually be restored. Many people deal with cold and homelessness on a daily basis.
Fortunately, the Halloween snow storm seems to have bypassed Newark, and our friends at Central High School had a regular school day, and their Fall Festival, as planned, on October 31st. Although our volunteers were not able to bake, or in some cases get out of their street (!) due to downed trees, we were able to collect what we had, purchase the rest, and zip it all over to Newark rather hurriedly on Monday. Imagine my surprise when I arrived in Newark looking like Nanook of the North, wearing multiple layers including long underwear, turtleneck, winter coat, ski hat, and snow boots, only to find nary a flake on the ground and an outside temperature that was easily 20 degrees warmer than inside my house! I am just glad that we did not have to disappoint the children at Central High who were counting on us to bring them party supplies. Heres hoping that next Halloween is less horrific!
Rummage Sale Reflections
It was a whirlwind of 3 days as members of our Chapter lugged items, priced treasures, moved merchandise, staged the items, and finally baked for our 3rd Annual Rummage sale. You know you have “good stuff” when 50 people were eagerly waiting and peering in the windows of Memorial Hall at 7:45 am as we readied to open the doors. There was a mad dash to the jewelry as dealers brought their bags and quickly moved around the room looking for treasures. Those who arrived with children headed to the massive toy area and bake sale. We had a steady stream of buyers throughout the day. And when it was all said and done and we closed our doors, we were able to “pay it forward” and donate the bulk of the remaining items to the Big Brother Big Sister organization, and some to SAGE and Summit Junior Fortnightly. I know we all had such a good feeling that we were able to offer nice, affordable items to those in our community who needed it most. I also enjoyed coming together as a group as we laughed over items donated, items purchased, and the haggling that went on with buyers. One thing worth mentioning is that most of us found something at the sale to buy and as the saying goes...”one woman’s junk is another Christ Child members treasure!”
First Volunteer Visit to CHS
Our first official volunteer visit to the Infant and Toddler Learning Center at Central High School in Newark went off without a hitch! Jill Stanley, Michelle Lozina-Cohen and myself spent the morning primarily helping with the infants, playing with them and holding the younger ones. Some of the older children in the infant room are walking and they played in the common area outside of the infant room on a small jungle gym, all to the rollicking tunes of Old MacDonald and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Good times! Since the weather was so beautiful, the toddlers went outside to play in the outdoor playground. Lots of sliding and climbing - mostly over each other!
Upcoming visits are scheduled for Halloween (to bring party supplies) and on November 17th. We also plan to drop off some coats for the teen parents before the cold weather sets in. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Rummage Sale Wrap Up
The Rummage Sale was a great success! The money we brought in will aid us in our mission to help children in need in our community. A job well done! Thank you to everyone who donated, worked, baked and supported The Christ Child Society. It was a huge success and many people left with smiles on their faces with the “treasures “they went home with!!
Great job ladies. Thank you for all your hard work!
A Quick Visit to Central High School
On September 23rd, I made a quick trip to the Infant and Toddler Learning Center at Central High School in Newark to deliver some supplies that the Center had requested. We (CCS) provided school supplies for the students such as binders, folders, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. to fill 20 backpacks previously received from Bridges. We also delivered some diapers, wipes and diaper cream for the babies, which the center keeps on hand as extras.
The center currently has 23 adorable babies, and expects to grow to near capacity (32 babies) in the next few months. Every new baby who joins the center means that another teen parent has a better chance at success - namely, to finish high school, increase their odds of going on to college, getting a job, and providing stability for their young family. Our goal is to help them achieve this measure of success as best as we can.
Getting Energized at the National Conference
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the National Christ Child Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. And what a great experience it was for me. Meeting dynamic woman from all over the country (the farthest being Seattle) doing many of the things our chapter is doing right here in Summit. Everyone was helping needy children. And the best part was whether it was a large or small chapter we all we facing the same situations.
On Saturday, there was a great speaker Susan Ellis from a company from Philadephia called Energizeinc. She started with a question regarding our chapters that made us all chuckle, “Is it still your Grandmothers volunteering?” Im happy to report we are not. For me, it was food for thought on how we manage our volunteers, how we keep them engaged while dealing with the 24/7 communication we are exposed; new social networking forums such as blogs (my first one), YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and smartphones.
It was a busy weekend but I returned feeling even more pumped about our chapter and what is ahead of us.
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