Kindness packed in a canvas bag
August 24, 2008
A Carson City first-grader stared wide-eyed at the five women standing before her outside the Frontier Motel on Sunday. The girl hadn’t asked for a backpack full of school supplies, but suddenly she found herself the owner of one.
“It’s heavy,” she said as she hitched it onto her back and walked off barefoot through the Carson Street complex.
Her observation, played over and over again every time a backpack landed on a little back, made the women laugh.
For two hours three members of the Well of Worship church in Mound House and two volunteers visited Carson’s weekly motels and doled out the gear necessary to step foot in school this morning.
Brand new backpacks containing loose-leaf paper, pencils, toiletries, erasers and sharpeners – a bounty collected by the Carson City Soroptomist Club with help from Platinum Spa and Salon and Home Depot.
At the Carson City Inn alone, 10 backpacks went out to children living there. Among them were twin 7-year-olds just hours away from their first day of second grade.
Recommended Stories For You
Their mother, Danielle, stood by smiling as she cradled her 3-month-old daughter in her arms.
The family had moved to Carson City from Los Angeles in April. They’d been in the motel since they arrived.
One of the twins had a teacher at Fritsch who had already bought school supplies for her. Danielle didn’t have the money right now to buy the items needed for her other daughter.
“This is really nice,” she said as her children dug through the treasures in their packs.
With Kim Riggs of the Division of Child and Family Services at the helm, parishioners Brenda Milligan, Kristy Myers, Lorie Swafford, Thalia Dean and McKenna Bacon cheerfully made their rounds. They not only handed out backpacks, but also invited the families to a free spaghetti dinner where bags of free clothing will be available.
Two days before, as Milligan was buying some last minute items at Wal-Mart, she stood in line behind a mother and teenage son. The two women chatted about lip balm and Milligan mentioned she was buying it for the backpack program.
The mother confessed that she lived in a motel with her son and hadn’t been able to buy any school clothes for him.
On Sunday it was the visit to that 13-year-old boy that Milligan looked forward too. His backpack was special. Along with the regular items, Milligan stuffed it to the brim with clothes. Hurley, Van and Quicksilver T-shirts. A sweatshirt, a couple pairs of long shorts, a couple pairs of blue jeans.
With smiling eyes, the seventh-grader pulled out each item and gently laid it out on the bed in their tidy little motel room. He figured out right away what he’d wear to his first day back at school.
Now, this morning when he rides to school on the bike he earned by doing odd jobs around the motel, he’ll be styling.
“This is huge for him,” his mother said. “You guys are wonderful. Thank you so much.”