When our members gathered last month to assemble 300 Hugs Pillow packages, we were sure they would please the children who received them. They are beautiful heart-shaped pillows, in vibrant patterns, and filled with items that any child would love. But we could not imagine the real-life situations in which those pillows might be used; nor how precious they could be to the recipients. Recently, a counselor at a school we serve sent us the following description of the significant impact that Hugs Pillows had on one family.
Yesterday morning we welcomed more students back into the building for the 10th time this year! Three of those students are from a family whose mother has filed for homelessness recently for the second time. They were SO excited to be back in school and literally had a little hop in their steps as they walked through the front doors. The mother came into the office about an hour after school started to pick her kids up because she had to go to work and didn’t have any way of getting them at the end of the day. She had tried to contact the kids’ father to see if he could but was unable to reach him. She was on the verge of tears knowing that her kids were going to be so sad to have to leave. I ended up working with mom and figuring out a plan on how they could stay (She has a PK student who ends school at a different time, so I offered for her to stay with me until her brother and sister were done to make it a little easier). Anyways…the student’s father was finally gotten in touch with and was supposed to pick them all up at the end of the day. After all buses left the students came to the office and proceeded to wait for their father. They waited and waited and after an hour we finally called mom and told her she needed to leave work to come. The students continued to be happy to be in school, but you could see the anxiety increasing, especially in the youngest. Luckily, thanks to you all I was able to offer them a “coping skills” bag that the Assistance League has generously packed and given us. I was able to give them options between a Frozen bag, Alice & Wonderland, Flowers, and Blue Jean pillows and let them pick which animal they wanted as well. Immediately the youngest chose Frozen theme and pulled out all the content until her parent finally arrived. It was a gift to me to be able to provide them something while they waited that they could take home and call their own. A little after 10:00 last night I got a message from mom, that I wanted to pass this along to you just to say thank you once again. Thank you for supporting our school, students, and me always. I am SO grateful!!
“Good evening…. I am writing to you to say Thank you very much for my daughter … and for giving them present. Words cannot express how I appreciate what you did for me and my children today. I don’t know what came over me and I decided to keep the children at school. I’m so sorry. I will forever be grateful for that. Have a good night.”
Stories like these make us proud to be members of such a dedicated organization and to know our support is so appreciated, but we are also very humbled to learn the critical situations that many parents face.