Monday, December 6, 2010

Cookies and Socks, or: A New York Christmas Wish

First of all -- thank you to everyone who promoted my last post, the one about sending holiday cards to recovering American soldiers. It managed to go totally viral on Twitter and has been read more than six hundred times as of this writing! I can only hope that means that the patients at Walter Reed and other military hospitals (along with veterans and families) will receive even more holiday wishes than they might otherwise have done. I was overwhelmed by the retweets, the hit count, and by the response from the officials at Walter Reed Hospital itself, who sent a message thanking me for writing the post! Who knew that writing in my blog could be an act of service for my country? I can't begin to describe the warm fuzzies. Thank you all for that support.

Having said all that, I'm about to ask you to do the same thing once again.

If there's one thing we learned from the "But honestly, Monica" incident, it's that the internet can be a powerful force for good. The Walter Reed post is another example. So if you're so inclined, please help my friend Jaclyn help the patients at St. Margaret's Center.

Jaclyn is a nursing student, and has become a tireless volunteer for the center. St. Margaret's takes care of infants, kids and adults with complex medical needs, and have done for more than a hundred years. If Jaclyn gets started talking about the kids she's worked with, you can expect her enthusiasm to be incredibly contagious. She told me about one boy, who is "a complete flirt" and bats his eyelashes at everyone, while another little girl on the website is "a big sweetie." She has also worked with the boy pictured on the main page of the center's website, who she says has "a million-megawatt smile" that lights up the room, and yet another patient has recently started playing the guitar. One of the staff members brings in her own guitar and helps him to strum it, and the look on his face is one of pure joy. Jaclyn has a huge heart, and she loves these patients of hers, and confesses herself blown away by how much love they have to give in return.

The thing is, as Jaclyn was explaining to me, some of the patients don't have very much. Particularly in the way of clothing, there is a tremendous need. The staff is devoted and do as much as they can, but a lot of the clothing gets handed down from one generation of patients to the next, and it's starting to show its age. So Jaclyn, being Jaclyn, became the head of the student facility committee and set to work trying to rectify the situation.

If you can help, please consider doing so. A drive is being conducted between now and December 23rd to collect items to give the kids a great Christmas, but the donations are accepted at any time of year. Jaclyn says they particularly have need of the following:
  • Socks -- all sizes, for all ages, infants through adults. They really need knee or tube socks, because some of the patients have leg splints and the socks help to prevent chafing. The longer, the better!
  • Children's clothing -- sizes 3T through 14. There is an equal need for boys' and girls' items. Winter garments are especially needed.
  • Adult clothing -- for both men and women of all sizes. Again, there is an especial need for winter garments.
  • DVDs of children's movies
  • CDs, particularly of holiday music
  • Children's books, such as hard or sound-creating books

Send your contribution to:

St. Margaret's Center
27 Hackett Boulevard
Albany, NY 12208

If you live in or near Albany, you can also support the center by getting involved with one of their upcoming events. One event which isn't on that list, however, is Jaclyn's bake sale fundraiser. Please consider stopping by to see my dear friend and buy some cookies to help the kids of St. Margaret's. The sale will be held on Wednesday, December 8th, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (or until they run out of food, whichever comes first) at 700 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, New York. That's on the campus of Maria College, if you're familiar with the area.

Sometime in January and/or February, the always social-minded Debbie Tenzer of Do One Nice Thing has volunteered to rally her followers and conduct a sock drive for St. Margaret's. So if you'd like to participate in that, please check back with her website, or join Debbie's do-gooder army on Twitter and Facebook.

And even if you can't directly contribute, I hope you will consider helping the cause by sharing this post and this information with your friends and relatives. Let's set this thing viral and give the kids of St. Margaret's a really Merry Christmas this year. Cookies and socks...not too much to ask.

Pay no attention to this: 93TDR8GJ6B6T

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