Sometimes it's hard for children to understand the old saying that "it is better to give then receive". So, I wanted to find a way to show my Girl Scout Troop, rather then just try to explain what that saying means.
I heard about a restaurant, The White House in Anaheim, that donated a hot pasta meal every night to the Boys and Girls Club that is open to kids who live in Motels and/or have parents that have little or no money.
Sometimes this pasta meal is the only meal these kids get all day.
I contacted the Boys and Girls Club and it up to bring my Girl Scout Troop there. They were going to play with the kids, serve the dinner and hand out stuffed animals and books they collected.
At first the girls were shy. They did not know what to do or how to act. But, quickly they noticed these kids are just like any other kids. They introduced themselves and started to play with the.
A lot of the kids were really interested in the girls sashes that are full of the patches they have earned.
The girls explained what the Girl Scouts was all about and how they earned the patches.
I have to admit it was sad to hear these kids never even heard of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, let alone got to join a Troop.
After playing about 1/2 of hour, we were shown to the kitchen to serve up dinner.
Each child was given one cup of pasta and a bread roll. It broke my heart to see how little these kids got knowing that I often throw away more of my dinner then what they get to eat.
Growing up I was taught about the starving kids. As an adult I heard these kids could be found right in our own backyards. However, this was the first time I saw it first hand.
All these little faces coming up to the counter to get their dinner, yet, they all waited without pushing or trying to be first.
Each one smiled as they were given their dinner and each one said thank you.
It was about this time that I think it really started to hit home to my Troop about just how poor these kids were. Yet, they were not crying and complaining. They were grateful for the little they got.
We had made Candy Cane Reindeers at one of our meetings and had plans to go take them to the seniors. Yet, we just didn't have enough time to do it before Christmas.
So, we handed them out to the kids. Boy, they were so excited over them. Much more so then any adult would be.
The whole time the girls were serving dinner they kept saying how happy they were that they came and how they wanted to go back every week. I was really proud of my girls. They actually were enjoying helping others.
There are around 130 to 150 kids that go to this Boys and Girls Club every day. They are from 4 years old to 18 years old.
The girls had gone through their own collections of stuffed animals and books. They pulled out the ones that were new or new looking and we brought them to hand out after dinner.
I only had 3 girls with me and we had 158 stuffed animals to hand out. Plus, we had several books.
The children were so happy to get these stuffed animals and I think it was at this time the girls really understood the meaning of "It's better to give then receive".
The girls were so touched to see how much joy these kids got out of something they had laying around their house.
It made the girls realize just how much they do have. While they all love stuffed animals and they all collect them, none of them had a hard time giving up so many of their own animals to make other kids happy.
Even the older teenage kids were excited to get them. Some said they were going to wrap them up and give them to someone they know for a Christmas gift. Some said they were going to give them to their little brothers and sisters. A few said they were going to sale theirs just to get a few dollars and some said, they were keeping theirs because they had never had a stuffed animal before.
All to soon, it was time to go home. My Troop didn't want to leave.
On the way home they all said they had so much more stuff at home that they could bring the next time we go.
I asked what it was they liked best about the evening and while they all enjoyed serving the food and handing out the candy canes and stuffed animals, they said they enjoyed meeting new friends and making them happy.
So let's all remember, as we rush around the next few days trying to get everything ready for Christmas that it really is better to give then receive. For in giving we often are the ones who receive the most.