Children Make A Difference At The Gathering

"I am Molly and I am ten years old. This summer my cousins, Aubrey and Addie and I had a lemonade stand to raise money for the Gathering. We raised more money than we thought, and some people even gave money and didn’t want lemonade. I have been to the Gathering and I think it is a great program. I think all the volunteers are magnificent! George and Moses made me feel welcome. George was like a teacher to everybody and told them what to do. George explained things to everyone and he gave us jobs. I got to hand out juice, clean the tables and stack the muffins. Moses was a great person to talk to and he does a good job. The people that come in every day and volunteer are special people. The guests looked like they felt welcome. Everybody left with a full tummy and that made me feel happy. I liked doing the job George gave me and I felt like I knew what to do. I hope you can use our lemonade money for something that will help the Gathering."

On December 9, 2011, the Gathering received a letter and a check from Seeds of Health Elementary School located near our south side site, which includes Windlake Elementary and 5th-8th grades at Windlake Academy. As part of their Character Counts program, they were discussing how “generosity is... being willing to give to others.” As a result, the students collected loose change and chose the Gathering as the recipient of those funds. They appreciate that many of the Gathering’s guests live in their neighborhood and could even be Seeds of Health family members. They sent us $837.39!

We often see children as the recipients of assistance, but they are also wonderfully equipped to give. Above are two examples of children who have given to the Gathering in recent months. This is only a small part. Middle school students from St. Rafael and Prince of Peace Schools serve regularly at our dinner program. Children donate cookies and bag lunches. They organize sock drives, make seasonal decorations, and hold fundraisers throughout the year; individual children serve at meal sites with their parents or grandparents. Last May, a group of “Bigs” and “Littles” from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee met at the St. James meal site after the Saturday lunch program to create and hang decorations. The spring-themed placemats, table center pieces and wall art gave the space a feeling of joy and youthfulness. On Saturday, March 3, 2012, Daisy Troop 9057 from Southwood Glen Elementary School in Franklin brightened the St. James site with their handmade St. Patrick’s Day decorations, toured the meal site and donated Girl Scout cookies before lunch was served.

We are all blessed by the gifts and compassion of so many young supporters!