Birthday gifts and parties: On the first Wednesday of every month we load up the van with cartons filled with gift bags for those who have birthdays that month. Each of our client organizations sends us the names, ages, birthdates, and gender about one week (even one day!) in advance. Then volunteers help us assemble them. Other volunteers shop for needed inventory items constantly (fortunately, they love shopping). Every birthday bag contains new personal items, such as lotions and soaps, nail clippers, colorful towel sets, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, as well as some specialty items such as handcrafted jewelry, crocheted or knitted cosmetic bags, handcrafted socks and slippers, blankets, scarves and hats, even perfume or make up, or a planner and pen. And all children's bags contain age-appropriate crafts and toys. These are all wrapped up in pretty bags or totes, with tissue paper and ribbon;a birthday goodie bag! With each monthly delivery we send homemade cookies or baked goods, ice cream, ice cream cones, toppings, pretzels, or other treats.
Comfort bags:In 2010 we began a new program of giving;comfort bags; to everyone who checks in. Because the shelters provide toiletries, GC comfort bags contain specialty items such as soap and toothbrush holders, lotion and body powder, cosmetic bags, activity books, toys, crafts, and the like. Every comfort bag contains slippers or socks for warmth on cold floors! See How You Can Help for list of needed items.
Layettes for newborns and moms:For expecting mothers in shelters,many of whom have absolutely nothing for their babies! All of the layettes have handcrafted baby outfits and booties, handcrafted crib blankets and/or receiving blankets, outfits, and all the other necessary items. And for the mom, encouragement cards, books, lotions and powders! The layette is a mini-shower!
Backpacks: For children who may miss the large backpack programs because their communities do not have such programs (rural Michigan and Haiti, for example), or they may be low income but not defined as living in poverty per se. Every backpack contains age- and grade-appropriate school supplies, as well as some fun extras such as healthy snacks and a toy. Michigan backpacks include handcrafted scarves, hats, and mittens for the upcoming winter season. Haiti backpacks are sent in June for orphaned children in Port-au-Prince.
Holiday presents:Each year we send out holiday gifts on Easter and Christmas to about 350 people. The gifts appropriately include items for men or women, boys or girls, teen boys or girls, or infants. Fortunately, we can count on a large crew of volunteers to come in to help sort and wrap and label!
Christmas shoeboxes:GC fills 20 shoeboxes with age- and gender-appropriate children’s items, wraps them in Christmas paper, and sends them in July to two orphanages in Port-au-Prince.
Graduation gifts and celebrations: For men and women who complete a year-long ;transformational program, GC helps to celebrate their new lives by providing a gift bag and the celebration cake and ice cream! The gift bags contain a new Bible, planner, card, blanket, and more.
Activity and snacks:To a women's and children's shelter, GC sends jigsaw puzzles, yarn, and snack items. The puzzles provide a less stressful way to enter group living. The yarn is for those women who enjoy knitting and crocheting so much they have even undone their own work! The snacks are placed in the snack cupboard for mid-afternoons.
What Does Grandma's Comfort Charity Do?
Grandma's Comfort is all about gift-giving to those in need, with a particular focus on the homeless--in shelters, orphanages, refugee care, and recovery houses. (See "GC Partners" under "Get Involved: Working Together.") Such agencies have first-hand knowledge of the items their guests need and a daily way of reaching incoming guests, tracking birthday dates, ages, gender, etc. They make it possible for GC to give gifts that are meaningful, practical, comforting, encouraging.
Every gift bag we donate has at least one handcrafted item, a devotional reading, and an occasion-specific card (e.g., birthday or Christmas card). Every handcrafted item has pinned to it a small card from GC reading "Handcrafted for you by (name of crafter)." Besides needed personal toiletry items, each bag is packed to overflowing with gift items such as specialty lotions or shower gels, wallets, mini flashlights, memo pads and pencils or pens, mugs or cups, snacks where allowable. And children receive crafts, toys and stuffed animals. Socks are a must in every bag, as well! Many recipients send thank-you notes (see "Lives We Impact" under "About.")