Today, I wanted to highlight a project that is near and dear to my heart. It's called the Maple Tree Giving Tree Project. Each year for the last 14 years we have made an effort to give back to our community as a community. The idea is to talk with the children about need and hunger. A very simple need such as food is an easy concept for children at a very young age to grasp and understand. We are all hungry and need to eat. What do we eat? What do others eat? Does everyone have food? What's a perishable? What's a non perishable? These are all things we talk to our children about and they are things we tend to take for granted. I decided many years ago that we need to teach our children about giving. My husband Shawn and I have always instilled this in our own children. It has moved from giving food in bags to handing out change to people in need. Our daughter will actually insist that we keep money in the cup holder in our van so that we can give it away when we stop at intersections. I am filled with pride and hope every time she asks and it's roots stem from the Giving Tree project.
So, we give the children a canvas bag to decorate with all manner of crafty goodness. Anything goes when it comes to making the bag beautiful and special. Then we ask our parents to take their children to the grocery store and fill the bag. We ask that parents really let their child make the choices for the bag. There is such power in this for the children. Power to chose for others and be the one making it happen.
The following is from Eko's Mom:
I just wanted to share with you Eko's experience shopping for the Giving Tree today. I'm so incredibly proud of him. I honestly did NOTHING other than take pictures. He wanted to bring his own shopping cart even.
I honestly thought we would go down one aisle and end up with 10 different kinds of crackers - but that wasn't the case. Eko made the most incredibly healthy, smart and balanced choices. It's like he was on a mission and he knew what he wanted to choose. He just kept saying, "I want to buy this for the children" and "the children will really like this!"
|I see pure Joy radiating in my friends face as he loads his groceries!|
Way to Go Eko! You are Amazing and you are doing an wonderful thing!