Goody Bags for the Ronald McDonald House of Bangor.

Every year at Christmas, our little family of 3 looks for ways in which to specifically help our community. We certainly do what we can all year through — but in an effort to show Isaac that Christmas is truly about giving to others — we look for ways to give in a meaningful and personal way.

This year, we decided to create craft “goody” bags for the children who stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Bangor. This was partly Isaac’s idea — as he suggested we do something to help children. I told him what the Ronald McDonald House was all about — and he was all for it. (He also wanted to continue our tradition of visiting the Maine Veterans Home on Christmas Day — which we plan to do as well).

So — after speaking with the Director of Volunteers at the House — we decided to create goody bags full of fun crafting kits and craft supplies to be distributed to the children staying at the home. For the most part, these bags will be distributed to siblings of children who are receiving medical attention at the nearby Eastern Maine Medical Center. Last year, 300+ families were served by the Home. Though we are not currently able to create as many bags as could be distributed within a given year, we pledged to the home that we would not only make as many as we could at this time, but that we would do our best to replenish them as needed (a wonderful way to give Isaac a charitable focus throughout the year).

My Mom and I shopped for goodies to include in the bags — mostly at JoAnn’s and Mardens — and as we did, we tried to imagine how these siblings must feel — perhaps scared for their brother/sister, a bit lonely because Mom & Dad are so focused on the child in need, etc. It made the shopping meaningful — and we would get giddy when we found goodies that we imagined would delight the children involved — and help to keep their minds occupied with positive thoughts.

After all the shopping was done, I asked a few friends to help put the bags together — and sweet, sweet Katrina and her Mom, BJ, came by the studio to help organize the bags. They did a perfect job. Katrina put herself in the mind frame of a child going through a difficult time, and put the bags together with much love.

My lovely friend Katie also joined us (with her baby Max in utero!) — wrapping presents for the Maine Veterans Home (I will post about this later). She was a huge help — wrapping all manner of 2010 calendars for the men and women of the Veterans Home (a special request by the staff).

Isaac and his fave girl, Sydney, were also involved — entertaining each other with crafts and silliness while the rest of us worked on wrapping and organizing. They had a great time — which allowed Mom to get much done 🙂

Now, we look forward to bringing the finished bags to the Ronald McDonald House. Though we won’t witness any children using the goodies in these bags — I imagine that the gifts will be received with smiles by both the children and their parents. And hopefully — in some small way — these bags will help these families in their healing.

Thank you to the Ronald McDonald house for everything they do! And thanks to my Mom and friends for all their assistance and good Karma 🙂

Jodi Renshaw

About Jodi Renshaw

Jodi is a homeschooling Mom, a photographer, a wife, and a proud resident of the city of Bangor. She spends part of her time working at a locally-owned shop in the downtown area, part of her time homeschooling her favorite young man, and most of her time behind a camera lens. She often writes about adoption, family life, homeschooling, and community.