By: Regan McGowan, Program Manager at Rockford Hammer Home
Last January I had the chance to visit the Mephibosheth Special Needs Home just outside of Port-au-Prince Haiti. I wrote about my 10-day experience of loving on the kids who have varying physical and/or developmental disabilities. As soon as I stepped home in the Minneapolis Airport last year, I knew that I was going back to see those kids. Throughout the year I brainstormed ways my life and relationships with Hammer could somehow tie into my next January 2016 trip to Haiti.
After touching base with Dio and his wife who run the home, I was able to get an idea for the most desired items that they could use. This past fall, I sent out an email to all Hammer programs and managers informing them that I was going to return to the Mephibosheth Home, or M House. I also let the Hammer family know the specific items that the M House was looking for: shoes, sheets, and new underwear.
Shortly after finalizing the trip back to Haiti, I shared the news with the Rockford ladies as I continue to manage the home. I told them what we were going to be collecting, and that I was going to go visit some of the same kids that they saw pictures of. The ladies asked a few questions and pretty soon we were back into the routine of the night. Not even 5 minutes later, Carla walks out of her room with a handful of shoes. As she let them flop out of her hands onto the counter, she asked me, “Regan, do you think the kids in Haiti could use these?” A huge smile spread across my face as I knew that yes, this was how Hammer and the M House kids could tie together.
I did indeed return to Haiti at the beginning of this year. I flew down with a group of 10 others with our five army bags full of donations from Hammer. A few days into our trip, we were able to display all of the donations for Dio and his wife. The kids at the M House were smiling and swarming the table as we set out all the shoes, new underwear, and sheets. It was a very special occasion as one by one, the kids came in and carefully picked out thepair of shoes that they wanted. They would then try them on as the rest of the room applauded, cheering them on in the excitement of their precious new gift!
Even though Carla and all the others who donated were not able to see the kids pick out their new goodies, it was amazing to feel my worlds collide. Seeing Carla’s compassionate heart and giving to others in need without any hesitation reminds me that it is possible to help others no matter what your situation may be. I was humbled by the experience and am very grateful for all of those who helped toward the cause!