Want to make a difference?

I may have forgotten a lot of details from my childhood, but I still remember the way I felt on the first day of school every year: excited to see my friends but dreading school work.  Add to that anxiety, wondering if I would be cool enough or measure up.  And for girls, that always meant having cool clothes.  My friends and I would plan for days what we were going to wear the first day of school.

My parents couldn’t afford to buy me the latest styles or trendy fashion, but I had decent clothes, and I’m thankful.  I remember the kids who didn’t.  Yes, even in my “perfect” little rural American town, there was poverty.  I can only imagine the distraction it was for those kids, coming to school in hand-me-downs or the same clothes they wore the year before – even if they didn’t fit or were worn out.

Fast forward about 30 years, and I’m the parent taking my daughter shopping before school begins.  I can afford to buy her more than one new outfit and more than one pair of shoes.  But we’ve done something a little different the last couple of years.  We discovered there were hundreds of kids in our community who can’t afford even one outfit or one pair of shoes.

So, we take part of our back-to-school budget and sponsor kids in the Salvation Army “Steppin’ Back to School” program.  We are given the clothing sizes, and we purchase a new outfit and shoes for children in need.  I always pray that we choose clothing that will make that child light up – that he or she will feel confident and happy to go back to school.

This year, over 500 children in the La Crosse community are in need.  It’s not surprising, given the current state of the economy.  As of today, there are 91 people living in the shelter at the Salvation Army, and at least a dozen of them are children.  I know times are tough for everyone, but if you are able, PLEASE consider sponsoring at least one of these children!  In doing so, you will be making a difference that could well transcend today, because that child will know that someone cares.

Check out all the details here:  Steppin’ Back to School


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