Note to the Reader -- God's Littlest Angels operates an orphanage about 10 miles outside of Port Au Prince Haiti with upwards of 120 to 160 children in their care at all times. The author's on staff but located in Michigan working on raising awareness and support.
I'll never forget the morning of May 31, 2012. I was talking with Dixie Bickel and she told me that she got contacted by IBESR (Haitian Social Services) the day before and that they were closing down a bad orphanage today and we should expect to get 8 to 10 babies from that orphanage. It's sad to think of babies living in a place that is so bad the government has to shut it down. That orphanage was in Kenscoff, so these kids affectionately began being referred to as "The Kenscoff Kids."
The day went on, and no news. Mid afternoon, I asked Dixie, "Have you ever heard any more?"
"Just that they are still coming."
About 5:30, I got a message from our staff in Haiti (I don't remember who). They are here with a truckload of kids -- and it's not just 8 babies!
By the time they had all of the kids unloaded from the truck that IBESR was using, we had 23 new kids at God's Littlest Angels. We were already "over capacity" so it was a struggle to figure out what and how to do it -- but you don't say no to kids who are in need.
We had a couple of empty beds but almost all of them didn't get a warm bed to sleep in. Instead, they got a mat on the floor and a nice warm blanket to sleep under. Better than they had? Absolutely. As good as we'd like? Nope. But these kids are now getting enough food, getting medicine when they need it, getting love and attention.
We're now a year and a half down the road and some of the kids have been able to return to their birth families, some of them have been able to move into beds that the kids who went home to their families have vacated. But we still have 15 kids sleeping on mats on the floor -- in our kitchen/eating area -- because that's the only place we have room for them.
We've been trying to figure out a way to get them in their own "real" beds and found a builder in Haiti who can make some custom sized beds so that we can actually have the floor space to fit 15 more beds in.
Our #GivingTuesday campaign is to get all 15 of them to be able to sleep in a bed. To sleep in a warm and comfortable bed and not on a cold hard mat. A warm bed to sleep in is a luxury many children in Haiti don't get to experience. Being able to provide that for these children would truly be a wonderful Christmas gift for them, in addition to providing a family in Haiti a significant income by hiring a local Haitian to build the beds.
I'm excited about what #GivingTuesday is doing all over the world but especially for these kids in Haiti.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in celebration of #GivingTuesday, which will take place this year (2013) on December 3. The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season. We'll feature at least one post from a #GivingTuesday partner every weekday in November. To see all the posts in the series, click here; follow the conversation via #GivingTuesday and learn more here.
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