The other day I got a text message that made my day.
Six weeks prior, I had donated a bunch of hats, cowls, and fingerless mitts to an organization that serves at-risk youth in my city (the photo only shows a small sample). The coordinator, Oren, even came to my house to pick up the stuff, which is almost unheard of. He is a very sweet guy, who showed me the van they use to drive to a different neighborhood each night. The van is outfitted with a small table and a couple of benches, plus a stack of plastic stools, games, everything needed for making coffee and tea, and - for this time of year - blankets. He explained that the teens they meet are very hesitant to accept help, including gifts. He told me they would probably wear the things I made while they hung out with Oren and his volunteers, but would leave them behind when they left. He explained that the teens he sees do have a place to sleep at night, though it's not what you and I would call "home."
A week later Oren sent me a bunch of photos of the teens wearing the things I had made. Is there anything better than getting pictures of the gifts you made being enjoyed? I asked Oren what else I could make for them, more mitts perhaps since I didn't get a chance to make many pairs. He replied, thank you so much but what we have will last us for quite a while. I confess I felt a bit sad, because I wanted to think the teens would keep the hats and things, and enjoy them every day - not just once a week when Oren came back to their neighborhood. And, selfishly perhaps, I wanted the pleasure of making more things for them. Certainly I had not been able to make enough that every teen Oren sees would get something.
Then the other day, Oren texted to tell me that the teens loved what I had made so much that the things were all gone, and would it be possible for me to make more. Wow. Of course it's possible!
I don't think I can describe how happy it makes me to know that these teens felt able to accept a gift, to feel that they deserve to have a hat of their own. I hope they can feel the love that went into each stitch, and know that they are lovable just as they are.