Monday, November 26, 2007

My Turn to Give

My month for doing a random act of kindness (RAK) is here. Charlie and I are splitting the money collected at our monthly neighborhood meeting last night and we each have about $200 to spend.

Those who had their turns in October and November have reported that it’s harder than you might think to come up with a project and then to pull it off. In both cases specific families were the recipients of the assistance. In October a family with a new baby who had been forced to move benefitted from help to get established in their new apartment. November focused on a Nigerian family in which the father had been injured at work and the mother had to return home for a family funeral. It’s been interesting to hear how these families were chosen and how the gifts were bestowed.

Charlie has a great idea for his money. He plans to donate gloves to the local homeless shelter. The timing is certainly right for this project which promises to benefit so many people.

Since we came up with this RAK idea, I have been thinking about donating a sewing machine to someone who really needs it and wants to learn to sew. I identified an Arlington program for teen mothers, which teaches them basic survival skills. Home-economics is a component of the program. The coordinator is in the process of finding me a promising student.

This morning I tackled the challenge of finding a decent sewing machine for $200. The first man I talked to had a 20-year-old reconditioned Singer for $250. He went to $225 and refused to budge. The next one didn’t sell used machines, but took the time to educate me as to which ones to avoid, specifically mentioning Singer. I knew when I spoke to the man at the Fairfax Sewing Center that I had found the right place. He had two machines – one new and one used, each for $200. I described the recipient of the machine and we determined the used machine was probably the better choice. It’s a Viking, the same brand as those used in the Arlington County School System. When I explained our DT RAK concept, he offered to waive the tax so the machine would go for an even $200.

I will pick up the machine tomorrow. Hopefully I will also get the name of the young woman who will receive it. My plan is to set up a series of sewing lessons with her, take her shopping for fabric, and help her make something useful for either herself or her young child.

In my dreams I see this person finding the same pleasure I have always gotten from using my sewing machine. From the time I was sewing doll clothes for my Ginny doll at 6 until now, my sewing machine has been my constant companion. I hope my student and her Viking will spend a lot of productive time together!


Blogger Pauline said...

What a great idea! At the very least, you will be exposing that young woman to a skill she might not have otherwise learned. Keep us posted?

I still have my Ginny doll! And all her handmade clothes!

6:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I have my Ginny with her handmade clothes too. Maybe we should get them together for tea party sometime? I will definitely let you know how this adventure turns out.

8:30 PM  
Blogger DC Discombobulated said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:40 AM  
Blogger DC Discombobulated said...

I find your blog a neat read and am very much intrigued by your RAK idea. Could you email me with some more details?

12:41 AM  
Blogger Casdok said...

Yes a really cool idea!

6:56 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic project! How wonderful. I salute you! BRAVO!!!!!

8:49 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Discombobulated -- Here is a better description of our neighborhood project. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have more questions.

Casdok, Reya -- Let's hope this idea works out!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

This is such a fabulous thing you've done for this woman and she'll never forget it, nor will you! Bravo!

9:40 PM  

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