Gill has a wicked memory. We were in the same 5th grade class, but I only have a vague recollection of this. I remember the name of the charity and that we raised money for them one year, but anything beyond that, I’m out.
When you were in elementary school, did you ever get in a battle with another class? Maybe it was to see how many books you could read in a year, or who could have the most science fair projects win prizes. I am going to talk about a little battle that had no losers, but winners in places we had never heard of.
It is sometime in 1989 and I am sitting with my grandmother in her church listening to a guest preacher talking about his missionary work in Africa. Us children were seated in the front rows, and my beloved grandmother, an elder in the church, was seated behind my sister, 7, and I 9. The preacher was sharing the story of a little boy, and at one point asked shy 9-year-old me “how old are you?” I didn’t respond. My grandmother tapped me on the shoulder saying “the preacher asked you a question Gillian.” I quietly replied, “I’m 9.” The preacher went on to explain that the little boy was as black as a heating grate he tapped with his shoe, he also explained to us that the boy had pretty much nothing. I thought it was unfair that my main concern was my action figures and brand new high-top runners, but those thoughts disappeared into typical kid thoughts like rain encountering sun.
Sleeping Children Around The World
For our non-Canadian readers, Sleeping Children Around the World provides bed kits with mosquito nets for children in developing countries.
One Wednesday in my 5th grade year, someone came to our classroom and brought what looked like what my sister and I would have taken to sleepovers at friend’s houses. The coordinator explained how the bed kits worked, and what things were in them. It was confusing to 10-year-old me. There was nothing I loved more than curling up in bed with a book, flopping down after a long day of school and play, and they didn’t have soccer balls?
The Day Of
The battle lines were drawn, with our class doing handy crafts, and the other 5th grade class making baked goods. We set up the mini-market stalls in the administration section of the school, and proceeded to sell our wares and explain what the event was for. I can’t exactly remember how much the other class raised, but we raised $128, enough to sponsor three bed kits and get some soccer balls or skipping ropes for the children.
It has been over three decades since this fundraiser happened, but I’ll always remember the good feeling of helping kids I didn’t know. On a side note, this was one of my grandmother’s favorite charities, and in 2003 when she passed on someone donated to Sleeping Children Around The World in her memory.