Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 93 - Helping/Quilt GiveAway

Today I noticed a strong desire to help someone I don't even know.

Before you read this please hop over to my friend's blog and read what she has to say about money, or lack of, the value of a person's talent, and how you can't put a value on some things, like a smile.

Go ahead, I'll be here when you get back.

Okay, so now you have a little bit of an idea of where I'm coming from. I read a similar story this morning, (see below) and felt sad for Mitchell and frustrated that I don't have the kind of bank account that let's me write a check to help. I would be the first person to say, every little bit helps, that I don't have to do it alone. In fact, the more people who donate the more people will have that happy feeling you get in your heart when you lend a hand to someone in need.

To tag on to Luminary's idea of making something that someone will buy so the money can go towards getting Regan a new smile, I'm going to offer up the Christmas quilt I made last year and put away because who wants a Christmas quilt in April?  I'll do the same thing I did on my last quilt give-away. You make a donation, then leave a comment on here on my blog. I'll put all the commenters names in a hat and choose one who will get the quilt. I'd really like the donations to go to the Southwest Indian Foundation, for Mitchell's house. But if you want to help Regan get his teeth fixed or you want to donate to a homeless (since both these men are/have been homeless) shelter in your neck of the woods, that's fine too. I don't need to know how much, but I would like to know where the donations go. Since tax day is right around the corner, and you may be having to dip into your pocket I'll set a date of May 15. Plus that's far enough away if you donate/comment right away, you'll forget about it and then if your name gets chosen, it will be a big surprise! I like those kind of surprises! Like the 100 dollar bill I found last week.
Egads! Don't look at my mess night table.

Here's the quilt. It's 66 inches square, pieced by me, machine quilted by Joyce Snyder. 100% cotton fabric, machine washable and dryable. As you see, it's alread got Girl Cat's seal of approval. 

So here is Mitchell's story. I hope you'll be moved the way I was.
   Mitchell is homeless. He lives on the streets of Gallup, New Mexico. Mitchell is totally unique. Of course, we could say that about any person we may find living on the street. In the case of Mitchell though, he does not fit any description I have ever known. I had never met Mitchell until about 3 months ago, given that I am from Crownpoint and have not spent much time on the streets of Gallup New Mexico.
   Recently, I have been spending more time in Gallup, working at the soup kitchen and working with the project office at the SouthWest Indian Foundation. My first knowledge of Mitchell was when a very good woman who runs one of the town laundry mats came into our office. I could overhear her talking about this gentle homeless man who was beaten up last night because he was protecting one of her lady patrons who was taking her laundry to her car.
She was retelling the story of how this homeless man Mitchell was a "guardian angel" for her customers. Her would keep a look out in her parking lot,especially for the women and children. This good woman had cleaned up the cuts and bruises on Mitchell's head and face, and fed him. She was really appealing to us to help get him off of the streets where she feared that he would not live much longer.
   After doing some more investigating, I found that Mitchell has been a homeless orphan since he was 13 years old. He has wandered up into Colorado, down to the Mexican Border and out to Los Angeles. As a Navajo, he always seem to find his way back to his ancestral lands and Gallup.
Now, at around 40 years of age, he looks much older. Some of his skin has been frost bitten from the winter elements. His eyes are severely sunken and his ears are gnarled from exposure to the harsh elements.It turns out that that despite these difficulties in his life, Mitchell is one of the kindest souls you would ever meet. He is bright and sensitive. Although he is slightly nervous and apprehensive because he has been roughed up and robbed over the years, he personally would not hurt a flea. I have heard stories how he looks after the most vulnerable of the street community.
   I heard a story that during the winter chill we had about 5 weeks ago, he built a "lean to" for an elderly homeless woman out of cardboard and rags behind a tunnel to keep her out of the wind. He made a special trip to find her food and water during a snow storm. In some ways, Mitchell is the stuff of which heroes are made. Why he is on the street is a complicated question. I only wish you could see his smile and his eyes sparkle. It would be easy to understand why he may be bitter or even demented but the opposite is true. I have seen him beam with joy over the smallest little pleasure. I handed him a tortilla one morning and I saw his eyes well up with goodness. To sum it up, Mitchell is a good man, with a pure heart.I am really worried about Mitchell's feet. His frost bite from this last winter had gotten worse. His feet almost have no circulation at all. My Doctor examined Mitchell last week for us. The doctor doubts Mitchell will last another winter.So, what is to be done? Very simply, Mitchell will not take "charity". He wants "earn his keep" (his words). He picks up trash and cans all over town during the day. He made an attempt to contract with the City to be an informal "garbage collector". He does not want a hand out.
   Although the poorest of the poor, he has a dignity. It turns out, Mitchell and I have a mutual friend who has a piece of property on the edge of town. Our friend offered to let Mitchell place a small one room structure on his property. This is a an ideal solution. We can build this modest structure and we can provide Mitchell a new home for a very modest price.
   I have penciled out the numbers. We can do everything needed to provide this home for Mitchell for under $6,700. He wants a very small simple place. He wants to help with the construction and pledges to continue cleaning up Gallup and the surrounding area.I am so motivated now. I am almost certain that if we do not act now. Mitchell will not be with us this time next year. I am coming to you with an open heart and open hand.
   Please help me help Mitchell. If we can help him in this very real way, he can and will help himself. If you'd like to make a donation to one of the programs that Southwest Indian Foundation funds, please click here. Our operators are also available to take your donations over the phone at (800) 504-2723. Or you can  mail your donation to: Southwest Indian Foundation P.O. Box 86 Gallup, NM 87302
May God Bless you Always, Deacon Sherman Manuelito
Thanking you in advance for sharing what you can. If you don't have the $$$ to donate, perhaps you can say a prayer for the men I've mentioned or volunteer somewhere that could use an extra hand.

May you be blessed,
Merry ME


jeanne hewell-chambers said...

Such a beautiful quilt made even more beautiful by your plan for it. There are so many people needing help these days. Has it always been so? In the past 2 weeks, besides family members who find themselves in need of financial assistance, I've gifted money to a woman to help her pay to bury her husband; to a suicide prevention organization; and to a manatee-rescue group. The only thing I ever expected in return was that the organizations or individuals make good use of the money, but if you want to put my name in this hat, I surely won't stop you.

terri st. cloud said...

hey, lady! i'm in! i'm in! i donated to the new smile guy, but i'm in for the one you said as i'll do both! i think this is wonderful you're doing this and i will spread it in my next newsletter! so sorry i just missed this one.....but we'll get it in there. and i'll spread this blog in my blog!

Dan McGaffin said...

Do we just donate at the link in the section "Make a donation now"?

Noah Urban said...

What a wonderful idea. I'm in and just donated to the man who can't smile. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult that must be. Thanks for doing this!

Cate said...

What a lovely and generous idea!!
I just donated today to a lovely woman names Sue who is very ill and seeking a cure! She, and you, shine lovely light on all of us! thank You!! Cate