This week was made just a little less hectic when two days of Kearney tours were cancelled due to foggy day bus schedules for the school that would have come for those tours. That cancellation freed up time for me to shop for coats for children at Columbia who need cold weather gear. Our temperatures dropped this week into the 40s, which I know for some of you is warm, but for us, it’s freezing. It also rained. A cold, gray, drizzling rain. Coats were necessary.
I started at Salvatiion Army and found six coats for small kids–preschool and kindergarten. Even better, it was 50 percent off for all children’s clothing. Along with the six coats I also found three backpacks.
Another stop was at TJ Maxx, just because it was on myway home. Those discount stores are not my favorite because their selection is so limited, and sure enough, I had to look and look but did find two nice boys’ coats at really low prices.
Next, down the road, was Target. This is one of my main go-to places to shop. I am a devotee of CartWheel, Target’s discount app. Outer wear was 25 percent off and, if you spent $100 or more for clothing, you got an additional $10 discount. I found one boy’s coat and three for girls. Now I had a total six small children coats and six big kids’ coats.
On Thursday I was out early, in a cold rain, to pick up 90 bears for the first graders. Each year the school chaplains read the book, The Teddybear Story, about a little boy who loses his favorite stuffed bear. It is found by a homeless man and becomes well loved by him. The story has quite a twist at the end. Each year I have one teddybear I use to tell the story and then leave with the class. That technique was shared at a chaplain’s meeting and someone said we should have a teddybear for each kid. Sorry, that was more than I could handle. I had trouble finding 4-5 bears that would fit in my storytelling bag.
Well, someone heard the story and decided to take it upon herself to get a bear for each first grader at the schools that have chaplains. That’s over 3000 bears. This woman is quite amazing and she has a network like no one would believe. She told the story, over and over, wherever she went and to whatever group to which she spoke. People opened their wallets and gave her money. Some collected the bears themselves and brought them to her. The bears started to pile up.
So many bears that she had to find a place to store them. She found a vacant office complex, and on Thursday, when I went there to pick up my 90 bears, she had every office filled with bags of bears, each bag labeled for the school to which they would go. I had nine bags. The schools are having a hard time finding storage space for all these bears as we deliver them. Columbia put the nine bags in a conference room. The police resource officer for the area will come and hand the bears out to the first graders on the last day of school before the Christmas holiday.