Suitcase #1 has been filled, weighed, re-organized, weighed again, stuffed a little more full and weighed yet another time. And now it has been zipped and set aside, not to be unzipped again until I arrive here so that the contents can be used to benefit these precious little ones.
If you could examine the contents of this medium size suitcase for yourself, you'd find 36 cans of vanilla flavor formula, two sample packets of chocolate flavor formula, 136 packets of powdered electrolytes in various flavors, and a few pretties for the little girls. If you placed it on a scale, you'd find that it weighs exactly 50 pounds ~ be thinking light thoughts with me on the morning of the 26th!
One other thing I have to share is that if you went to our Bags of Blessings fundraiser site, you'd notice that the event ended with $1,345 of the $2000 ~ or 67% ~ raised. While that would lead one to believe that we fell short of our goal, actually we had to close it down early as we surpassed it!
We knew that we'd need $140 to pay the fee for each of us to carry a second suitcase. (the airlines no longer allow folks in cattle class to carry two free on an international flight) We then carefully calculated how much it would cost to fill those four suitcases with formula, pedialyte, hand sanitizer and wipes.
When we reached half of our goal, Angela and I decided to order roughly half the formula to allow us to each test pack a suitcase and then accurately order exactly what we can carry.
It's a good thing we did! While making our careful calculations, we overlooked a few things.
First of all, we knew that the formula company offered a "medical hardship discount" to folks purchasing for charity. In my mind I recalled it being a 10% discount. 30% was what we got. That means we were able to get our formula for considerably less than we had budgeted.
Our second oversight was that some folks still prefer to give donations in person. In addition to the $1345 that was donated online in a matter of days, we both have had folks hand us cash face to face. Several hundred dollars appeared from close friends and family that gave our total a hidden boost.
And the third oversight was the generosity of our friends and readers. 17 boxes of pedialyte packets were delivered to my door by a friend yesterday. Another friend contacted me to share that her husband is a sales rep for a company and could donate samples of hand sanitizer. Angela has had similar things happen. Suddenly we had less supplies to buy and enough money to cover the rest of what we needed.
Thanks so much y'all for loving on the children by seeing that our bags are filled!
(Now if anyone has any great tips on packing personal belongings in "carry on only" style during the brutal cold of a Beijing winter, I'll happily take your advice. Cause my bags to check are FULL of supplies and my carry on is looking ever so small and I typically tend to over-pack a little...)
Most importantly, if you wanted to help out, but missed the chance to help fill our bags, I am more than happy to point you to some other chances to bless this place that truly is the Bringing Hope to the Hopeless and the Fatherless Home.
For $25 a month you can partner with New Day in providing quality formula to four orphanages across the country to help tiny babies survive their first year: Checking out the pages detailing the Formula Sponsorship project will tell you more and explain why this is such an important endeavor.
A good portion of the healing that happens at this home comes from TLC, but part of it comes from the hand of surgeons who intervene. While surgery costs are much lower in China than they are here, with so many children needing assistance, costs quickly add up. You can donate to provide specific medical attention to several of the children by visiting the Surgeries Needed page.
And, as happens with children, especially children that are medically fragile, hospital visits are common for children at the home. Winter is an especially rough time with many kids being admitted for pneumonia and severe respiratory issues. The Acute Care Fund can always stand a little extra, and there is a great challenge going on right now to raise $12,000 in the 12 days leading up to Chinese New Year. Check out the 12 days of CNY campaign!
Most of all, I challenge you to spend some time on the NDFH blog, Love Grows Here. Get to know the faces of the children who currently reside at the home, read their stories, learn their names and see what happens in your heart. Because in the words of David Platt, [We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes…]