One of the best parts of being a blogger is meeting other bloggers. This past summer, at Blogher, I had the opportunity to meet Kelly. It was one of the highlights of the conference for me. Kelly is a member of a blogging network called Collective Bias. It was through CB that Kelly learned about Champions for Kids. You can tweet Kelly at @kellystilwell. You can also check out her mighty cool blog Virtually Yours.
Why are you a Champion for Kids?
I love kids! Though I had a bit of a rough childhood, it was nothing compared to how difficult it is for many families today. We always had food on the table, even if it was cream of chicken soup over toast. I have volunteered in the inner cities and seen children who live in a home where the pantry is bare. Bare! Moms are struggling to raise kids alone, like my mom did when my dad left, and it is hard to do. It’s heartbreaking. If we can each just do a little bit to help others in need, it lifts us all up. That’s why I love Champions for Kids. They are making a difference, and I’m thrilled that I get to help!
What is/was your favorite Simple Service Project?
That’s easy, though I have enjoyed them all! I did the Pack A Sack project where I had to purchase an Abbott Nutritional product as well as food to donate to a pantry. I had decided to make the donation to a local food pantry. I rallied my neighbors to help, and ended up collecting quite a bit! I called the pantry to find out if there was anything in particular they needed, just so I didn’t purchase items they already had enough of. When I spoke to the woman who runs the pantry, she told me there was a teenage boy who was just getting out of the hospital after surgery. She said he had lost a lot of weight, and would not be able to go right back to eating regularly yet. “Would be possible for you to buy some nutritional drinks for him?” she asked. I nearly burst into tears! It was a God thing. That was the one thing I was instructed to buy! How cool is that? I was so excited that Champions for Kids could provide what he needed to get strong again.
What is one cause that is important to you that involves children?
I think child hunger is the most important cause for me. My husband and I sponsor six kids with two different organizations. They are all out of the US. We like being able to see results from our giving, and these two companies keep us updated on the health and well-being of the children we sponsor. We know the money we give provides food and other necessities so these kids have a chance to lead normal, healthy lives. Locally, we have volunteered for a program called Adopt A Block, where groups from our church go to poor neighborhoods and hold a big pancake breakfast, as well as hand out bags of food. We also encourage the families and help them with anything they need, like cleaning up the neighborhood, repairing fences, even helping with ESL classes and showing them how to get any help from the government that they might qualify for.
If you could change one thing in your community that effects children what would it be?
Again, I would want to make sure they are all fed. During the school year, the kids that need it can get breakfast and lunch at school. Some don’t get much of a dinner. And during the summer, I’m not sure what happens. I know the local food bank has told me they try to increase their supplies in the summer so families can feed the kids breakfast and lunch. My church will buy food by the pound from a local company and deliver it to people. But we can’t afford to do it every week in every neighborhood, so I wonder how many people can’t even get to the local pantry or shelter to get what they need. I’m not sure what the solution is.