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Coming together to help
Susan Hicks -- Caledon, ON
Being on my first bedkit distribution has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Over the course of ten days, we delivered 5,000 bedkits to children at various schools in and around the capital city of Tegucigalpa. I am very proud to be part of Sleeping Children Around the World, a great organization that makes such a difference in so many children's lives.
I have seen first hand how much time, effort, work, and love goes into making a distribution possible. It all starts in Canada with caring donors. Then there are many volunteers at 28 Pinehurst who process bedkit orders, produce labels for the pictures of the children, and communicate with our Overseas Voluntary Organization [OVO], the Rotary Club of Tegucigalpa to prepare for the distribution. Before our team left for Honduras we got together at 28 Pinehurst to sort the labels. We all transported them in our luggage with a tripod, cameras, first aid kit, and other tools we'd need.
In Honduras, our OVO arranged for the manufacturing of all the items in the bedkit and chose the school sites for the distribution. With the help of teachers and school principals, they determined which children met the necessary criteria and had the greatest need.
The President's wife, the First Lady of Honduras, runs a program called Healthy Schools which employs a number of young people to help with various projects. She sent ten to fifteen young men and women to assemble the 5,000 bedkits. They also came to each distribution and were a tremendous help.
The Rotarian in charge of the distribution, a retired army colonel, arranged for the army to guard the bedkits that were kept in a warehouse and every day they transported the number we needed to the school site. They also gave us security for the day and helped the smaller children take their bedkits back to their buses. The soldiers were very kind and gentle with the children and a great help.
At every distribution site a number of Rotarians helped us. At times we also had members of Rotaract, the Rotary club for young people aged eighteen to thirty. The wives of the Rotary members were responsible for the checklists, helping to organize the children for the picture-taking, as well as providing a wonderful lunch for everyone when we were finished for the day. They really contributed a lot.
Our overseas helpers were warm and hospitable and it was truly wonderful to see so many people come together to accomplish what we did. Everyone was strongly committed to the common goal of helping the children of Honduras.
It was sad when we had to say good-bye. Even the language barrier didn't get in the way of us connecting with each other. We all shared the sense of accomplishment and it was an amazing and gratifying experience. I'm really looking forward to my next distribution.