Ranging from eight soft and colorful, hand-sewn books to toys and clothing, the presents from Glenmeadow’s residents and team members were distributed to children and families associated with Safe Passage in Northampton, Mass., yesterday, on a day the advocacy organization calls its “Day of Joy.”
Laura Lavoie, Glenmeadow’s director of resident programs, said the gifts came from the hearts of all in the Glenmeadow family—and through talents, time and generosity. The books—well-known as Quiet Books—were made in a collaborative efforts of residents, team members, family and friends, and the toys and clothing were purchased with funds raised through a first-ever arts and crafts sale. An earlier cash gift was made through the proceeds of this year’s Glenmeadow picnic.
Safe Passage’s Greta Hagen, the fundraising liaison, and Bridget Mulkerrins, a counselor who works with the children, visited Glenmeadow on Dec. 16 to accept the gifts and extend gratitude to us all.
“They talked about how much they appreciate the donations they get for the ‘Day of Joy’ because, for these mostly moms, who are coming from such scarcity and having to do without, to be able to walk into the room and shop for free for their family is so heartwarming,” Laura says.
Glenmeadow’s connection to Safe Passage was first made last June, when our residents began crafting the Quiet Books. Laura says our volunteer seamstresses—including Tanya Snell, who did the lion’s share of work—enjoyed the whimsy of the books, intended for toddlers ages 2 to 4. Each page in the books teaches something different—like how to snap, button, or lace, or how Velcro works. The hope was that the books would go to children in particular need.
“I wanted to reach out specifically to a battered women’s shelter,” Laura says. “We wanted to give the Quiet Books to the children who had to flee their homes and had nothing to call their own. There’s a ‘huggability’ factor with these books, so they are great for children who have been through trauma.”
Laura thus made the connection with Safe Passage’s Greta Hagen at that time, and later in fall, when she organized the first (she hopes) annual arts and crafts fair by residents, it was decided that the proceeds would also go to Safe Passage. The Glenmeadow community—including residents, family, friends, team members and Lifestyle Pass members —sold everything from pictures and purses to baked goods, and used the $500 in earnings to buy the children’s toys and gifts.
Likewise, proceeds from Glenmeadow’s annual picnic were also collected for the organization, and the funds—another roughly $750—were offered as a cash donation last month.
“I had been mulling over the thought of an arts and crafts sale at Glenmeadow for some years now, but always wanted it to be a fundraiser,” Laura says. “The thought is that each year we will choose a different charity to benefit, and I would like for there to be resident input involved in deciding on a charity. The arts and crafts sale will be an additional way for Glenmeadow residents to support other nonprofits in the area.”
Laura was so moved by the gift of the Quiet Books in particular that she feels called to continue making and distributing them on a grander scale. “I plan on spearheading a country-wide project for battered women’s shelters after the holidays!” she says enthusiastically.
It’s a big goal Laura has, so she needs more help from Glenmeadow residents and the wider community. To volunteer—and create more days of joy—email Laura at LLavoie@glenmeadow.org.