13 October 2011

Another Immigrant Family

Sometimes, I forget how good I actually do have it.  How hard it was for us when I was a child.  How hungry we were and how little clothing and toys we had.


I remembered this photo of me when we had just come to this country a few months prior.





I'll tell you about the burn on my left hand another time.  Do you see that sofa?  Hideous.  Those gigantic slippers that didn't fit me?  My clothes.  This is the picture of an immigrant child.  And I'm proud of it.  Because it reminds me that we are a strong family.

Sometimes, I look at it and remember how good we have it.

This time, I cleared out half of my clothes in my closet and half of the hand-me-downs going to my toddler from the older daughter.  I also packed away a large trash bag worth of toys from each child.

And contacted Catholic Charities of Lake County, IL.  As far as I've ever eavesdropped heard, they had sponsored us to come from our refugee home in Austria to the USA.

I asked if it was possible to donate clothes and toys to an immigrant family and explained why.  They were more than willing to help me do this for someone else.

I took my daughters with me to make the donation.  I wanted them to see where our things were going, to what ended up being two separate new immigrant families in Lake County, IL.  That Mama had once been one in Baltimore.  That they should never forget that they, like all Americans, have immigrant roots and should treat those people with respect. 




I hope those two families find inspiration from our gifts.  I hope that their case workers tell them "This came from a fellow immigrant and her family and she wants you to know she believes in you and that you can do amazing things, just keep trying hard."

I don't know if that is what they will be told.  But I do know that after dropping off the donations, we said a prayer in our car that the families who receive our gifts find strength and courage to try hard.  And that they know they aren't alone.


Na razie...



Note:  You can donate to Catholic Charities as well.

9 comments:

Laura and Brian said...

Lovely post and a great charity! Thanks for sharing :)

Luisa Rodríguez said...

I do believe hardships make families stronger. And I'm not just saying that. When I first moved in with my bf (now husband), we had UNBELIEVABLE financial problems and, instead of ruining our relationship, we managed to make it stronger. We learned we had to trust and support each other from the beginning. I'm guessing that's what happened to you and your family.


mustbeliberating.blogspot.com

Halina said...

I'm an Polish immigrant as well! My family immigrated to Norway. I'm so glad to find your blog through "It must be (so)...liberating! ". Really nice to meet you! (PS. I had clothes like that to when we first came over here)

Denise said...

Good for you for giving back and making sure your kids know that this is important.

Lois B said...

I'm an American living in Poland, and I'm moved to tears by this. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa said...

This is so lovely. While not a recent immigrant family (3rd generation Polish :-) ) I find it important to teach my children the lessons of giving to those less fortunate. I most recently took my daughter with me to the Avon township food pantry to donate all the formula we brought home from the hospital. We all have a responsibly to help our neighbor, immigrant or not.

Daria & Jarek said...

I am truly moved!! And love your post... this reminds me of a hard time in Poland when I was a kid and was wearing clothes after my German cousins (they had it all at the time and we didn't) so sentimental time!!! As I am now an immigrant myself but don't need to struggle as previous generations, I do support local charities by giving stuff and buying stuff too...

iza said...

That's lovely, Kasia. As a fellow Polish immigrant I also know too well how hard it was and what gratitude I feel for the life I now have. It's important to give back. Thanks for sharing this! na razie.

alienbody said...

Great story and a wonderful way to pay it forward. Congrats on being featured, it is well deserved.