With the average temperatures for February at cities, towns, parks, and lakes in Bismarck plunging as low as -13°C, schoolchildren have taken it upon themselves to provide the homeless comfort during the cold.
“Feed the hungry! Care for the poor,” chants a group of fourth-graders from Cathedral School of North Dakota who have sparked the initiative called I Am Not Lost in Bismarck as part of Catholic Schools Week. The vision is simple: there is a home to be found in every act of charity.
With the aid of their fourth grade teacher, Kristen Dewald, the group set out to leave mittens, scarves, or anything that might help ease the chills around Eagles Park’s perimeter. KFYR-TV reports that the children were able to hang up 100 articles of clothing as well as donating canned goods to a local shelter.’
“It makes me feel good because I have all the hats and gloves and stuff. Other people might not, so when they get them, I think they’re going to feel really happy,” says Tyler Heen, an altruist in the makings.
Brenna Curl acknowledges her privilege, and how she ought to use it for the greater good. “We’re really blessed to have the stuff that we have, but other people might not have the same stuff,” she says.
One particular kid wished to celebrate his birthday by giving instead of receiving. Trevor Voigt, a preschool boy, had his friends over for his party, asking them to bring hats and scarves to share with those who need it. “So other people who didn’t have houses or they weren’t warm could get warm,” he says so tactfully.
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The project was conceived by a Pineville woman named Tammy Miles whose sole intention was to keep the homeless warm by leaving around clothing and tagging them with notes which said “I am not lost. If you need me, take me.” In an interview with KALB, Miles expresses how much joy it brings her to know that if she were able to help one person today, then she couldn’t ask anything for more.
It has since inspired more groups to adopt its cause. The project has made it to the U.K., in Bristol where hundreds of guests and counting are expected to join an event that was set on Facebook.
The artless simplicity of the project remains a reminder that it doesn’t take much to give something so valuable. More than warmth, what these kinds of people yearn to radiate is sympathy and, most importantly, happiness.