NETHER PROVIDENCE — No one is too young to participate in a day of service.
Nearly 100 mothers, fathers and children from two to ‘tween celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the MOMS Club of Wallingford/Swarthmore by assembling snack and toiletry bags and collecting socks of all sizes for Cityteam, Media Food Pantry and local residents in need.
The club meets at Wallingford Presbyterian Church and the agencies are supported through its red wagon food donation ministry.
“Many of our members are also involved in the Wallingford Co-op Nursery School and the church playgroup, so no matter which door they use, they see the red wagons,” said MOMS Club Administrative Vice President and church member Leah Hillemeyer. “They are always filled.”
A local chapter of the International MOMS Club, the group offers a network to meet local parents and help children make friends and engage in social interaction. Membership is open to all parents residing in the Wallingford/Swarthmore School District and surrounding area and parents are supported through its Facebook group, weekly playdates, local activities for kids of all ages and Moms and Dads nights out.
The club is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) and the $20 annual dues are used for inclusion in the international organization, charitable donations to groups within the community and several club events throughout the year. A portion of the funds was used to purchase the bottled water, granola bars, trail mix, cheese crackers, goldfish and chewing gum for the snack bags and toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and toilet paper for the toiletry bags.
Before assembling the kits, everyone gathered for a reading of “I am Martin Luther King Jr.” by Brad Meltzer. The book, part of the Ordinary People Change the World series, recounts King’s efforts to gather people for nonviolent protests and marches and the way he spoke about his dream of a kinder future and led the way toward racial equality in America.
The children and parents then created an assembly line, with the younger kids holding the bags open while the older ones filled them. They made 50 kits in each category, which they appropriately placed in the red wagons.
“Our hope is that by hearing the stories, the kids will learn about Dr. King’s life and the importance of community,” said Hillemeyer. “By filling the bags, rather than just donating money, it will give them a sense of community.”
Each bag was personalized with a drawing and Hunter Schlecht, 4, and his mother, Colleen, of Swarthmore, were among the artists. Both made colorful pictures that will no doubt brighten the recipients’ day.
“This one is of Mommy, Caleb and me,” said Hudson.
Colleen learned of the event on Facebook and decided it was a wonderful way to spend their morning.
“I wanted to devote part of our day to helping others,” she said. “It is one of the best ways we can spend our day off.”
For more information, visit the MOMS Club of Wallingford/Swarthmore and Wallingford Presbyterian Church websites and Facebook pages.