Arlington church lends helping hands to survivors

ARLINGTON — Many hands make light work, and the members of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Arlington lent their helping hands to try and make a difference for the survivors of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami.

Church parishioners had already assembled 180 of the 300 personal care kits that they’d be sending to Lutheran World Relief Headquarters before their official kit-assembling party on April 16, which lasted less than an hour before the nine volunteers who turned out had wrapped up and boxed up the remaining kits so they were ready to ship out.

Church member Dawn Cahoon noted that the kits will be shipped out on May 6, and were assembled thanks to donations from church-goers and the surrounding community alike.

“We got a lot of our supplies from regional dentists, but the biggest donations probably came from our congregation,” Cahoon said.

Cahoon added that these personal care kits are given to individuals when they arrive at refugee camps and aid distribution centers.

“Who hasn’t been following the news coming out of Japan?” Cahoon asked. “The devastation from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami has been breathtaking, and the sorrow has been heart-wrenching. A personal care kit can remind someone that, although they may be alone, people around the world are reaching out to them with love. It is a reminder of humanity and compassion.”

Each kit contained a bath towel, a toothbrush, a comb, a nail-file or a set of nail-clippers, and a couple of bars of soap. The volunteers laid out the other items on top of the bath towels, which they then folded over until they were tightly wrapped rolls, which they tied together with strips of bed sheets that they’d turned into ribbons. The ages of the volunteers ranged from senior citizens to a nine-year-old girl from Pioneer Elementary who had come with her mother.

“It feels good to give people things,” said Hannah Ewing, as Cahoon demonstrated to the girl how to assemble her kits properly.

Hannah’s mother’s, Heidi Ewing, echoed the other volunteers when she spoke of the importance of doing something, no matter how simple or seemingly minor, to help those who have been hit hardest by such disasters.

“Sometimes, you just feel like there’s nothing you can do, but you can do this,” Liz Moore said.

“You can make somebody’s day with a kit like this,” Sharon Billdt said. “Being able to clean up makes you feel better.”

“Last year alone, nearly 175,000 of these kits were given out,” Cahoon said. “This year, the numbers are even greater.”

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church will be hosting a fundraiser on May 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at 615 E. Highland Drive. For more information, please contact the church office at 360-435-8921.

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