Muhammad and I were sitting in a chaplain's meeting at Unity Atlanta on a Sunday afternoon. We were all discussing different ways we could give as a group. Albert mentioned that he has been volunteering for years with Laurel Heights Hospital's foster care youth. As, I too had spent time in foster care in the 1950s, this was something I truly wanted to be a part of. He stated that the children often did not have suitcases to carry their things in. I remembered well, my brother and I carrying our things in plastic or paper bags from one home to the next. So, I offered to chair the committee to collect suitcases.
As Unity Atlanta was going through a transition period and they are quite a distance from where we live, it wasn't easy to form a core group to get this event off the ground. As the founders of our own nonprofit, we brought this matter to our Board of Directors and our Advisory Counsel Members. We took a vote and unanimously voted to get this event off the ground. Our goal was to collect 100 cases. We began on June 1st and ended the drive on June 29th. We had so many cases that we had to rent a Uhaul van to transport them to the hospital!
Piper Coffey met us as we drove up to the hospital. It was a wonderful day for everyone involved. Our Board Members Kathy Skipper and Anthony Vaughn met us there. Ashley Adams. photograper and owner of Unique Kreations volunteered her time to take so many splendid pictures of the day. The weather was fantastic, the van was ready for pickup, everyone arrived at the hospital and we were later joined by Albert and his wife. The youth made a lovely sign for us in gratitude and even some hand made thank you cards for all donors.
Albert Calloway is a special person. Even though he is battling 4th stage kidney disease, he still finds time to help others. He sings in the Unity Atlanta Choir and is always available with a ready smile and hearty hug for anyone in need. It is OTSE's honor to have dedicated this suitcase drive to him in the same spirit that he too, gives to all of us in his life. We salute our OTSE team members for stepping up to the plate and hitting us all a home run! We also had many people who donated cases who are not our members. These were good people blessed our members with no hesitation to help. We thank them so very much, too!
Advisory Council Member Stephanie Scott, Vice Chair Roderick Scott and their good friend Teresa Bell made it their goal to bring in the most suitcases for this drive. Teresa is such a giver. She braved a storm on one of the last days of the drive in order to make sure the foster care youth got the cases she felt they deserved. We thank these three special people for going up to the plate and helping the team to score a home run!
Our Advisory Council Members are very special people. They are usually very busy people in management positions. Qu'ran is the principal of Mohammad School Of Atlanta in Georgia. She is always busy but she made time for this and hit the ground running! She not only got people at the school to donate cases, she went to her family and friends, too. If that wasn't enough, she also donated pajamas for the children! We love and thank her so very much!
These are pictures of us busy working to get the cases unloaded and inside. We then enjoyed getting our pictures taken to have a living memory of the day! Board Member Natasha Vaughn-Tucker donated suitcases and Board Member Jamal Craft donated the funds used to rent the UHaul Van. So we had 100% Board and Advisory Council Members participation! Thanks to everyone who gave to us and to the foster care children of Laurel Heights Hospital from their hearts. We appreciate you all!