Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Lost and Found Lady

Just when I got all of the books out of the garage, (78 boxes are now at the storage unit waiting for the shipping day) I started to get calls from local elementary schools that they had bags of clothes and coats to donate from their Lost and Found. And when I say bags, I mean bags and bags and bags of great stuff. There were even brand new shoes! 

 I am taking out the lightweight jackets and clothes, washing them and then packing them to go to Africa. Luckily the ship has not sailed yet so I will be able to bring these to the container on loading day.

But what do I do with the heavy winter clothes? Yesterday, I got a call from a local children's charity and I was planning to give them the winter coats, hats and gloves until I found out that they just turn around and SELL them to a store which them SELLS them to the needy. Oh, no, you don't. These clothes were GIVEN to me for free and will be GIVEN to the needy for FREE.

But where do I find people who need winter clothes. Then Voila, just today, I just met two women from Darfur while they were picking up school supplies from the same school as I for a village school they are helping back in Darfur. We starting chatting, I had recently read the book What is the What  by Dave Eggers, a memoir about one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and was able to speak with some knowledge about the hardships of refugees in South Sudan. These women know a great many refugee families who arrive in America with little more than the clothes on their backs and NEED winter clothes for their kids. BINGO! The winter clolthes have found a new home. The lightweight clothes go to needy kids in Africa and the heavy weight clothes go to Africans living in America, how apropos!

Time to start sorting and washing!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Generosity is Contagious

There was a lot of "Giving Back" and "Paying it Forward" in Northern Virginia last week.

On Wednesday night - Frank and Judy Kenefick bought a wheelchair on Craigslist for a man they had never met.  Kwadwo is the custodian at Wolf Trap Elementary School and has been looking for a wheelchair for his sister back in Ghana.

On Friday morning - I brought the wheelchair to Wolf Trap Elementary. Kwadwo has a contact who ships to Ghana monthly. So, his sister in Kumasi will get the wheelchair quicker than waiting for my shipment which is going through Accra. And, now, I have another contact for shipping donations to Africa. :) 

Diane Long, who works in the school's office, decided to send out a notice to other elementary schools in the area, letting them know that I was collecting their extra books and supplies to send to a school in need in Africa. Well, an hour later, I got a call from White Oaks Elementary School in Burke, Virginia. They had donations too! While I was driving to Burke to pick up their donations, Gail Magnani dropped off a wonderful selection of sewing needles and notions to be packed with the sewing machines.You rock Gail!

On Saturday morning, I ran out to meet a woman who had children's clothes to donate. I just had met her the day before and we struck up a random conversation about charities. The next thing I know she is offering to clean out her grandchildren's closets and she did!

On the way home I stopped at a garage sale and found a computer monitor and keyboard for sale so I quickly grabbed them. While I was numbering the boxes and putting bright pink duct tape on them so they could easily be spotted in the container,
Marge Buzzelli, pulls up with her grandchildren's old bicycles. We are going to give them to Daniel, my shipping contact, because he also sends bikes to Ghana.

A few minutes later, Daniel calls to say that he is at the storage unit and could I bring the boxes right away. Yikes, my husband Ken woke up covered in poison ivy and we were hoping to take him to the doctor for a quick steroid shot before packing the truck. Well, that had to wait. We quickly sprayed some calamine on Ken's wounds and filled our car and our neighbor Tom's truck with as many boxes as we could and headed off to Public Storage in Woodbrige, VA.

Tom and Ken filling the truck.

Tom and Ken unloading the truck.
We dropped off 59 boxes

but the garage is still pretty full of donations yet to be packed.
Luckily Daniel agreed to wait one more week so that I can get the rest of the boxes to him. Whew. It was a busy weekend.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Women in America are Helping Women in Africa

This is really becoming a community project. I love it when people stop by to help or bring donations.  
My neighbor Lynda MacGregor came over and helped pack boxes of books.
Gail Magnani inspects the sewing machines to see what types of needle they need.

Gail bought 10 brand new backpacks and lots of school supplies. She received this limited edition print as a thank you gift for her donation.

Jewelry and Fiber Artist Donna Barnako donated to purchase the power converters needed to get the machines working in Africa. Thanks Donna!

Every day I seem to get one Ghanaian experience. When the recycling truck arrived I could tell that one of the drives looked Ghanaian, and he was. He was excited to see my garage full of donations going to help the poor children in his county. We chatted a bit and I tried to impress him with my limited vocabulary in Twi. I must step up my lessons if I am going back this Fall.

So it was a good day on the America to Africa front.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Painting Gift for those who Give school supplies

I just went back to school shopping at 5Below and got some great deals for the shipment going to the kids in Africa this weekend. For those of you who have asked me how you can help, stop by 5 Below and pick up a few back packs, pairs of shoes, white board markers or writing booklets. Feel free to drop them off anytime. I am usually home everyday painting or working on the computer.  I will give each person who buys school supplies this limited edition print as a gift.

 Babies, oil painting by Adrienne kralick

Backpacks for the children at Future Leaders in Ghana.
This is what I bought today at 5Below.  The quality is really amazing for $5. I also bought pencil sharpeners, writing booklets and white board markers.

Last year, I sent handwriting booklets and they were very helpful. Those have already been used up and they need more.  I bought a bunch of these today at 5Below for just $2.50 each. I could use tons more.
 The first time I went to Ghana, the children stood in line, waiting to hand me their own tattered little packet of paper, so that I could give them "homework". I flipped through to find a page or part of a page free so that I could make dots in the shape of letters so that they could practice their letters. I couldn't believe it. They did not even have their own notebook or handwriting booklet.

These shoes were also $5. I bought these for my little friend Mary. I am hoping to get more for the other children.

The deadline to get this shipment off is this coming Saturday August 9th. Call me if you have anything to donate or need a pick up. Thank you!!! Adrienne 571-437-5060

Friday, August 1, 2014

Well Off Women of Africa

Colorful oil painting for sale of African women in Accra, Ghana.
Original Oil Painting, "Well Off"
To purchase this painting or print on my secure on line store.

I was told by a friend in Africa, that some of the most financially "well off" families in Ghana are those supported by the women who own and operate the little stalls in the Medina market in Accra. "Well off" is a relative term, but in this case, it means that they are able to put food on the table, clothe their children and pay for them to go to school. It is my dream that all the world's children can be that "well off". That is why I am donating proceeds from the sale of this painting, and the others on my  site and store to the children's charity, Future Leaders Underprivileged Children's Center, which provides free education for the needy children living in one of the poorest slums near Accra.

African oil painting displayed on the wall of Adrienne Kralick's dining room.
African oil painting displayed on the wall of Adrienne Kralick's traditional home.

I have included these picture to show how the painting looks on the wall of my house. I was pleasantly surprised to see how great these vibrant colorful paintings complement my  traditional colonial style home and European influenced home furnishings.