As we shared the vision for The Veterans Ice Cream Party with people in our community, we got the same question over and over: How did you come up with the idea? I have immense respect for every person who serves in our armed forces but I couldn’t take any credit for the idea AT ALL!
Selah didn’t know that her grandfather was in the Navy and fought in Vietnam. She didn’t know that her uncle was a Marine and fought in Afghanistan. And none of us knew her sister would soon join the Army. I hadn’t done my part to instill respect in her for service members. Sad, but true.
In spite of my failing, she surprised me on Christmas Day. It was almost embarrassing. Our friends and family members flooded her with gifts. As she opened box after box and bag after bag, I could feel my angst increasing with each squeal of delight. I was happy she talked about how much she felt loved and how much she appreciated everything but it felt a bit slippery for me.
I dropped nugget after nugget that she was so blessed until she opened her last gift. I asked her how she could be a blessing to someone else as an act of appreciation for how blessed she was. Her immediate response was, “I want to bless the people who fought for our country.”
I was shocked. It seemed so random and not even the language of a seven year old. With no elegance at all, I responded with, “Huh?”
After she repeated herself, I asked, “How do you want to bless them?”
Her response was truly that of a seven year old, “I want to give them an ice cream party with sprinkles!”
AN ICE CREAM PARTY WITH SPRINKLES. OK.
I asked so now I was committed to help her bring this little vision to fruition. The party was AWESOME!!! We had hoped to host another one in 2018 but between Selah’s surgery and the birth of a new grandchild, we weren’t in town enough to pull it off. So, we’re gonna do it again as a part of the Kindness Campaign 2020!! In Selah’s words: Yay, vets and sprinkles!!!
The party wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have the support of several precious people who helped us organize the event or donated money towards the effort. We did not anticipate the level of enthusiasm and support we would receive. It was overwhelming and so encouraging to be in a position that we had more money than we needed to host the party.
We found ourselves hunting for a local organization that serves the needs of veterans in our community to donate the additional funds. It wasn’t as easy as I thought but Selah went with me as we drove around vetting organizations and sharing information about our effort.
We were finally referred to The Crossings because they provide supportive housing for several veterans. Selah was so happy to give the donation to the representative at The Crossings. He told us the donation helped two veterans bring their accounts to a current statute because they were behind in their payments. He was visibly moved by her gesture and continued to marvel that a 7yr old would do all she had done. I cried the entire time. Crying, bookkeeping, and driving were my only contributions.
I want to publicly thank the folks who were a part of this effort but I don’t want to do so without permission. I am perpetually thankful to them because I believe the Veterans Ice Cream Party was the catalyst for The Kindness Campaign. My role has expanded a little. I’ll be crying, bookkeeping, driving, and managing her social media accounts!…but mostly crying.