Why does The Free Store need so many towels and blankets?
From Nov. 2013-Jan. 2014 The Free Store distributed nearly 600 towels and 75 blankets.
We served nearly 700 people (different people, some people come every week) since Sept 2013
I could not figure out why we were going through so many towels…
Why would that lady need to take so many? We do not limit how much people take because:
- We do not know “their story” (everybody has one)
- We encourage people to share with their neighbors and if we limit things, they may not be so willing to share.
So, why so many towels? Imagine this…
She lives with her husband, their 2 grown children who had to move in after their son lost his job (there are simply not a lot of jobs in rural areas) and their daughter who lost everything in the flood, because they did not have flood insurance (our area actually did experience heavy flooding early winter 2013 and several of our families are now without homes and things). Their son has 2 children and their daughter has 2 children. That brings the total of people in the house to 8. Even if you reuse a towel a couple times for the week, this household would need 16 towels a week. (how many towels do you pack for just yourself for a week at Camp Christian? I know I would pack at least 4) If they each used 4 that would mean they would need 32 towels a week for this one house. That is IF they could go to a laundry facility once a week. 32 towels would be at least 4 loads of laundry in a standard machine. To do a load of laundry at a Laundromat costs about $3.50 a load. That is $14 to just do towels. Not to mention, the travel and gas to get there. The closest laundry facility to The Free Store is roughly 8 miles so 16 miles roundtrip. So, add another $4 for a gallon of gas. So now, $18 a week just for clean towels.
If she did not travel to the facility each week to save time and money, she would need to have even more than 32 towels to get this family through with relatively clean towels.
Everyone should have a clean towel in this country. We have enough. I am certain of it.
We figure we have served over 200 families. If each family had these needs…32 towels x 200=6400 towels. NO WONDER WE NEED SO MANY!
So, why so many blankets? Imagine this…
3 teens … They live with their mom. They live in a one bedroom house, the floor, barely there in some rooms , no carpeting or flooring, just subfloor (the wood under the carpet)...The living room is also used for sleeping. They have a mattress on the floor, another sleeping pad made of blankets. They keep the heat low to conserve energy and money. The house is not well insulated. The floor, quite cold one can imagine. How many blankets might it take to make a “bed”? I would guess at least 3, but comfortably 5. How many to put over top of you when the temperature hits record lows of -10 with a 40 below wind chill (welcome to the winter of 2014). I would guess another 3 at least. One person uses 6-8 blankets. The other 3 in the house will use at least 2 blankets. That is 6 more. This house needs at least 12 blankets.
200 families x 12 blankets =2,400.
Now, not all of our families are these extreme cases. But, most of our families are not far from these circumstances. Many people I talk with do not have beds. They make beds with blankets. Some do not have heat. Some have heat, but lose it through poorly insulated homes, drafty windows & doors and keep the thermostat set low enough to manage but not nearly enough to be comfortable.
These are people’s stories. These are people who live just down the street from me; living in these challenging circumstances. Here, in the United States of America, people are living in these conditions. If all who could gave a blanket or two, or a towel or two, together, we could really make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. We ARE making a difference. We HAVE made a difference. The Free Store at Camp Christian has assisted over 200 families, we guestimate 800+ people since we began in 2010. I have people say to me “we don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have this place”. “Getting clothes for my kids here allows me to have money to buy food, pay the bills”.
I see the face of God on each person who walks through the door. They are my neighbor, my brother, my sister.
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’