Posts Tagged ‘Mercy Ships’

We Can All Do Something

July 31, 2008

I am kind of between “volunteer assignments” for a couple of weeks.  Being the type of person who gets bored easily, I started to think about what constructive thing I could do with these several weeks.  I don’t have a lot of money or a lot of talent.  Then I got to thinking about how Mercy Ships needs patient care kits for their patients.  Their patients arrive at the ship with literally nothing more than the clothes they are wearing, so the kinds of things American patients bring to the hospital with them have to be provided by the ship.  To help with this kind of project doesn’t require much.  Articles for the kits are sometimes provided by organizations, but the bags themselves are sometimes hard to come by.  However, if you have time on your hands, you can easily sew a 14-18 inch bag.  There are lots of simple patterns in Walmart for tote bags.  If you want to line your tote, you can, but if you have fairly strong fabric, you can finish off the edge with bias tape or blanket binding, or just hem it.  Handles for your tote can be cord or fabric you have sewed onto the edge of the tote.  You can also make drawstring bags.  Just make them 14 to 18 inches across and deep, sew a hem at the top and thread in some cord.   I just bought enough fabric remnants to make 15 bags.  They cost me an average 60 cents per remnant in the remnant bin at Walmart.  You can decorate your bags any way you like.

If you want to fill your bag, you can put in the little comfort items you yourself like when traveling.  Toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, comb, hand held mirror, some wet wipes, lip balm, lotion–that sort of thing.  No need to add a towel or wash cloth–those are provided on the ward.  If you want to make a bag for a child, you can decorate it with children’s themes and add a small stuffed toy.

When you are ready, you can mail your bags filled or unfilled to:

Mercy Ships   P.O. Box 2020   Garden Valley, TX  75771

This could also be a great idea for a group project–or a scavenger hunt to get the “filler” items.  We can all do something.  Meanwhile, check out the website

How to Make a Difference

April 30, 2008

With “Make a Difference” day just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to tell how to make a difference across the world without leaving your own home.

Mercy Ships is an international health charity which provides first world life changing surgeries free of charge to third world patients.  It has performed thousands of facial plastic surgeries ranging from cleft lip and palate repair to removal of life threatening facial and neck tumors.  It has performed eye surgeries initiating sight for people with congenital cataracts.  Imagine seeing your parent or spouse for the first time.  The joy on videos of these encounters is contagious.

How can we help from home?  One can donate money on a monthly basis, but if you want to be a little more personal, why not consider putting together a patient care kit?  It will be given to one of the patients aboard the Africa Mercy, and you can include a “get well” card you have made or bought, and it will bring huge encouragement to the individual.  You can make or buy a bag large enough to include: a hand held mirror, wash cloths, a travel package of wet wipes, a large bar of soap, a tube of toothpaste, a net shower puff, a comb and a toothbrush.  If you don’t want to do a package, but find a bargain on any of these items, please feel free to send them along.  You can mail them to:

Mercy ships

Attn:  Procurement

15862 Hwy 110 N

Lindale, TX 75771


You can also send craft items for patients to use during recovery.  Examples:

Yarn, crochet hooks, colored paper, art supplies, scissors, brightly colored fabric, thread, zippers and buttons.

Dollar and Discount Stores part 2

March 20, 2008

I was poking fun at dollar and discount stores in my last post, but I truly love them.  There are so many ways to use dollar and discount stores to help people or bring them happiness when you, yourself, are on a tight budget.

One organization that gives the poorest of poor children a Christmas is Samaritan’s Purse.  Every Christmas they collect shoe boxes with gifts for poor children all over the world.  The gifts can be small toys, candy, gum, pencils, toothbrushes, crayons and small color books, notebooks, etc.  Seems so small to us, but to a child who has never before received a Christmas gift, it means the world.  You can fill such a shoebox at a dollar store for about $10.  If you make a few local phone calls, you can find a location near you where they are collecting the shoeboxes, and take in yours.  The organization is called Samaritan’s Purse, and you can find them online to see what happens to the shoeboxes, and how many were distributed last year.

Another thing you can do with your dollar store purchases is fill hospital patient kits for Mercy Ships.  Right now Mercy Ships has both hospital ship-based and land-based surgery facilities in West Africa.  If you didn’t know, West Africa was torn by years of civil war, and many people there have almost nothing.  When they check into the hospital they have nothing to bring with them.  At a dollar store you can get a plastic or canvas or cloth bag, and fill it with a bath towel and washcloth, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, a packet of wet wipes, a bath sponge, and a hand held mirror.  You can do all this for  about $12 to $15 at a dollar store.  You can send your bag to Mercy Ships International Headquarters in Lindale, Texas.  Check out their website at

I’m sure there are dozens or hundreds of opportunities online to do good using dollar store purchases.  When we are on tight budgets ourselves, we are tempted to think whatever we can do is too small to do any good.  Thats not true.  Some very small gifts mean a huge difference to the person who receives them.

When I lost my first child, it was right before Christmas time.  I was in the hospital Christmas Eve, a grieving mom with empty arms.  On Christmas morning, I found on the overhead table, a small stocking.  It had a comb, some candy and a couple other items.  It also had a card inside that said “God has not forgotten you.  He knows you are here.  We have not forgotten you either, and you are in our prayers.”  I don’t know the people who left it, but I can tell you it meant the world to me at that time, and I never forgot it.

Do whatever good you can–its never too small.  Smiles are free, and you never know but your smile may be the only one someone got that day.