By Donna Weideman
When our family joined APLC, I was impressed with the congregation’s support of different mission partners each month. With one middle and one high school student, we were looking for a volunteer opportunity in which the entire family could participate. When November came around that first year (2012), we learned about APLC’s partnership with Transplants for Children.
We hauled the kids out early one Saturday morning to help sort pounds and pounds of food, then we took one of the Thanksgiving baskets to deliver. In December the process was repeated, sorting beautifully wrapped gifts for the transplant child and their families. And we delivered again.
That is where the magic began – visiting the families. We’ve been delivering food baskets or Christmas gifts for several years now and we’ve learned there is no discrimination for those who need transplants – no age, no racial profile, no income level.
Some of our deliveries were joyful. One year my husband and I visited with the parents while our son played video games with their young son who couldn’t go to school because he was still weak and immune-suppressed. One family was delighted when my daughter played with the family dog that had received little attention because of the illness in the family.
Other times we listened to hard stories. Last year we delivered Christmas gifts to a 15 year-old girl and her mother. The girl received a kidney transplant at age 7, but the kidney recently failed and she was back on dialysis. The mom explained that her daughter would be placed back on a transplant list and they would wait… again.
Transplants are amazing medical procedures that can extend and improve the lives of patients. But, they are costly in monetary terms and in sacrificial loss of jobs, travel for treatments, time caring for the transplant recipient and other family members. Much in the family life suffers through the long process. What our congregation does for these families is a small but very meaningful and appreciated demonstration of what we are called to do: share the love of God and serve others.
Our kids are grown now, but my husband and I look forward to delivering again and giving a small bit of help and cheer this holiday season. It’s ThanksGIVING at it’s best.