Do Something Worth Writing (About)

Hey! It’s been a minute, but I think I finally found something worth writing about. A few years ago, I purchased this print from Fleurish Home and Garden

at a Vintage Bazaar. Ben Franklin had it write*; interesting reads begin with purpose. This month, after two years of languishing in some sort of pandemic hell malaise, I have found just that purpose. Recently, I happened upon a TikTok video on my FYP. (for those who’ve not had the pleasure of this time-wasting activity, scrolling through videos about nothing and everything, FYP is the for you page-the algorithm that TikTok uses to determine what you’d like to watch, because apparently, you’re not able to do that on your own). The video I happened upon was of a woman’s voice-over, explaining how she was putting together some bedding to give to a refugee family while displaying her choices on screen.

And so, I discovered

Intrigued, I kept watching…and watching…the videos are short but incredibly heartfelt and places on full display what happens when people leave dire situations where they cannot exist peacefully or thrive. More often than not, moving with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and with little to no resources, these are the people: friends and neighbors, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents and teens, and so many little children who have nothing, that turn to Project Home Again for assistance in setting up their new living spaces-all free of charge. If you watch the video below, it will give you a better sense of what they are all about.

The brainchild of founder Nancy Kanell, Project Home Again has been in existence for over 19 years in the Lawrence/Andover area of Massachusetts. You can read all about the origins in their bio, linked here. Suffice to say that the fateful decision of Nancy’s to help one friend-a domestic abuse survivor-to replace a broken stove, has changed the lives of so many, many more. So why are they on Tiktok and where do I fit in this story? For years, they have simply relied on the kindness and generosity of their neighbors and friends in their surrounding towns-everything from bedding to kitchenware to furniture was donated, sorted and then readied to give to someone in need.

The clients would then go into the warehouse where everything is displayed, and they would choose what they wanted. Once the pandemic hit, the warehouse had to be closed to visitors, so Nancy would make the choices herself with the guidance of the social workers who were representing the clients. What a precious selection for a dino-loving little boy : )

Also, since people could no longer visit the facility or donate their goods, Nancy turned to Tiktok as a means of telling the story of Project Home and spreading some “good vibes” during such difficult times. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine what would come next. Currently with 420K+ followers and over 10 million likes, her legion of donators log in to hear her stories and the thoughtful process in which she chooses the household goods to be given to each recipient. As her following has increased, so have the donations-from across the country and around the world. Bedding, bath, lamps, rugs, household appliances, curtains, decorations, kitchenware & furniture…

if she mentions a need, or it is listed on their wish list, it is fulfilled by her amazingly generous followers via Amazon and Target and Walmart and so many more. With the increased online exposure, the donations are increasing, but the requests from agencies and social workers are also growing exponentially. The beauty of this is that the more Project Home Again receives, the more they are able to give to the over 160+ agencies across the state requesting assistance.

As for me, since the town where they are based is literally 20 minutes north of me, I reached out to ask if they needed any volunteers (one of the great perks about being retired is having the time to give). And they did, so I am now a member of the volunteer army at Project Home Again. The volunteers that I am honored to be working alongside of are so generous with their time and happy to help out in any way necessary. This week, we hauled mattresses, opened mountains of boxes

(and BTW- to whomever the person is that invented those air-pocket plastic shipping pillows- UGH), sorted, marked and shelved the donations, moved furniture, and put together a full display of items for clients as they arrived to pick up their newly acquired goods. The work is gratifying, sometimes heavy, a lot of fun and quite emotional when you realize how those less fortunate are struggling just to survive.

To read more about this incredible organization, please visit their website. There, you can learn how to donate goods or money, request assistance or become a partnering institution or a volunteer (like me!). And as for TikTok, go ahead and take a look at her almost daily posts. I promise that you will be just as profoundly moved and awed as I am while watching Nancy’s videos. In this time of continued pandemic strife and amid all the negativity in this world, Project Home Again shines a bright light on the goodness and generosity of our fellow humans. Have the best day you deserve. XOXOXO Susan


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