It was just a couple of days ago that I asked one of the Mansion staffers if there was anything in particular that the Mansion residents needed. I ask all the time.
Two of them took me aside and told me that many of the residents run out of money in the middle of the month with the small accounts they have. They run out of soap, shampoo or body wash. They had no way of really cleaning themselves.
People who labored for 40 and 50 years and saved every penny to retire safely couldn't afford to buy soap while the average U.S.Congressmen or women average $750,000 a year in income. It just boggles the mind.
But today is not a time to argue but to celebrate. Packages came quickly from all over the country.
And so quickly. Tuesday, I ran out to Rite-Aid with Maria and we bought some emergency supplies.
I posted a message about it on the blog. That was just a few days ago, the staff took me down into the basement storage area to show me what today's mail and delivery trucks (and a puzzled postman) brought. They took over a special cabinet to store the stuff, and more is on the way.
Some of the soap and shampoo and body wash has already been distributed ("everybody here smells sweet today," one of the residents told me. Everyone asked me to pass along deep thanks.)
In one sense, this is the most important photograph I have ever taken at the Mansion. It embodies the mission and the way in which we can really help these people. We can't change the realities of life or aging, but we will try to fill the holes in their existence,whenever we can.
We have come together in a fractured world to form a community whose only purpose is to do good in a time when doing good seems strangely out of fashion, and where mercy cries out for a place in our lives.
Mercy lives in the Army Of Good.I love how we use technology to do good rather than to argue. I sometimes think of all the good that big Twitter account in Washington could do it if was devoted to helping people, just one every day.
I had no idea this soap and shampoo stuff was a monthly problem for so many people there, their monthly allowances are small and sometimes, they run out of their medicines before the end of the month. They don't usually tell anyone, they simply do without for a few days or weeks.
I am amazed at all of this soap, shampoo and body wash – good stuff – that arrived in so short a time. The residents should have their soap, body wash and shampoo for months to come, and I will keep an eye on it.
The Mansion staff was incredulous, and also very happy to be able to distribute these essential items. This is a human dignity issue and whenever I need to feel good and hopeful about the world, I will go down into the basement and open up this cabinet. Many thanks, the Army of Good is sporting a halo tonight.
Other good things were happening at the Mansion today. Their cat Summer was spayed and in residence. Connie is healing up. Two staffers went to Wal-Mart to spend $100 on the residents who had no money to buy new clothes or shoes ( no need to send clothes, thanks, or shoes). Tonight, they have their new clothes and shoes (all paid for).
I ordered an overbed table for Jane, so she can paint in her wheelchair. The table cost $149, people can donate by sending a check to P.O.Box 205. Cambridge, N.Y., 12816 or via Paypal Friends and Family, [email protected] If you send money, please mark it for the Mansion or the Overbed for Jane.
And everybody in the Mansion has soap and shampoo for some months to come.
What a sweet day. Gus and Red both came with me today, Gus is close (a few weeks) to doing regular therapy work.
I have an updated list of residents, for those who wish to write them at this address: 11 S. Mansion Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.
Jean, Ellen, Mary, Gerry, Sylvie, Jane, Diane, Alice, Jean, Madeline, Joan, Allan, William, John K., Helen, Connie, Robert, Shirley, Alanna, Charlotte, Barbara, Peggie, Dorothy, Art, John R., Brenda, Bruce, John Z.
—Art appreciates corresponding with people of faith, or people interested in spirituality. Connie could use some paperback mysteries.
May a million cherubs swoop down from the sky to kiss your cheeks and shower you with blessings.