September 24, 2005
Hurricane Evacuee Albums
September 22, 2005
I received the following email from a sweet friend of mine yesterday and just had to share it with you:
For those of you that don't know, recently some of my customers and fellow Creative Memories™ consultants volunteered to donate albums and their time to create pre-decorated albums entitled "New Beginnings" for some families victimized by the hurricane. Realizing that the majority of those affected lost everything, including every picture they owned, I wanted to communicate to them that the "future memories" they will make are just as important, and this album would serve for preserving those. We wrote out Jeremiah 29:11 on the cover page, right underneath its title "New Beginnings."
Yesterday, some friends from my church and I had the privilege to go downtown to the Los Angeles Dream Center, where they are currently housing 300 people from New Orleans displaced by the hurricane. Each family that we presented a scrapbook to, also received a disposable camera (which had been donated by various businesses), page protectors, a tape runner and a pen for journaling. I'd love to share with you what happened . . .
When we got there, it was a little chaotic; so many volunteers, so much physical work to do (packing boxes and sorting donations). Security was tight, and we were all informed that we were not going to be allowed in the dorms (where all of the evacuees are living) but would have to stay outside. I was very nervous at the possibility of not being allowed to personally give the scrapbook albums away. Well, God gave us favor . . .before we knew it, one of the workers there had gotten us passes, and within a few minutes, we were ushered into the dorms! We were told we would help clean toys and set up furniture in the play area and to just interact with the families. I was so excited!
Well, the first woman I met was Melissa and she was friendly and had 3 daughters. They wandered the streets for a long time before finding a shelter. A few days later, someone from the Dream Center came to Baton Rouge and offered to fly her family to Los Angeles. She (along with everyone we met) is so thankful to be here. I asked Melissa how she likes living in CA, and she said, "Oh, it's been exciting!" Last week, I got to meet Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James at an event and oh, WAIT! I have pictures I took with Sandra, and you must see them! I'll be right back!" She came back with her pictures and was excitedly showing them to me. There were amazing pictures of Sandra with Melissa's daughters.
I knew right away that she was the first person I was to give an album to. There is no other way to put this, then to say she freaked out! She thought it was the most amazing gift she had ever received and asked if we could scrapbook her pictures right now. We did, and it looked fabulous. She was showing off her album to everyone! She cried and thanked me so many times. (She is the one in the picture that I am hugging.)
The next album was saved for a woman named Joyce. She had a baby right before the hurricane, and although she was not in the building at the time, Melissa begged me to save it for her, and promised to pass it along to her. She knew Joyce would love it.
It was easy to know who to give the next album to . . .Katrina. Single mother of 5 (ADORABLE kids, one of them a 4 week old baby). I gave her Jen's album, and she too loved it. Today was her 11 year old daughter's birthday, and I took tons of pictures on my digital camera of her kids that I promised to send her. The kids all wanted to see the album and couldn't wait to get their pictures in it. (I am pictured with Katrina and her 5 kids).
I then headed up to the 4th floor where I met a mother of 5 month old twins. I asked her if she like to take pictures, and she said YES! She only wished she had a camera. I pulled one out for her and she was so excited. I then gave her Maria's album and she couldn't get over how beautiful it was. Later, I met her sister with her 4 kids (they are ALL sharing one dorm room) and we decided that they would share the album and put all of their kids' pictures in it. (I am pictured with her and her two babies . . .I am holding the little boy.)
My final album to give away went to two best friends, Crystal and Joslyn. They had the privilege of receiving Kelli's album. I LOVED these two women. They shared so much with me about the horrors they experienced when the levies broke and about the Convention Center. Joselyn loves taking pictures, especially of her grandchildren, and was still grieving about all of the memories she lost in the flood. When I showed her the album, she said it was the most thoughtful and beautiful gift she had ever received. She is a very intelligent woman, who had a great job back home, and was fascinated about Creative Memories. She asked a lot of questions about scrapbooking and begged me to come and teach a class there:) She said, "I've got to learn how to make these albums myself, so that each of my children can have one." I told her about workshops and she said she'd love to come and work on her book.
I've got to tell you that when she opened the book up, and saw Jeremiah 29:11 written on the cover page, she cried. This precious woman read the verse out loud and exclaimed, "This is SO TRUE!" God DOES have a plan for my life. He saved me by bringing me here!! It was time to leave at that point, but I could've stayed and talked to her all day. These two women were the type that you would want to go have coffee with. I will always remember them. (They are pictured reading the cover page of their album.)
Well, my friends, I want to thank each of you that played a role in touching these women's lives today. Some of you donated albums and others of you spent hours making the beautiful pages. I was so unsure as to what the response was going to be like, but I can assuredly tell you that it was a HIT! I really want more of these families to receive an album, so continue making them, and telling your customers about the opportunity to donate an album. These people are going to be living at the Dream Center for a while. Let me know if you have a desire to go down there yourself, or if you have any ideas or questions. There are people in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, especially, that would love to receive one. Thanks again for opening up your hearts.
Isn’t that the greatest story! If you would like information on how you can partner with Shawna and her friends, or perhaps you would like to do something like this in your own town, feel free to send an email to Shawna at:
Posted by weblion at 10:51 AM