The title says it all.
I can't believe I am packing Beanie Babies.
So, if you have read the story about the Beanie Baby Disaster, you will certainly wonder why I would again consider packing a suitcase full of Beanie Babies for children in El Salvador.
the Youth Center in Guazapa has a very good program called, "Toys Not Arms." About five years ago, my friend Greasy and I were present for the first anniversary celebration of the Youth Center. Recently, the pastor wrote to me remembering this special connection, and she humbly asked if we could send some toys for an upcoming month of anti-violence activities. The Toys Not Arms program will be a part of the overall program, and the anti-violence sculpture will be expanded and renewed.
Over the years, I have seen evidence that the Toys Not Arms program has been present in various communities as part of greater anti-violence initiatives. These initiatives seem to make a difference when the church, the schools, the local government, the local police and other non-profit agencies work together to provide after-school and weekend activities and classes for children and youth.
Now, of course I happen to think that if kids are going to trade in toy guns (or guns and weapons of any kind which they find or acquire), little cuddly and cute stuffed animals are the perfect anti-weapon gift to give in return. When the church where I work in the US received bags and bags of little stuffed animals as a donation, it was a huge blessing! There were more than enough to share, and so, with God's sense of humor guiding the way, I find myself stuffing 100 Beanie Babies into an old tweed suitcase for their journey to Guazapa. A friend also was able to get a big supply of yo-yo's and donations of crayons...also good anti-weapon gifts for children youth who are learning to say NO to violence.
This time, there will be no Beanie Baby Disaster. This time, children and youth will receive a small gift of peace and play as they turn away from toys which promote violence.