Last night Jim Stevens of Gifts to Give hosted a remarkable dinner attended by over a hundred people from New Bedford and surrounding towns. Most had not visited the refurbished textile mill that houses Gifts to Give. I always enjoy seeing how moved people are when they see how much is being accomplished with so little.
Gifts to Give uses volunteer labor of all ages to sort donated books, clothes and toys and put them into custom packages for kids in need. (iCare is a major sponsor.) While parents and older kids are sorting donations, littler kids as young as 2 draw custom birthday gift wrap. Just talking about this gets me choked up. You can imagine the effect it has on a kid who doesn’t usually get birthday presents to receive one with hand-drawn wrapping paper, just for them. I consider Jim a true pioneer – he has a vision and the determination to make it happen. That he does it in a way that brings people together doing work that makes them feel a part of building a stronger community makes it especially heartwarming. Last night was a magical way of seeing what he has accomplished in a short time, and a way to inspire the local community to build and sustain Jim’s dream that is becoming reality.