Phúóng worked with both the school and church at St. Bartholomew's to collect new stuffed animals and boxes of crayons to include in the bags packed for refugee children at Camp Atterbury. She shared the story of the comfort that she received in the gift of a stuffed animal when her family moved to the United States as refugees, and we are grateful that she is allowing us to share her story with everyone! Thank you for supporting children in crisis with gifts that address emotional challenges along with physical needs. You are making a difference!
Below Phúóng shares her story:
I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our parish and school to fulfill the request from Beloved. We more than met our goal of 1050 stuffed animals and 1050 boxes of crayons. Thank you to all of you who donated! I know that giving stuffed animals may have seemed like such a small insignificant item and when we speak about necessities for refugees this is not exactly what many think of. I wanted to share a little part of me that I hope gives others perspective.
I myself was a refugee from South Vietnam more than 46 years ago. I was given a small yellow bear with bells in his ears. “Jingles” is his name. This bear was given to me by someone from the church that sponsored my family. For several years that was the only toy I had. It remained my favorite. Like any other little girl I played pretend school with him. I took him on all my adventures. I even took him to ‘show and tell’ at school. Later in my life I took him to undergraduate school where he sat on my bookshelf or my desk. He studied abroad with me as I literally circumnavigated the world and I even took him to Hawaii when I went in grad school. You could say he is a very well-traveled bear.
I have since passed Jingles on to my daughters so he is still in the family. So as you can see a seemingly insignificant item to everyone else can make all the difference in the world to a refugee child. God bless you all and thank you so very much!