Monday, December 3

Advent Acts of Kindness Finale!

This December we have decided to do Advent Acts of Kindness for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. All different ideas, both big and small, reaching into our neighborhoods, country and world. Anything from leaving quarters on a red box machine, to writing thank you letters to service men, to sponsoring a child in another country. We've invited you, our reader, to join us, and then post your acts of kindness on our facebook page. But we always had in mind to do a big finale leading up to December 25th, all together, you included. And here it is:

Being a single mom isn't easy.  According to the United States Census Bureau there are approximately 9.9 million single mother families within the United States today, with 126,000 of those mothers living in Minnesota. And while most of these mothers in Minnesota are working, 34% with children under 18 are still living below the poverty line, and 42% with children age 5 and under living below the poverty line.

But this is not the whole story. There is so much more to being a single mom than whats listed in these statistics. All of us know women who are raising children, working to provide for their families and they do it with determination, an incredible amount of hard work and perseverance. They are strong, beautiful and brave. And for our final Advent Acts of Kindness we want to honor them.

The Ruth Experience has decided to partner with Bridging the Gap, a statewide Christian organization, that seeks to “encourage, equip and empower every woman on her faith journey with Jesus Christ.”

Last year Bridging the Gap put on their first ever Single Moms Retreat in Alexandria, Minnesota. Over 200 single moms from across the state were in attendance. This year, they plan to do the same, expecting that number to grow.

What’s the goal? To let single mothers know that they are loved. To pamper them. And send them back to their families renewed.

How is this accomplished? By offering women a chance to get away for a night (food and lodging included) and be encouraged through amazing speakers, special concert by Sara Groves, a mini spa, car care (where mechanics literally work through the night to fix cars), and a boutique (where each mom can go and pick out a new outfit and accessories).
 
 
Dawn, a single mom who attended last years conference, had this to say:
It was amazing! It was the first time I spent a night away from Elijah, and I was a little nervous about it. But once I got there, God made it abundantly clear that I was where He wanted me to be. They said one of their goals was to pamper us and help us with the practical things. Being able to sit down and eat a meal without little sticky fingers in my plate, to sit around a table with a few ladies I had just met and put on makeup for the first time in months (just because) and giggling at the silliness of it, or going home with a brand new comforter for my bed...I was able to do all of those things, and I never knew how much I missed them. When it's just you and your kids, you don't think about yourself much anymore. It was nice to be reminded to take care of my needs, too. When I got back home, I was so ready to jump right back into things with Elijah. It really was a perfect weekend.

What can we do to help? Kristin, Julie and I have decided that for our final Advent Act of Kindness we are going to buy and collect things for the boutique so that every mom who attends the conference leaves knowing they are loved, cared for and remembered. We are asking if you would join us by buying and donating new items for the boutique. These items can include: shirts, sweaters, pants, dresses, skirts, coats and accessories such as: scarves, purses and new or gently used jewelry. We need clothing in all sizes, all that we ask is that the clothing donations be new items. These donated items will then be displayed in a boutique style store at the conference for the women to come and pick out a new outfit- all for free.


Clothing and accessories we picked up this weekend for the Single Moms Retreat
If shopping isn’t quite your thing, the other way to partner with us is to sponsor a mom so that she can attend the conference for free. The conference cost is just $59.00 and we would love to cover the costs for as many moms as would like to attend but can’t afford it. You can donate online at the Bridging the Gap website, just be sure to designate your funds for the single moms retreat.

Won’t you join us? This is a wonderful activity to do within your family, small group, women's ministry, work setting or church. In fact, this past weekend we got our very first donation from Living Way Church of Sauk Rapids, that loved this idea of blessing single moms and has committed to paying the registration fee for 50 moms to attend!

Big or small, one item or ten boxes full, it all matters, and we are so thankful for you!

Once you have your donations ready, you can contact us directly at: theruthexperience@hotmail and we will coordinate picking up your items.

3 comments :

  1. I am so touched! I attended the retreat last year, and it was such a blessing to be a part of something where I truly felt the love and support from other women. Knowing that someone validates my life and the strength it takes is so refreshing. I think sometimes we, as single moms, forget about ourselves. This retreat not only a time to refresh and take care of ourselves, but more importantly we receive the tools needed to go back and be the best parent we can be to our precious children. Thank you so much for doing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing a part of your story and experience with the single moms retreat! It brought tears to my eyes and is so encouraging to read. God bless you and your family!

      Delete