Today our service site was the Lowcountry Orphan Relief Center and it was completely not what I expected. Just from the name of the organization, I now understand more clearly what it is there for, but in the beginning I had the assumption that this was an orphanage of sorts and we may have a little bit of interaction with the children. Unfortunately that was not the case but it was still a rewarding service project in many ways, including that we learned so much about what it is the organization does. When a child is taken from their home and placed with a temporary foster parent that does not have the money up front to purchase clothing for the child, they can place an “order” here where the child can get up to a week’s worth of clothing to last until the families are able to get the funds needed to purchase a wardrobe for the child. From our organization of the many rooms, we realized just how many donations are given to this organization. There were closets and shelves completely filled to the brim of clothing just waiting for a child in need. During our work, we were able to talk to one of the workers who provided us with a more specific idea of just how many children they serve. During their busiest months of August and December, on average 700 and 600 children respectively are served. To me, this was just such a shocking fact because I come from such a small area that this number just seems mind-baffling, when in reality in an area this large this may not be that large of a number. It just really puts into perspective how many children are in need of just the basic necessities to get through the days. We were also told that the center’s largest expense is on school uniform clothing. When told this, we were also told that this is true because without the clothes, the children either would not be allowed to go to school, or would not feel comfortable going to school having already been put into a completely different situation than they are used to and possibly having had a traumatic experience, in clothes that are not like everyone else’s and having to look different from the rest. At one point the work was frustrating because it was so crowded in some of the rooms that we were unable to organize but had to move to another room to be able to sort the clothes. Now when we were moved to another room where we started sorting, we had some communication errors because to one of the other workers, “Juniors” meant “Ladies” and “Women’s” was “Ladies” therefore we had to change some of the piles around to try to get our organization system back. Today was an overall great day with many rewards and I can’t wait until tomorrow!
Lauren Stevens 3/12/12