The goal of Rachel’s Kids Inc. is to provide opportunities and improved quality of life for those children who live in the inner city neighborhoods of Memphis. The sole focus of our effort is directed towards the children of the Binghampton section near Midtown Memphis.
A secondary goal is to develop professional, effective, and innovative grass-roots philanthropic leadership around the city. We have gone beyond saying love your neighbor; we have found a way to show them. Rachel's Kids has embraced the vision of former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who expresses our vision of Rachel’s Kids, "that every kid needs a relationship with a caring adult, safe places to meet, a healthy start, a place to develop marketable skills, and an opportunity to serve others".
Christmas Activities 2012
Reindeer Factory at Rachel's Flowers
The past several
months have been especially busy in the land of Rachel’s Kids. Rachel’s Flowers
hosted reindeer making days on three different Sunday’s to get a jump start on
the Christmas season. Volunteers, children
and parents gathered together to build reindeer and hopefully make lasting
connections. On each of the Sunday’s there were many reindeer made as well as
crafts for younger children to make. The first Sunday was held prior to
Halloween and the craft of the day was carving jack-o-lanterns for the children
to light at 6pm. The second Sunday was
right before Thanksgiving so the children crafted turkeys out of apples. However, an additional trip to the store was
required due to the apples being eaten before craft time began. The final Sunday occurred in early December
with Christmas cookie decorating being the craft of the day. There were smiles and laughs shared by all
whom took time out of their weekend to volunteer to make lasting memories.
Rachel’s Flowers was turned into a reindeer factory where on any given day you
would find children and their parents making reindeer of various sizes and
personalities. The flower shop was abuzz with children talking and playing as
their creations came to life. Upon
entering the shop, customers were greeted by the sight of many reindeer
awaiting their purchase. As you came
further into the shop, you could hear the sound of drills, saws and most
importantly, laughter. It was hard to
keep up with the reindeer demand as word spread of the creations being made by
the children and parents of the Binghampton neighborhood. Reindeer ranged in price from $10 for small
or 3 small for $25, $17.50 for medium, $25 for large and $37.50 for
extra-large. The proceeds from each
reindeer sale went directly back to the child or parent who created it. For many people in the Binghampton
neighborhood, extra spending money is a rarity, so for each person the money
they made was used for things they normally could not afford. Some would put the money towards household
items or utilities, others bought Christmas presents for their siblings or
parents. Shelley Orman from ABC24 came to the shop to do a piece featuring
Rachel’s Kids and the reindeer, click the link below to watch the video. The
reindeer factory is now closed for the season and only a few are left lingering
in the shop, with each bringing back a fond memory of Christmas joy.
A Trip to Zoo Lights
A group of Rachel’s
Kids and volunteers took an unforgettable trip to the Memphis Zoo for Zoo
Lights on a cold and brisk Monday evening.
The group met at Rachel’s Flowers so the children could meet the
volunteers and a caravan could be formed to begin the trip. There were some new faces of volunteers
making the trip to Zoo Lights and they brought with them gloves, scarves, hats
and fleece jackets for the children to wear.
This donation was a true gift as many of the children were not dressed
for the cold night. Excitement was in
the air as everyone loaded up in cars and headed to the Zoo. Some of the children and volunteers had never
been to the zoo, so it was brand new experience for all! Thanks to a very generous donor, Rachel’s
Kids were given tickets for free entry.
The evening was very special and everyone that attended had a great
time! There were several sites to be
seen at the zoo with the most notable was the live reindeer exhibit. Several
enjoyed a whirl on the Ferris wheel while others chose to keep their feet
firmly planted on solid ground. The most
surprising entertainment came when the group stumbled upon the ice skating
rink. The children and volunteers had a
blast either by changing out of the shoes into ice skates or by watching from
the side lines. It’s safe to say that
each and every one of us had a huge smile on our faces while bundled up in the
rink. As we were leaving the skating
rink, everyone was cold so a trip to the closest vendor was in order. There were several cups of hot chocolate,
bags of popcorn and plates of funnel cakes consumed by the hungry group. As the
cold night air began to take its toll and legs of small children (and adults)
were beginning to wear the trolley came by and saved the day! We all loaded up
and headed towards the exit to begin the final leg of the journey….dinner at El
Toro Loco! El Toro Loco has been very
kind to Rachel’s Kids and welcomed the large group with open arms. This dinner
was the perfect way to end a fantastic and unforgettable evening. For the volunteers, it was a reminder of the
true meaning of Christmas and an absolute blessing to be a small part in making
a child smile. For the children, it was
an evening to experience something they may not have had in the past or
future. To say it was a memorable
experience is an understatement, we created memories to last a lifetime.
A Memorable Christmas Eve!
For several weeks
prior to Christmas Eve, presents were being purchased and donated in
anticipation of the big day. Bags upon
bags of presents over-flowed the flower shop and Rachel’s house waiting to be
given to a child or family. Volunteers
gathered together on Christmas Eve and created a game plan on how to bring joy
to several families involved with Rachel’s Kids. Groups were formed, cars deployed and
Christmas joy brightened many homes this year.
The process took over 6 hours to complete but no one complained as the
smiling faces of the children and parents reminded everyone the reason for the season. Hugs and smiles were passed out freely as
were thank-you’s and tears. Christmas
Day was also an eventful day for Rachel’s Kids as more presents were handed out
to more families that could not have been reached on Christmas Eve.
The events of
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day would not have been possible without the
generous donations throughout the year, hours of volunteer time and the overall
generosity of those that recognize the need to give back. Rachel’s Kids wants to thank all those who
have donated financially or their time to help the residents of the Binghampton
neighborhood and all those serviced by Rachel’s Kids!
Be sure to check out the Events & Photos Page for new pictures from 2012!
|November 21, 2012 @ 06:40pm CST, by Michael Lollar with the Commercial Appeal
The children sort through a pile of logs, sticks and twigs outside Rachel's Flowers and Gifts until they find just the right combination to transform into one of Santa's helpers. A log becomes the body of a reindeer. Sticks become legs, and twigs are turned into antlers.
The transformation requires another of Santa's helpers — power tools. With the help of drills, a variety of drill bits, reciprocal saws and a few other tools a little pile of wood rises in the backroom of the florist shop into a magical creature, helping to make a difference in the lives of Rachel's Kids.