Overall, I am so excited and happy to see how far this project has come. We started with nothing and ended up distributing almost 400 bags with more money and supplies left over as well. In the beginning we had no idea if this would work out, but we had to try. It is kind of crazy to think about how far we have come in such a short amount if time. I have learned so much not only about myself, but about working with others, helping others and making a difference, and about never giving up. It is so important to always push yourself to do better and to try and help someone else everyday. Although we did not always see the direct results of the project, I am still so glad we got to make a difference and I see how important it is for anyone who has the resources and motivation to step up and help others who can’t. My new goal is to make a difference in someone else’s life everyday. We did not reach our goal of distributing 500 bags, but I think that if we had been able to continue working together and if everyone had played their art and contributed, we could have used all of the donations and the supplies we bought and we could’ve met our goal. I am hoping that a junior will take over the project and can continue to work on it to help others and to provide for these women who can’t provide for themselves. Bella said that she talked to Julia in the past, but we are waiting for her to talk to her again, and then we can give them everything we have and we can give them tips for how to work together and divide the work, and all of the tips we have regarding each aspect.
We finally confirmed a date to meet with the women at Barney and Barney, yet they wanted to meet at Don Jose’s to celebrate. A few nights beforehand, I updated our inventory sheet, balance sheet, and the list of items per bag. I also ordered the last few bags of pads from Walmart to replace the ones they cancelled, and now that they will ship them again. We have everything we need to pack another 150 bags, and we have 30 bags packed on top of that from last time.
Today, during my free time at school, I worked on making more notecards to stick in the bags. Because the Haitians’ language is French, we decided to write our note ” we hope th
is makes your day” in French. So Bella and Michelle got the French translation from a teacher at our school, and we each wrote cards for the bags. Then, after school and soccer practice, we met at Michelle’s to pack. Again, I was surprised by the amount of supplies we had and a bit overwhelmed by everything we had to pack.
After the last time we packed, at Bella’s house, we came up with an assembly line process. Bella counted and packed tampons, I counted and packed bags, and Michelle put it all nicely into a ziploc bag. Once I had enough piles of pads to put in the bags, I began to help Michelle pack. At times last time I don’t think we were as productive as we could’ve been. Bella didn’t have enough to do, as she resorted to organizing the tampons more, but I think there were other tasks that could’ve been more productive. This time, I recommended for me to put the pads into the bags then pass it to Michelle, and for Bella to help stuff once she gets started with organizing. I also gave Bella some empty small boxes we had for other items that she could sort 20 tampons into then pack it into the bags. This time, instead of just sorting the tampons, she put them into the bags and helped to add more as well. I also found a faster way to pack the bags, as each row had 16, so I just grabbed all pads except one in a row to put in each bag. After a few hours, we finally finished, with the finished product shown below.
I had talked to senora and she said the lady she had told us about went to the shelter Saturday and found it successful and delivered products, so I told her that we are packing this Friday and planning more orders. When I talked to Bella last, we all agreed on 100 bags then planning for 50 more in the future, but Bella and Michelle found bags online that we could put our logo on and ordered 300, so I thought we would use it for future, but when I asked today, she wants to do 300 for the shelter. I frantically set about ordering more today, yet I had a few complications. They were out of shampoo and body wash, and Walmart doesn’t ship that pads anymore, so I had to order two order from foothill and then they ran out, so sent another to the Walmart by their office on Alicia, and we planned to pick them up. After theses orders, they were out of pads so with everything else out, we agreed we would pack the first 150 Friday and then the rest later since she would go back to the shelter in December. (1 hour)
Today, Sunday November 6th, I spent another 2 hours ordering and planning. I updated the inventory page and balance sheet I made, I planned out how much we had left and how many more supplies we would need. I also saw that we got a 500 donation!!! It hasn’t gone into bank account yet, so I have to plan around it. We decided we would plan for 150, as 100 would go to the shelter senora Martinez told us about, and 50 would be ready for our next distribution. I also ordered 6 boxes of amazon tampons (3,000), 3 orders of 12 packs of Walmart pads, then realized when I went to order the last 3 packs in a separate order (as there is a limit each time) I would have to pay for shipping so I ordered 11 packs and we would have extra for our next distribution. I also ordered toothbrushes from amazon, as they gave us some last time but we ran out, and I ordered more toothpaste, and we have enough of the other supplies. I found 6 toothbrushes so ordered the pack of 144 so that we have 150 total. I also double checked to see if other places had it cheaper but they didn’t.
Today, Bella, Michelle, and I drove to Assistance League in Santa Ana, I had all the bags in my car from the previous day, so I was all ready to drive today. We got there at 10 as Maggie, the head, was pulling up and then we set up a table by the front, and she gave us advice, to make sure no one walks out without it, as everyone shopping at the store could use it. One woman didn’t accept the bag as she wanted it to be given to others who need it, while another asked for two. Overall, it was a slow business day, so we ended up leaving about 40 bags with Assistance League, and they said they would hand them out. Towards the end, they asked if we could help out in the back for a few minutes, and I volunteered and ended up hanging up and sorting hangers for close to an hour. Maggie was really sweet and asked us about our activities to write a newsletter about us, I only had time to say soccer, since I was the last one and she was moving on and Bella talked for awhile. Julia showed up a little after we arrived to help, apparently she is interested and had been in contact with Bella. We left around 1 and I was just so thankful we were able to hold our first distribution and we have support and success. After we finished, we headed over to Dia De Los Muertos, as my spanish class made an altar dedicated to the victims of hurricane Mathew. When I told Senora about our project, she was really interested, then when we all came back to talk to her later, she told us she met a woman who was going to bring supplies to a shelter at the border that had thousands of women from Haiti, and we decided we wanted to donate some of our supplies there for a future distribution.
Today, November 4th, Bella, Michelle and I packed 50 bags for our first distribution. After soccer practice, I picked Michelle up from her house and we went over to Bella’s, where she had all of the supplies. I had mailed everything to Barney and Barney to Tracy, as we had originally planned to do the packing there, but we figured it would be easier and more convenient to pack at one of our houses, so Bella picked up the supplies. Michelle and I had been trying to finalize the date for awhile, as all 3 of us had originally planned on doing the distribution in October. Yet, the last weekend, Bella wasn’t able to do it on the days Michelle and I could, and the thrift shop was closed on the Monday, we had off for Halloween. It has been hard to plan and order everything because it is so hard to get the information from Bella and it is very last minute, whereas I need to plan at least 2 weeks in advance for some of the products to arrive.
Walking in, I was surprised to see how much we had received. As I order the supplies, they are just numbers, so I was finally able to see how much we actually had. From 330 til close to 6, we packed. Bella separated tampons into stacks of 5, I separated pads, and Michelle put everything into bags. Once I was completely surrounded by piles of pads and had no room for more, I started helping Michelle pack bags.
Once we finished packing bags, we decided to write handwritten notes to put in each of the bags, that said
To: You, From: Operation Luna
“We hope this makes your day”
Love, Kylie, Michelle, Bella
Then we reopened the bags and stuffed them with all of the notes, and packed them into boxes and carried them out to my car for tomorrow’s distribution. The boxes were taking up too much space, so we ended up taking all of the bags out and just putting the bags directly in my car.
I am so glad we were able to get everything figured out and solve the many problems we’ve had and we were finally able to pack!