While most kids her age are wrapped up in the excitement of the Christmas holidays, young Evelyn Yoder is looking for ways to help the homeless in the Lehigh Valley keep warm during the winter. The 8-year-old from Saucon Valley is donating wool socks, gloves and caps to them during this season of giving.
She delivered 30 “Blessing Bags” to the Family Wash Day laundromat at 911 Linden Street in Allentown Tuesday as part of her mission. The laundromat hosts a “laundry ministry” sponsored by St. Luke’s Parish Nurses when homeless and underprivileged people can do their laundry for free, which was when the care packages were dropped off.
“The purpose of the laundry ministry has always been to share the gospel through loving action by giving dignity of clean clothing to our street neighbors,” said Deborah Bartholomew, RN, FCN, manager of Parish Nursing/Community Outreach for St. Luke’s. “Evelyn is sharing in that dignity outreach by giving the gift of warmth to our neighbors.”
A third-grader at Saucon Valley Elementary School, Evelyn was inspired to do this good deed while learning a song at school, called “Make a Difference.” Her chorus teacher leading the class told them that even kids can change the world.
The song’s final stanzas encapsulate that message: “We can make a difference in our world today/Together we can make our world a better place/When we work together so much can be done/If all the children in the world would sing in unison/We know what’s right, and we know what to do/The future can be brighter, it’s up to me and you.”
“She told us that 8-year-olds can change the world, so I thought, ‘Why not me?’” said Evelyn, whose mother is St. Luke’s physician Nicki Yoder, DO.
She had seen homeless people outside a local shopping complex and was worried about how they would keep warm in the winter, explained Dr. Yoder. Her daughter’s curiosity and kind heart sparked her clever plan.
To raise funds to buy the goods, Evelyn baked and sold cookies, cupcakes and breads, netting $500. “Evelyn loves to bake, so this was a natural fit,” her mother said.
She bought 30 pairs of socks, gloves and hats and stuffed them into individual “Blessing Bags,” as she calls them, along with healthy snacks.
But Evelyn isn’t stopping there. Next, she plans to deliver hats and gloves to Project Valor for homeless vets, as well as buy travel toiletries for the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter.
She’s not looking for anyone to sing her praises for her generous and life-changing idea that all started with a song. And Evelyn is not likely to forget that song or moment of inspiration at school as she tries to change the world one pair of warm, woolen gloves, socks or a hat at a time.
Note: This local health-related news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.