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I felt as if I’d called into a foreign country where on the other end of the line the yelling, and the crying of children in the background, could have been happy or sad but I didn’t have the context to know which it was. I could only imagine the scene in the house on West Chestnut Street there, because I’d been to a few such houses in that part of town to try to help make them safer and warmer, on Saturdays for a few hours, now and then in the past. I called the other side of the tracks on behalf of my committee at church that aims to match poverty with wealth for one day of the year. The woman I was speaking with wanted clothes and toys for her children and I was taking notes to pass on to those who might be able to help. Her four children are all four years old and under including a set of one-year old twins, so more than anything, for Christmas she’d like a ready supply of diapers to keep everyone happy and dry. She told me she didn’t need anything herself but her kids kept growing out of everything she put them in, so they could use pajamas and clothes, basics like dolls and balls and toy cars, too.

Even though I did call the other side of the world, the people there speak an international language of care and concern for their children and I welcome the chance to do what I can.

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