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Helping Hands in September


Thank you to everyone who support the August needs of Boro Women and Family Services and The International Institute of Erie. Between sent in contributions and online support $800 of giving helped these organizatins ensure children had a better start to this school year than they would otherwise.

Both of these organizations help families and often times families headed by a single mother get resetablished after some type of trauma. I understand how hard this is for families and how support is crucial not only for the parents but especially for the children to achieve some type of stability to facilitate healing.

I do not have experience of needing to move from my home to a refugee camp to a new country with my children like those from the International Institute of Erie (The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants). I can not imagine how hard it is to find footing in an entirely new place, find work, learn a new language, care for my children while navigating new customs and the paperwork involved to become a citizen of a new country.

I do have expereince of starting over with children twice in my life. Once from an unhealthy marriage with a 4 and 6 year old. The second time after the death of my second husband with an added 3 and 5 year old to the family.

In both cases income changes and the needs of the children often overrided all other decisions. Decisions on safe and affordable living, transportation, employment, further schooling, groceries, health care, child care never stop coming. The littlest things, like making sure there are supplies in the house that we see in a stocked medicine cabinet help ease stress. I don't know how many times I didnt have bandages in the house for cuts, or needed to decide on a bunch of bananas or a bottle of shampoo. It was becasue of programs like backpack programs to get kids ready for school, and being handed supplies at just the right time that made all the difference. These programs help a family gain footing.

Each month there will be a new opportunity through Unity in Edinboro to help/give. In August the concentration was on school readiness. In September the concentration is on building a medicine cabinet for families setting up new households. Suggestions to keep in mind when you are shopping are below. All may be dropped off at Unity in Edinboro Sunday Mornings between 9:30 AM and 12:00PM or Wednesdays 5PM - 8PM. You may also send gift cards and we will forward to the organizations or do the shopping for you OR donate directly to the Organizations web pages. There is a comments or notes section when completing your contribution that you may specify how you would like the finds to be used. Links to those pages may be found my clicking their names below. Please consider adding a little extra to your own shopping to help another. Thank you.

It is in the expression of gratitude that we acknowledge we receive much more thean we are ever capable of giving.

Rev. Jenn Shepherd

International Institute of Erie (The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants)

Basics may include

  • Pain and fever relievers, like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin (Remember: Don't give aspirin to children under 12.)

  • Allergy medication, including nondrowsy varieties and allergy eye drops

  • Regular eye drops

  • For itchy skin or allergic reactions, calamine lotion, an antihistamine cream or spray, or hydrocortisone

  • Ointments for cuts and burns, like antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone cream, and aloe vera gel

  • Decongestants and cough drops for cold or flu symptoms

  • Activated charcoal for accidental poisoning

  • Medicine for an upset stomach, such as calcium carbonate for heartburn; antacids for indigestion; or other antidiarrheals (If you sometimes get acid reflux, then keeping cimeditine, omeprazole, esomeprazole, or similar medicines handy can be a good idea.)

  • If bladder infections are a problem, phenazopyridine (It helps relieve pain until you see a doctor.)


  • Adhesive bandages, gauze bandages

  • Cotton balls and Q-tips

  • Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide

  • Soap

  • Thermometer (For quicker results, look for digital thermometers or the kind you put on your forehead or in your ear.)

  • Tweezers, for tick or splinter removal

  • Safety pins and scissors

  • Medical exam gloves

  • Nail clippers

  • Pill cutter

  • Eyeglass repair kit, if you wear glasses, and contact lens cleaner, if you wear contacts

  • Everyday dental basics, like a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss

  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap

Baby needs extra:

  • Diaper rash medicine and diaper cream

  • Baby nail clippers

  • Baby-safe thermometer

  • Bulb suction and saline drops (Remember to read the directions carefully)

  • Teething gel

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