Happy New Year! The Kwanzaa Sankofi bird is tweeting (happily, whew!) in my ear to tell everyone about the recent gift-giving visit of the Women’s Alliance to the Swissvale location of POWER. POWER is the Pa. Organization for Women in Early Recovery; their “mission is to help women reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and to reduce the incidence of addiction in future generations.”
On Friday, Dec. 15, five WA members, Annie Stunden, Becky Studer, Margaret Stephens, Dahlia Parks and Denice Galpern took the gifts donated by our members (and other church members, I think), sweets, and juice to share with the women currently living at POWER. We, along with Betty Duquesnoy, had wrapped the presents in an open-faced-sandwich manner, so that the women could make their own choices. Sweaters, jackets, pajamas, blankets, hats, scarves and gloves were among the gifts and all was very well received. **** At the suggestion of Karen Clark, POWER’s Volunteer Co-ordinator, we also similarly wrapped our smaller gifts to be distributed to the out-patient clients. The WA has given financial donations to POWER, in the past, and collected toiletries, other personal items and journals for writing, (which plays a big part in the recovery program). Another year, we had collected gifts at Christmas time, but not delivered them personally.
We stayed over an hour sitting and talking, all having the treats and juice that we had brought. One surprise was that the sour cherry and peach-topped fruit cake which Margaret had brought was a recipe of both a resident’s and Margaret’s grandmothers. The resident happily told Margaret that she had not had it in 20 years. Denice sat with one bubbly woman who had just arrived the previous day, as well as with another who was looking forward to a pass to be with her parents on Christmas – not at her own suburban home with her husband who “still uses.” We also heard one woman’s story of a life with virtually no alcohol until she had trouble coping with a difficult divorce two years ago.
It felt meaningful to be there. Hopefully we can do this again next year – when Denice imagines making a fuller (but simple) introduction of how we hoped to support these women in this step of their journeys – not just saying where we were from – and that we had brought gifts from our group.
Please consider joining the Women’s Alliance. We do good things! Our funds recently built the cupboards in the Schweitzer Room, and helped build the ones
in the Mason Wing’s front hall. Last spring, we gave donations to multiple groups supporting women and children in Pittsburgh. In February, for our
twice-monthly Thursday meetings, the programs will be Mary Denison about her efforts to build a local Raising A Reader chapter, on Feb. 1, and representatives
from Global Minds and ARYSE, both groups with programs to support immigrant and refugee youth in Pittsburgh, on February 15. And, we spend time getting
to know and support each other. Interested? Contact Naomi Crain, co-chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-441-1926.