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Labor of Love Provides Gifts to Kids

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

"Sr. Regis Leahy, 'Hunter/Gatherer' " © 2010 by Paul F. Moloney

On the first Tuesday morning of each month the “Bags of Love” volunteers get together in the Ruth and Joe Akin garage in Firestone, Colo., to stuff bags, visit and have lunch.

They are loving, smiling and positive in preparing their gifts for youngsters of southern Weld and Adams counties  of Colorado, at the north edge of Denver. The bags are distributed through social services. They produce 8 to 16 cloth or back pack bags of contributed clothing, books, crayons, toys and stuffed animals each month.

Organizers were inspired by a similar project reported by 3-Angel Broadcasting.  Then the Akin couple and Sr. Regis Leahy began their slow organizational process in 2005. The Fort Lupton Seventh-Day Adventist church donated the Fellowship hall for two years.

When the church discontinued housing the project, Ruth and Joe Akin, both retired,  bought a home in Firestone and now provide their garage for the project.

The old Frederick library is now closed — has been for three years — with a new one opening recently at Firestone. The “Bags of Love” group is negotiating a lease with owner Weld county to move the project into a portion of the closed Frederick library.

“Child Protection Services of Weld county is grateful for the assistance we have given them,” Sr. Regis said.

She describes the project:

” ‘Bags of Love’ is a project that began back East when a grandmother was called in the middle of the night by police to come and get her grandchildren because their mother had been arrested for having a meth lab.

“As the outcome of this experience, the grandmother began making bags with hygienic products and school supplies to get the children through the first hours until they had been placed in foster care. There have been a number of these products across our country and into Canada to take care of children who have fallen through the cracks.

“As a result, we have had four to five years of experience putting together our own project and have supplied Weld county with at least 450 bags and Adams county 300 bags. The bags are sorted according to age and needs of the boys and girls, toddlers and teens. Because of the privacy act, we are never permitted to know the identity of the children who receive our help.”

Sr. Regis is the “hunter/gatherer” type person, said occasional volunteer Marge Seery of Denver.  Sr. Regis considers this a “loaves and fishes” project as it is not funded by any particular organization — just these men and women. They consider it an adventure to fund the items required for the bags.  Sister says she has a “porch ministry” as people leave things for the bags on her front porch,” writes Mrs. Seery.

"Sr. Regis Leahy Sorts and Places Gifts in Bag" © 2010 by Paul F. Moloney

Tuesday, April 6 the group that included stuffers Shirley Landweher and Doreen Towey filled eight bags with $35 worth of items each. Joe Akin was the lunch chef.

Another element of the project is to make or obtain quilts for the newborn at the Salud Clinic at Frederick.

In 2005 Sr. Regis celebrated her 60th jubilee as a Catholic nun. In September it will be her 65th jubilee. She’s now retired.

Please write a note in this blog if you wish additional information about the Bags of Love project.

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My apologies for the hiatus.  About three weeks ago, my computer died in its sleep.  I immediately replaced it, but the learning curve for the updated and new programs stalled my production of the Wondering, Wandering Photographer.  It is great to be back on line.