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Helping others: it's all in the family
For the Nunes family, helping others is something they do together. Haroldo and Esmirna Nunes, along with their children Gabriela (18), Paulo (13) and Laura (4), participated in the fifth annual community kit event at MCC Connections in Kidron, Ohio. A group of 89 people volunteered their time to put together hygiene kits (previously called health kits) for MCC.
“It is a good feeling when you can help people that we cannot see, but we know that they have basic needs like us,” said Haroldo. In his leadership roles at Salem Mennonite Church in Wooster, Haroldo had heard about the volunteer opportunity and passed it along to the congregation. “On that day we had a good group from our youth and junior youth there,” he said. “We had a lot of fun making the kits.”
Volunteers took a bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and nail clipper and wrapped it in a hand towel. The bundle was then placed in a cloth bag and put in a cardboard carton that gets stacked on a pallet for shipment. In all, the entire group packed 6,090 kits in just under three hours.
As the afternoon progressed, the Nunes family started counting up how many kits they had packed. Before the event was over, they had packed an entire pallet. That’s 600 kits! “It was great to be moving fast and getting the boxes done,” said Haroldo. “My kids were counting the number of boxes we got done.”
Haroldo has other connections to MCC through his work with Open Arms Hispanic Ministry. Esmirna has also volunteered with a group of ladies at the thrift shop, and they look forward to volunteering again. “I always told my family that my ministry as a Hispanic pastor is a family ministry,” said Haroldo.
Gabriela admits that volunteering for the community kit event wasn’t her first choice. “I remember I personally had a ton of plans that day, but I remembered my parents had told us that we were going to have to help out no matter what,” she said. However once their family started packing the kits, Gabriela found herself enjoying the time with her family. “We realized that we were working faster than everyone else and it became fun. We joked about it as a family and enjoyed spending time together,” she said.
The Nunes family didn’t set out to pack an entire pallet of hygiene kits, but it was a fun milestone to reach. “Originally we went in just to volunteer and did not expect to reach as many kits as we did,” said Gabriela. “Trying to help out the community and doing it together as a family made this experience a much better one.”
“We felt great working as a family,” said Haroldo. “This was a good opportunity to make our relationships even better.”
For more information about hygiene kits: mcc.org/kits/hygiene