“It was in an avalanche,” Andrew recalled breathlessly. “The basement area was covered in bags.”
Like an early Christmas Eve, the family would go to sleep at night and in the morning find clothing in one of the boxes they left in their driveway. Sometimes the clothes came labeled from D.C.-area residents. Other times the bags were shipped from other states.
“Every day it was something. Every day it was overflowing,” Abbi said.
The ground floor of the Audas family’s split-level home turned into a second-hand clothing shop to rival any vintage store’s inventory.
Abbi said she and her brother spent all Saturday sorting and organizing the clothes per a request received from shelters in New Jersey, which told the family that because of the extensive damage volunteers had no room to lay out the contents of clothing bags.
“My wife was volunteering and found one baby shoe. She put it aside and three days later, on the other side of the building she was emptying a bag and found the match,” he said.
“We were normally distributing 250 food baskets a month,” he said. “Now we’re doing 900 or more food baskets a day.”
Mr. Davidson said he has heard stories similar to the Audases’ with young children moved by the images of the ravaged coastal communities who go out to raise money and donations on their own.
Mrs. Audas said her children have been volunteering for most of their young lives. When Abbi was young enough to fit in a carrier on her father’s back, she accompanied him while he volunteered at a women’s shelter.
“I think we have students who are very aware, who really feel some responsibility for helping others,” Ms. Reece said, adding that the school’s parent-teacher association has a new community outreach committee.
“It’s hard for kids who don’t drive, who don’t have any funds themselves, to feel like they’re making a difference,” Ms. Reece said. “When a family rallies around the kids, they feel like one family can make a difference. That’s such an important lesson to learn — never discount what a person can do. Even if it’s small, it does make a difference.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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