"I helped make the lives of 12 children in Nepal better today," I said as I walked into the newsroom.
As the words came out of my mouth, I nearly felt like a hypocrite.
Indeed, I had spent the morning at the Ravenna Air Base putting six wheelchairs and six pairs of arm brace crutches in boxes to be sent to an orphanage in Nepal.
"Just think about those children who have had to get around by scooting on their behinds," Kathy Price of Austintown smiles with satisfaction. "These wheelchairs will change their lives!"
It is Kathy and the nonprofit organization she founded, Mission of Love, that has made the lives of these children better.
"Whoever I can help this day," is her philosophy. "Some people have a problem with me. I don't do lunch. I don't make plans. If I get an e-mail or phone call that a child is in need, that is my No. 1 priority," she adds.
Such was the case with the wheelchairs.
A friend of Kathy's called and said that an orphanage in Nepal needed six wheelchairs.
"It would be impossible to ship them there," Kathy recalls her friend saying.
That's all Kathy needed to hear. For Kathy, nothing is impossible.
Mission of Love already had the six wheelchairs in its donated warehouse at the Ravenna Air Base.
"Where did they come from?" I asked Kathy about the of the origins of the chairs.
"Everywhere," she responds vaguely.
Next, Kathy had special boxes made to ship the wheelchairs and arm crutches.
"I want them to arrive in perfect condition," she explains.
Putting the wheelchairs in the boxes, securely taping the seams and placing them in Kathy's truck is where my contribution to these children comes in.
Back in Youngstown, Kathy will drop the boxes off at Federal Express, which has agreed to ship them the 10,000 miles to Nepal free of charge.
"How do you do this?" I ask, in awe of the process.
"It's serendipity," Kathy says, matter of fact. "It seems that if your intent is pure, things come through divine providence."
The Mission of Love warehouse is full of serendipity. Room after room of the large warehouse is full of donated items.
"I think the black garbage bags [full of clothes] and the potty chairs multiply overnight," Kathy laughs.
It is a good thing they do.
The earthquake victims in India need every potty chair Kathy can find. Her contact in India sent her a list of needs.
"Everything they needed, we had," Kathy says.
She will work for the next few weeks preparing the relief material. A truck will ship the goods to Baltimore, where an Air India plane will take them directly to the site.
"We have shipped 5 million pounds of aid out of this building," Kathy shares.
As fast as the rooms fill up, the goods are shipped out to people in need.
Desks from Boardman High School will be heading to El Salvador.
Wood from display shelves at Sam's Club will be used to build an ambulance unit clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota in October.
The clothes will be distributed across the globe.
All of this is done through an organization that has no funding, no grants, no budget.
"It's simple, so very simple," Kathy insists, as I stand in awe of this work. "It doesn't take money to do acts of good work. It takes heart, soul and dedication."
"I receive so much more than they do," Kathy says, speaking of the people she helps.
As I think of those 12 children in Nepal, a warm sense of well-being washes over me. I think I am beginning to understand what Kathy means.
"Take time for humanity," Kathy urges. It changes everything."
XTo volunteer or donate to the Mission of Love, call (330) 793-2388.