August 30th, 2007
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Categories: How To Help

Paperwork all done? Twiddling your thumbs? Wondering what on earth you will do while you wait for your referral or for your child to come home? Why not plan an orphanage shower?

We had one before our first Ethiopian daughter came home, and it was a great success. People donated dozens of diapers, underwear, and socks, plus plastic diaper covers, vitamins, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other useful items. I went to Ethiopia loaded down with great stuff to bring to my daughter’s orphanage.

Planning Your Own

Start by asking your agency what your child’s orphanage most needs. Ethiopian orphanages routinely use cloth diapers for the babies, and plastic pants are nearly impossible to find over there. So those items are sure to be helpful. Your agency will be able to tell you what else will be helpful.

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Next, put together your guest list. Our guests’ response to the orphanage shower was overwhelmingly positive. People want to help; they just don’t know how best to do it. So be brave. Invite lots of people. You may want to see about having the shower in a public place like a church if your guest list is bigger than your home.

On the invitation explain what you’re doing and who the gifts will benefit. It’s a good idea to include a suggested gift list to give people some shopping help. Do keep in mind that you will need to get things there, so you may want to steer people away from big stuffed animals or large baby toys.

The day of the party runs a lot like a regular baby shower: cake, punch, and conversation. At our shower, some people brought things unwrapped, some wrapped, and many people brought gift-bags loaded full of goodies. I unpacked bags while people watched.

We had fun counting things and setting them on a big table for everyone to see. Every person present had a real feeling of accomplishment to see all the things we had gathered by working together. And once I got the things to Ethiopia, the workers there were equally pleased.

So give it a try– host your own orphanage shower. Your friends will have fun. The kids in Ethiopia will benefit. And, as often happens when you extend a helping hand, you’ll reap the rewards as well.

Ways to help
Affordable diaper supplies
Ethiopia Reads

6 Responses to “How To Throw An Orphanage Shower”

  1. I’ve never heard of this idea before, but I think that it is wonderful!

  2. How did you get everything over to Ethiopia? Did you have to ship some of it? Thanks, Christy

  3. betina says:

    Hey There! Great timing. I have been planning to throw one of these as soon as we got a referral. Since this has happened (3 days ago HURRAY!) I am in the party planning mode. I tell everyone I will be filling 2 big Rubbermaids with stuff, thanks to your suggestion of how to carry the stuff over. One will be for baby items and the other for things the older kids can use.

    Do you think clothes/shoes are a good idea? I am concerned they will take up so much room. Suggestions from the agency were those items, and then things like school supplies and play items (frisbees, soccor balls)… what do you think? In the infant box I will be taking tonnes of homemade flannel diapers- they are REALLY nice, we’ve been working on them at church for a while, and plastic pants.

  4. knit2purl2 says:

    When my grandson came home from Ethiopia, my daughter’s friends wanted to give her a shower. However, Max was boy #3 in the family and honestly, he needed nothing. So, they held a shower and suggested that if people wanted to donate to the orphanage, that would be wonderful. A few brought gifts for Max and everyone donated money. At the end of the lovely shower, there was nearly $1000 for the orphanage and Max had been welcomed by friends and neighbors. It was a win-win situation for everyone.

  5. ekross says:

    As I was getting ready to post, I see that my mom beat me to it. (knit2purl2 above) Our shower for Max was lots of fun and a great fundraiser. We raised the money for the HIV+ orphanage associated with the orphanage he came from (he is not HIV+.) We were able to use the non-profit arm of our agency for donations, so everything was tax-deductible for the donors. It was really nice to have the shower after he came home to give us a chance to show him off to everyone. A lot of lovely friends made it a beautiful and memorable occassion!

    Emily

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