It's important to me that the girls learn to give back. Clothes that no longer fit are packed up and sent off to their younger cousins, or given to Balbina for her granddaughter. We go through toys and donate those that they have outgrown or no longer play with (of course for a brief minute they are convinced that they will now play with everything in the give away pile) and books that are deemed to young are given to the book drive at the cupcake shop.
We include them in our philanthropy, explaining donations and volunteering, and asking that that they help once a month in making sandwiches to be distributed to the homeless at church. The sandwiches made by Mary and Kate are surely among the most popular, each exploding with ham and turkey and cheese, the bread barely able to contain the stuffing within. They try to understand just who will eat these huge sandwiches, asking a question every time they load on a slice of meat or cheese, "so these people don't have a kitchen?", or "these are for the people who live in the alley?". As they struggle to understand I struggle to explain, all part of my effort in helping them to appreciate their place in a much larger world.
Yesterday they discovered a very small pair of socks, formerly white but now a dismal gray with a worn scalloped edge, under their dresser. They were covered in dog hair and dust bunnies, having almost black heels and a large red stain, possibly tomato sauce; a sad reminder to scoot a broom under the dresser every year or so. Kate held them up for all to see, "ooh! yuck, where did you find those?".
"Mom, we should give these to Eli! He's bigger now, he's four, these might be his size, let's send them to Eli, he might need some new socks".