Victor Hugo
As the purse is emptied the heart is filled.

One can’t quote Hugo without mentioning Les Misérables. If you haven’t read it, you can get it in ebook form for free from Amazon (at least you could at time this was written).  According to Amazon, this is “the complete, unabridged edition with all five volumes.”  I remember having read portions of this book as a Freshman French student (in the original language).  I don’t however remember what I read so I have recently obtained the e-copy and am currently reading it again.  I must confess however to being a multi-tasker and that applies to my reading habits also so I always have several books in in process and I am currently only on page 51 of 959 pages in this one.  I have read enough though to not be surprised to find Hugo among the “great philanthropic quotations” that I reference in the Acknowledgements.  The Bishop in this story surely exemplifies a philanthropic lifestyle, at least at this point in the book.  Not having seen the movie or completed the book, I can’t attest to his full character as yet.

You likely know someone like the Bishop in your home town but you may not know anything about his or her good deeds for he or she will likely not broadcast them and is not looking for public recognition.  They are there though, all around us, giving from their hearts, seeing a need and doing all they can to fill that need out of their own resources.

sonshine_kidsIn San Felipe you only have to look to the children to see that happening. Poverty often leads people to drug dependency, child abandonment, illness, early deaths or  incarceration.  The children left behind in these tragedies are often left with no where to go but state or private facilities.  These hurting children called out to the hearts of two couples in San Felipe, resulting in the creation of two private child care Casadefe_kidsorganizations: Casa de Fe and Sonshine Hacienda.  Although differing in style, both are dedicated to giving abandoned or endangered (whether temporally or permanently) children a safe, loving environment to flourish in.  Both have been built on the self-sacrifice of their founders (Bill and Lupita Spradlin (and Bill’s late wife Carol), and Karen and Gary Lewis).  Both are carried on by the generosity of their supporters.  At an age when most of us are exhausted by a few hours of grand-parenting, these two couples have dove into full time child rearing, not of one or two children, but children numbering in the double-digits, sometimes forsaking the comfort of their own comfortable abodes to provide 24 hour care if necessary.

If your heart is with the children, there is much you can do to help too.  Both homes are always looking for volunteers to come and spend time with the children, whether it is to be just an extra pair of hands to hold an infant for an hour or two or a willing teacher to share a new craft or a baking or gardening skill.  With over a dozen children in each home, extra hands are vital if the children are going to get one-on-one attention.  Both homes are adequately staffed to provide the basics but there is always room for more help and the staff can certainly do with some back up now and again.

Stop in and meet the children.  You won’t go away empty hearted.