Just when it looks like she can’t fit another box into the trunk and backseat of her car, Carrie Lewis crams in a couple more and slams the doors.
Then she’s off from Smiles Central to her home nearby, ready for another week of quality-checking every craft kit in those boxes. She makes sure that all the materials are in them, that each item is correct, and that each kit is perfect for our hospitalized kids who will receive them.
“It’s for the kids, to make them happy,” Carrie says. “And it keeps me going.”
And going and going and …
“It depends on what I feel like (in the morning),” she says. “I start working on them. Then I get going and I don’t stop. Sometimes I put in seven or eight hours.”
Those hours, along with her other contributions, have added up to an amazing 3,000 hours (that’s about 125 days’ worth) in her six years.
Most kits are a breeze for her to check. But others, well, it’s not so easy, and that’s a big part of her task. A couple of examples: In hundreds of kits, gimp and yarn arrive cut to incorrect lengths; Carrie pulls out her supplies and re-measures and cuts. There are more more beads in a kit than required, so she empties those bags and has to recount all the little beads.
That’s the only downside. “Yeah, when people don’t read the instructions,” Carrie says.
Carrie came to Caitlin’s Smiles in 2016 to join her daughter, longtime volunteer Cindy Drawbaugh. Carrie says there is “so much” that draws her here. If Cindy looks familiar to you, it’s because she is also a featured volunteer. You can read about Cindy by clicking here.
“Cheryl’s daughter. Cheryl. My daughter,” she says. “And helping the kids. Especially the kids.”