February 2, 2007

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Assistance League: Caring and commitment in action

Shirley Vogler MeisterBy now, children have been back in school for a few weeks and adults have recovered from the preparations and aftermath of the holiday season.

I, however, am still contemplating what I have accomplished in the last year and wondering what God wants from me this year. When my health is on an even keel, I dream big, knowing that at some point I must temper my dream to reality. One hope is to use my energy more to help others.

For many years, I’ve happily volunteered at St. Augustine Home for the Aged, operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, in Indianapolis. I will continue to treasure the time spent and friendships made there.

More sporadically, I help other good causes, but am now considering giving some time to the Assistance League of Indianapolis (ALI) and its philanthropic projects.

I already know others, some of them Catholic, who contribute time and talents to ALI in various ways.

The events that I’m most familiar with are fundraisers. Through them, ALI’s accomplishments have edified me.

Members share their commitments regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, economic status, physical ability or other diverse circumstances. There are 117 such groups in the U.S., and each operates autonomously in order to better serve the community.

ALI is a not-for-profit opportunity for volunteers who identify, develop, implement, manage and raise funds for projects serving children and adults in the Indianapolis area, which include:

• ALI bears—Teddy bears dressed in

T-shirts help console children and adults in emotional and physical pain, whether separated from loved ones after domestic situations, traumas or sexual abuse.

• ALI caps—Hand-decorated, hand-sewn hats and team logo caps help children with hair loss due to chemotherapy or head injuries, and decorative scarves help women with hair loss due to cancer treatment.

• ALI friends—Monthly activities bring happiness and friendship to adult guests at Joy’s House, a not-for-profit adult day care center near my home, and residents at North Capitol Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

• Assault survivor kits—Sweatshirts, sweatpants and undergarments for emergency rooms, shelters and abuse centers help victims who have no one to call for fresh clothing when theirs is damaged or kept by police officers for evidence.

• Operation School Bell and Shoes, a division of Operation School Bell—New clothing, shoes and socks are put in duffle bags for disadvantaged public school children in five Indianapolis-area schools and some metropolitan districts, even for children needing uniforms.

Readers can surely understand why being a part of the Assistance League of Indianapolis is worthwhile.

More information can be obtained at www.alindy.org or by calling 317-872-1010 or by writing ALI at Northbrook Center, 1475 W. 86th St., Suite E, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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