For future reference, useful link from East Village Grieve, here.
We live very close to Mary House and regularly donate children’s clothing and toys there. To me, it’s an important part of childrearing — not only walking the walk of tikkun olam, but also doing so in our neighborhood, in a physical way, with actual human contact. Which isn’t hard, because the Mary House folks are lovely and sometimes invite us in for tea. The girls are used to the drill now, but the first time I told Josie we were giving away some of her toys, she was HORRIFIED. She was almost three at the time. I lovingly berated the crap out of her about how we have so much and other kids have nothing, and I ignored her wails and finally strong-armed her into coming with me to donate. We arrived at Mary House, banged on the scratched plexiglass, and a nice man came and took Josie’s toys.Her lower lip pooched out, but she coped. Then the man gestured at us to wait, disappeared into the shelter, and came back with a GIANT TUB of magic markers and handed them to Josie. Her eyes got huge. MARKERS. Markers were CRACK to her at the time, the enticing taboo thing I did not allow her to use at home after an unfortunate writing-on-the-walls incident. Even as I thanked the guy (and prompted Jo to do the same) I was thinking, Uh, this is NOT the moral lesson I was going for. Now she will associate gemilut chasadim with GETTING AWESOME ILLICIT ART SUPPLIES.