• Doug Brendel

A Christmas closet?

Updated: Sep 6, 2019


This will take about 60 seconds:

What’s in your closet?

Let me take you to Glusk. (Say gloosk.)

To get there from our flat on Karl Marx Street, you have to drive more than two hours. Closer to three.

There’s an institution there, called a “boarding school.” For sick children. Problems of the heart, lungs, liver, intestines.

Sick enough, their parents can’t help them. If they have parents. Or they’re recovering from a medical crisis, and/or from surgery. Or they’re disabled, with no real hope of improvement.

Lots of children. 103 at the moment. Some as young as 7. Some as old as 15.

When we asked the director, Anatoly, how we could help, his answer surprised me. On his Christmas list, for the children in his care:

Closets. 9 closets.

There are no closets in old Belarusian buildings. You put your clothes in a “wardrobe.” A separate piece of furniture.

It’s like a closet with a bunch of shelves. Everything gets folded up, and put on a shelf.

But the wardrobes in the dorm rooms of the boarding school at Glusk are ancient. Rickety. Falling apart. The cheap laminate is peeling off in places.

They’re asking for just 9 “wardrobes.”

My Christmas wish is that we could say to Anatoly,

“Here are all 9 of the wardrobes your children need. Please put away all their clothes. And merry Christmas.”

Furniture is expensive in the U.S., but this isn’t the U.S. 9 wardrobes will take just $950.04.

Actually, to be precise, each wardrobe will cost $105.56, more or less.

Maybe this could be a Christmas gift from you. $105.56 for a closet.

Not the clothes that go inside it. Just the closet.

That’s all they’re asking.

I don’t know what your Christmas budget is. If you can’t give $105.56, maybe you could give $52.78, and let me combine your gift with someone else’s. Or maybe you could give $211.12, to buy 2.

I can tell you, to be honest, I’m looking at stuff in my own closet to give away. I can’t really imagine needing a closet.

But this is reality for the children of Glusk. So I’m inviting you to help.

Of course, your gift to New Thing will be tax-deductible. And of course, as always, if the entire need is met, your gift will still go into the work of compassion inside Belarus. We’re totally volunteer on the U.S. side, so not a penny stays here.

I hope you can help us. Thank you for considering it.

In any event, thank you for journeying with us. And may you have a beautiful, bountiful Christmas!

Much love, Doug Brendel

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New Thing is a 501c3 non-profit organization established by Doug and Kristina Brendel in 2002 to help people in need in the Republic of Belarus, in the former USSR.

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