Winthrop resident Meg Shannon didn’t let 6,000 miles of travel get in the way of doing a great deed.
Shannon’s goodwill journey from Boston to Chisinau, Moldova – located between Romania and the Ukraine in Eastern Europe – resulted from her involvement and that of her children, Mark, 22, and Daniel, 20, in the Grace Chapel in Lexington.
“For the past 16 years, I’ve been participating in the Chapel’s ‘Face of A Child’ program where I help to assemble backpacks filled with sneakers, pajamas, school supplies, and toiletries for children in orphanages in Moldova,” said Shannon.
This year she decided to go on a church mission to Moldova to meet the children and personally distribute the supplies to the orphanages.
“They were preaching about radical changes and God touched my heart and said, ‘You have to go,’’’ recalled Shannon about her particular moment of inspiration. “So I just went.”
During her nine-day trip, Shannon and eight other volunteers from the church delivered winter coats, sneakers, school supplies, and toiletries to various orphanages in the republic.
“It’s a very poor area,” said Shannon. “The buildings are dilapidated and the villages are really undeveloped – there’s no running water.”
Her first stop was at an orphanage in Drochia where she visited with 175 children.
“We delivered our supplies and conducted a two-day bible study,” said Shannon. “We stayed at Little Samaritan Mission which runs Face of A Child in Moldova.”
Shannon described the look on the children’s faces upon her arrival at the orphanage. “The children were so happy. The kids’ smiles were heartwarming and you’ll never get a hug like this from anybody. They appreciate everything. I think I cried every day of our visits. It was so emotional. I had always wanted to meet these children.”
She recalled one exchange where her act of kindness providing a lasting memory.
“I had a green band-aid on my finger because it was sore and this little boy had a scab on his elbow,” said Shannon. “He pulled his sleeve down to show me his elbow. So I took my band-aid off and put it on his elbow and he thought I gave him the world. They appreciate everything you give them.”
Shannon said her trip to Moldova was made possible through donations that she received from co-workers at Massport, family members and friends.
She’s grateful to those supporters for giving her the opportunity to affect the lives of children in such an important humanitarian effort.
“I’ve volunteered at the church before but this was the first time I had done something this big,” said Shannon. “We touched children’s lives and they look forward to us returning next year. It was a really moving experience.”