August 19, 2008. A little bit of ingenuity and thrift
goes a long way in a country like the United
States, especially when it comes to material goods.
took a mom with a passel of kids to see
God’s providence where others saw waste, and to imagine ways
of extending that providence to the larger family of the
Legion of Christ.
Sylvia Dorham is the founder
of a new fundraising effort called Legion Supply, which
has been quietly and effectively providing Legionaries and consecrated women
with necessities ranging from shaving cream and hair gel to
three-ring binders and vacuum cleaners. Some of these items are
acquired at no cost. Others are purchased in large quantities
at greatly reduced prices.
“We’re like Ruth who walked behind
Boaz and gleaned the leftovers from the fields. Just by
gleaning, she was able to provide for herself and her
mother in law. That’s how we hope to provide the
things the Legion needs as well,” says Sylvia Dorham.
It all started when Sylvia found herself needing to sew
costumes for her kids’ play. She went to a corporate
laundry facility, hoping to find leftover sheets to use as
fabric. There she found not only sheets – thousands of
them – but also the principle that would inspire the
new apostolate called Legion Supply.
|Sylvia Dorham, founder of Legion Supply.|
The manager of the laundry
facility took her to a back room overflowing with sheets.
“So, how many pounds do you want?” he asked.
fifty?” she proposed, thinking that was already too much.
sure you don’t want a hundred?” She realized he was
desperate to get rid of the sheets.
And that was
when the principle hit her: there is a way to
make two needs dovetail. Companies need to get rid of
overflow materials that they can’t sell and that they have
to pay to keep in storage. Meanwhile, hundreds of seminarians
and consecrated women need some of those materials. Bingo.
demand. At least in concept, Legion Supply was born.
years later, while helping organize the Kids’ Encounter for the
Baltimore Youth and Family Encounter in 2004, Sylvia and her
fellow teammates saw that the same approach worked for more
than bed sheets. They were able to provide materials for
888 children at almost no cost, just by approaching companies
and asking them for their unwanted excess items.
|Legion Supply on display at the Atlanta YFE in 2008.|
the Youth and Family Encounter in Atlanta in 2007, they
formally presented the apostolate, which has since been growing into
an effective source of gifts-in-kind for the Legionaries and consecrated
women of Regnum Christi. Note: Legion Supply is a
501 (c) (3) corporation and all donations are tax-deductible.
Legion Supply takes a 3-pronged approach to getting practical
1. Corporate excess
One of the best
and most untapped sources of donations for the Legion is
from companies that are saddled with excess materials they neither
want nor need.
The best strategy to find these resources
is by networking. Everyone knows someone who owns a company
or works in a company. If that company manufactures or
distributes items that the Legionaries could need on a regular
basis, chances are they will have some excess to donate.
A sales representative from Johnson and Johnson had 48 first
aid kids from the 2007 year. Once 2008 rolled around,
he was no longer able to use them, so he
sent them to the Legionary novitiate in Cheshire.
Offices moving locations
are often eager to get rid of extra desks. Companies
that upgrade their computers every few years may not know
what to do with their older models.
Opportunities like this are
everywhere; the key is to network and make people aware
that Legion Supply is organizing these donations.
Legion Supply also sells gift cards designed for
special occasions. The hand-painted cards come with an insert that
says: “A gift of practical supplies has been given in
your honor to the Legionaries of Christ.” The money is
then used to buy necessities for the Legionaries at wholesale
3. Monetary contributions.
People who wish to
make a donation to the Legion can send money or
|A handpainted gift card.|
items in kind. The needs are for everything used in
a normal household (toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.) and anything that
they could use for their apostolates (paper, computers, gas, etc.).
You Can Help
Legion Supply is most effective when people work
together, since the apostolate can match up potential supplies with
the big picture of the needs of Regnum Christi organizations—including
apostolates—in North America.
If you have found a source of
materials that could be helpful to the mission of Legion
Supply, please contact Legion Supply through any of the
P.O Box 1033
Herndon, VA 20172-1033