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Turn to Jesus (Article)

An Ingenious Solution
A new apostolate called Legion Supply taps into God’s providence for the Legion and Regnum Christi in North America.


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.

But it 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.

Supply Meets Demand

It all started when Sylvia found herself needing to sew
1.	Sylvia Dorham, founder of Legion Supply.
Sylvia Dorham, founder of Legion Supply.
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.

The manager of the laundry facility took her to a back room overflowing with sheets. “So, how many pounds do you want?” he asked.

“How about fifty?” she proposed, thinking that was already too much.

“Are you 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.

Supply meets demand. At least in concept, Legion Supply was born.

A few 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.
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.

How It Works

Legion Supply takes a 3-pronged approach to getting practical supplies.

   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.

   2. Gift Cards

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 prices.

   3. Monetary contributions.

People who wish to make a donation to the Legion can send money or
A handpainted gift card.
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.).

How 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 following means:

Voicemail: 703-957-4940  
Mailing address:
Legion Supply
P.O Box 1033
Herndon, VA 20172-1033



Related links

Altius Foundation
Catholic World Mission
Helping Hands Medical Missions
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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