Sunshine Club

By Mary Frederickson

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    By love serve one another (Gal. 5:13).

    “Am I ever bored,” Natalie said on Monday morning as she and her sister and brothers sat under the maple tree in their backyard, drinking lemonade. “School’s only been out two weeks, and I’ve already run out of things to do.”

    “Me, too,” Travis agreed. “Later we’ll have swimming lessons and summer camp, but right now, what?” He was the oldest Carter child. They ranged in age from Johnny, who was six, to Travis, fourteen; with nine-year-old Natalie, ten-year-old Roger, and twelve-year-old Susan in between.

    “I’ve been thinking,” Susan said slowly.

    “Hooray!” Roger teased.

    “Seriously,” Susan went on, making a face at Roger, “why don’t we form a club?”

    “We’ve already had lots of clubs,” Johnny groaned. “And I never got to be president of any of them.”

    “Not a regular club—a special one, one that isn’t just for fun, but to help people too.”

    “Sure!” Travis exclaimed. “We could have a good-deed club, or something like that. We could secretly do nice things for people.”

    “We’ll need a name and a general plan,” Natalie pointed out.

    “Why don’t we each think of a different good deed. That way we’ll do one for each day of the week,” Roger put in.

    “Let’s call ourselves the Sunshine Club,” Natalie suggested.

    “OK!” the others chimed in.

    “Let’s pick ideas from oldest to youngest,” said Susan.

    They all agreed. Then Travis announced that he already had an idea for that day. “Remember Jeff, the boy who was burned in that house fire last week? We heard about it in sacrament meeting and in Primary. We could each write him a letter and send a get-well card.”

    After lunch the children wrote notes to Jeff. Johnny cut out pretty pictures from a magazine to help fill his page, and Natalie included a poem she liked. Travis found a card with a happy verse in the family greeting-card box.

    The children rode their bicycles to the post office and mailed the large envelope. “That was fun, wasn’t it!” Johnny whooped as they pedaled home.

    After supper, the Sunshine Club met hastily on the back porch. They decided to announce their activity at ten each morning and to try to complete it during the afternoon.

    On Tuesday, Susan suggested they pick flowers from their garden, make bouquets, and take them to the retired people’s center. That afternoon, while Susan and Roger cut flowers with Mom’s permission, the other three children found old jars that they cleaned and covered with foil or pretty wrapping paper.

    “Off we go,” they cried as they headed into town, pulling a wagon loaded with colorful blossoms. At the retirement center, they split up and each delivered three small vases of flowers.

    Roger was having a hard time deciding what to suggest for Wednesday. But when Mom said she would be gone all day, his eyes sparkled. “Today the Sunshine Club stays home to help Mom.”

    “But we always help,” Johnny said, disappointed.

    “We do our regular jobs—but I mean special ones.”

    So that afternoon the children washed all the windows and the kitchen floor. Then they made some corn bread, heated up some stew, and sneaked out of the kitchen just as Mom came home. She was pleased to see the shiny clean windows and glossy floor and to smell supper on the stove.

    “My, how wonderful to have so many mysterious elves around our home,” she remarked at supper. “This stew is delicious, and the corn bread tastes great!”

    Thursday morning when the children met, Natalie appeared about to burst. “We’ll collect aluminum cans today and give the money we make to the homeless shelter.” All afternoon they knocked on doors asking for old cans. They searched along roadsides too. A large stack of cans grew in their backyard.

    When Dad came home, he volunteered to take the cans to the recycling center.

    “Thanks, Dad,” Travis said. The others nodded their thanks too. They all helped load the plastic bags filled with cans into their van. Natalie went into the center with Dad and proudly brought back a check for their efforts. “It’s not much, but every little bit helps,” she said.

    On Friday morning, Johnny looked happy. He had finally decided on a project. “Let’s go through our toys and clothes. Richard’s family is having a hard time since his dad was hurt. We could give them some of our things.”

    “What a great idea, Johnny,” Susan said. “I’ll write a note, and we can sneak up and deliver the things without them seeing us.”

    The children were amazed at the many nice things they found that would be just right for someone in Richard’s family. They decided to give puzzles, a teddy bear, a ball, a baseball mitt, books, and some outgrown clothes that were still as good as new.

    Mom came by and added two good blankets and some canned food to the pile.

    “Wow,” said Johnny. “This looks great!” The children carted their box to Richard’s home. They left it by the front door with a note that said:

    • To Richard’s family—

    • Here is a gift to let you know we care.

    • The Sunshine Club

    The children hurried home. That evening after supper they again sat under the maple tree.

    “Boy, am I tired!” Johnny announced.

    “But it’s a good kind of tired,” Susan said.

    “Yes,” Travis agreed. “And this sure hasn’t been a boring week.”

    “The club won’t stop, will it?” Natalie asked.

    “Oh, no,” the others chorused.

    “That’s good,” Roger asserted. “I already have a lot of new ideas for the Sunshine Club.”

    Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki