A drink from The Well
It was Jenny’s idea. “No one who comes to The Well* should have to drink from a paper cup,” she said. “It’s so temporary. So disposable. So impersonal. No. Every woman who comes to The Well has her own personalized mug. She can design it and make it herself.”
The first time a woman visits, she receives a plain, white, ceramic mug and a set of permanent markers. She can use the markers to decorate the mug any way she wants; with flowers, butterflies, balloons, and most important—her name.
Usually, it’s a pretty novel experience. One woman said, “Wow! I haven’t done arts and crafts since I was a kid.”
The women always warm to the idea. Their creativity comes out. They smile. They can’t wait to see the finished product.
When the decorating is finished, Jenny “cooks” the mug and it becomes a permanent, personalized reminder that a woman can use every time she comes to The Well. Hopefully, it’s a small sign that this is one place where she belongs and is welcome. Each mug is as unique as the woman who made it.
January came to The Well only a few times before she got out of the life, went home, and reconnected with her family. We all stayed in touch with her via Facebook. One day, we saw some pictures she had posted. The first one showed January and her grandson, smiling happily. The next picture showed them having a great time doing arts and crafts together. The final picture showed a finished craft project—his own, personalized, ceramic mug.
Sometimes, love can be a work of art.
—by Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere
*“The Well” is a day center in Portland, Maine where, once a week, a few women drop by the Salvation Army’s Portland Citadel Corps for coffee and conversation. Jenny Clark is the anti–human trafficking ministries coordinator for the corps.