Thursday, December 20, 2012

Touching Donation

Today's donation to the Boston Public Health Commission's Entre Familia shelter was so touching. I got to meet a bunch of children which is something that I rarely get to do, so that made it particularly special. I didn't realize that they were going to be giving our items directly to the children and their moms right then. I thought I was dropping them off and taking a photo with the person who was coordinating the donations- pretty standard procedure for our donations. I figured the party was at a later date. It turns out that the party for the children was happening right when I made the donation and our items were the only ones for the kids. We displayed all our items on the tables and the children got to come up with their mothers and choose their gifts. I brought a supply of really lovely stuffed animals, small toys (mostly matchbox cars and a couple of games), coloring books, large packs of crayons and reading books. I wish I had understood that these were the only items the kids were getting and I would have bought some more toys, especially for the older children. The children were so lovely and happy to choose their gifts. The mothers were equally happy and they were so grateful as well. The mothers care so much about their children. One mom was so happy to get a new book to read to her child, she said she had run out of books. Another mother carefully selected the book for her child- she wanted to have a big book for her child, so there was plenty for her to read to the child. A number of the mothers are pregnant as well. I gave one of the pregnant mothers a cute little teddy bear that was super soft and perfect for little babies.

It really is something to think of the challenges the mothers must have faced that got them to where they are and how tough it must have been for them and their little children. Here are a couple of photos with some of the mothers and their children. A number of the children weren't able to attend, so the staff put aside items for them. There were also extra items left over for other children that come into the shelter.
 I was so happy that we were able to help with providing holidays gifts for these children. I definitely want to do it again next year and provide more items- particularly for the children who are older.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I hope everyone has a very happy Christmas! I'm looking forward to celebrating with my mom and siblings. Merry Christmas friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Back on track

Greetings friends. I'm trying to get back on track- I've been sick with a cold and didn't get much done recently. Good news is that I started our nursing home donations on Friday. I still have a lot more to do. My voice has been so bad that I couldn't speak on the phone at all, but it is better tonight- so I can get back to my calls tomorrow. I also didn't want to walk into any nursing homes while sick- that is definitely not a good place to spread germs. I have to say, it must be so hard for people to work with chronic medical conditions. I get sick with a bad cold and I am totally down for the count. I can only imagine how hard it is for people that have to work when they are in pain and sick.

In excellent news- we received a $5,000 grant yesterday from a Foundation that started supporting us last winter. They have now donated $15,000 in grant money. I was so happy to open the envelope- I wasn't expecting it. These are unsolicited grants which is pretty amazing in itself. The Milford National Bank awarded us a $1,500 grant. I finally got to meet the bank president in person. I've been writing to her for years, but never met in person in before. The bank has been one of our longest and best supporters of our work. Local banks are such a huge support for community organizations and non profits. It is such a shame that there are fewer and fewer local banks in existence. Here is a photo from the check donation.

I couldn't write this blog without talking about the Newtown school massacre on Friday. My heart goes out to the children and adults who were killed. It is so devastating and horrific. I can't even begin to imagine the pain that the families are enduring. It is heart breaking to watch the coverage on television and hear the stories of the ones lost. Even the stories of survival are enough to make you cry. One of our board members, Michelle, partnered with a company that she was familiar with and is sending stuffed animals to the children at Sandy Hook elementary. I'm glad that we could help in a small way. I saw images on television of children holding stuffed animals and I saw an interview with a Red Cross spokesperson who said they were giving teddy bears to the children who were attending the memorial service on Sunday. I wish we had the resources to be more active in other states so we can provide stuffed animals for all emergency responders to have when they are at scenes involving children. We've donated to the CT State Police a number of times in the past, but over the past few years, I've focused most of our attention in MA.

Tomorrow, I'm heading off to a donation at the Boston Public Health Comission for their holiday party for the children at their homeless shelter. There are 23 children living at the shelter. I'm glad that they reached out to us for help with items. We have stuffed animals, books, coloring books, some really nice sets of crayons and even some small toys as well. Hopefully, I'll have some good photos to share tomorrow. 

Well, I'm now off to eat my grapefruit and wrap a couple more Christmas gifts- one of my favorite activities! Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good News

Well, good news today! We were approved for a $1,500 grant in support of our Operation Elder Care program which provides stuffed animals for elderly residents of local nursing homes. I'm really happy about that. The local foundation actually increased their support for the program from last year. So tomorrow, I need to get cracking on contacting the nursing homes and scheduling donations. We didn't do any photos last year with any residents when I did the donations, so I'd like to do some this year.

Yesterday, we donated approx. 140 stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons to Melrose PD. Here is a photo from that donation.
Thursday is our State Police donation and next week we are donating to Boston PD again. Those are two of the largest departments that we work with.

Calendar sales are picking up again which is good. A number of police and fire associations make annual donations and buy calendars to give to their members. We've had a few annual donations come in this week. I need to drop off the calendars this week. A woman in North Dakota made two $20 donations as holiday gifts for relatives recently. Along with the donation cards that she can give to her relatives, I mailed calendars for the relatives and the woman who donated. So there may be someone in N. Dakota who will be displaying a PS calendar next year!

Tomorrow, I'm speaking at the Attleboro Rotary Club's meeting. I'm looking forward to it and I'm nervous as well. It has been almost a year since I've spoken at a Rotary Club. I love speaking about Project Smile, but I'm a little nervous since I haven't done these speeches in a while. I'm going to work on it tonight and in the morning. Keep your fingers crossed for me please! Yesterday, I thought I was getting sick, so I'm really glad that hasn't happened.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to have my grapefruit, work on my speech and watch some more of this movie that I've only been half watching- it isn't very good. Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Donations

So what's new? Well, the Boston Public Health Commission reached out to us today for help with donations for the children in their residential program for mothers in-need and their children. I'm not very familiar with the BPHC and didn't actually know that they had their own residential programs. They have a holiday party for the 23 children in the program and needed help with items for gifts. We're going to be donating stuffed animals, books and coloring books/crayons the week after next. The boss of the person who called me is a Boston police officer and he was familiar with our program. I'm happy that we're able to expand and reach more children, especially with the holiday donations. I can't even imagine how horrible it must for children not to receive any Christmas gifts. If I had money, I would help fund so many programs for holiday gifts for children.

There is lots more going on, but I'm getting tired. I promise to write more next time! Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Welcome December

It's December friends- I can't believe how fast this year has gone! I've started work on planning some of our usual events for next year. I have a lot more planning to do, particularly on researching new grants that we could apply for.

Yesterday, we did another donation to Saugus Police. Here is a photo from that donation. I like this photo a lot- the little police teddy bear is so cute!
Next week we are doing another donation to the state police. We have a small group of 3rd graders who collected stuffed animals for us. One of their mothers reached out to me last month about having the students join us on a donation, so they will be joining us next week at the state police headquarters. It only happens rarely that we have children who collected for us actually join us on a donation.

We're also doing a donation next week to a new department, Melrose PD. It is always awesome to add new departments to our program. I got an email tonight from a police department in CT asking how they could participate in our program. I'll get back to them tomorrow and send them some boxes of stuffed animals and books/coloring books.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat a home made chocolate chip cookie and some vanilla ice cream- I've been craving it since this afternoon. Until tomorrow friends...