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November 2011

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Faith’s Lodge

There are times when there are just not words. One of those times is the loss of a child. There is nothing that can be said that heals the empty place left behind by one you loved so deeply.

Yet, families have to begin to pick up the pieces of their lives and try to find a place of hope when it seems there isn’t any. That place is Faith’s Lodge.Org. Faith’s Lodge was started by Mark and Susan Laceck who lost their infant daughter and were determined to help others with her legacy.

What they created was a beautiful lodge where families who have lost children can go together to relax, create new memories, reflect, grieve and heal.

Faith’s Lodge is a place where hope grows. Anytime there is hope there is a beginning.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Service Dog shows real meaning of Service

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

I came across this video by happenstance and thought the message of service was beautiful. Enjoy.

Service comes in all forms, four legs or two all thats needed is a big heart. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Thanksgiving Gratitude

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”

 Edward Sandford Martin

Tomorrow is a day created for thanks and gratitude. I wanted to take the time to thank each of you for joining me in this journey of Charity Matters. You have been here as I have strived to find my voice and share the inspirational messages of incredible people doing amazing work for others.

I am grateful for you joining me every week and it is my hope that Charity Matters has touched your heart, inspired you or maybe just made you grateful.

I would be honored if you would consider sharing Charity Matters with your friends so these messages of hope can continue to spread. This year we all have much to be grateful for, please know how grateful I am for you.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


First Communion: A Story of Giving

Sometimes Charity doesn’t need a non-profit but rather a simple act of kindness.  A few years ago I received a call from a friend about a young 10-year-old girl dying from bone cancer and he needed help.

My friend, Father John, was a chaplain at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. It was days before Thanksgiving weekend and this little girl really wanted her First Holy Communion and the celebration that went with it for her family.   However, her family was very poor and could not afford a dress, a veil or a cake.  The Chaplain asked me to help.

I spent 2 days trying to track down a white dress, size 14, in November and gave up. I had a lot to do for the holidays and my goodwill was running low. I did, however, go to the bakery, tell the little girl’s story and they made the most beautiful cake which through teary eyes they gave me as their gift.

Next, I ran into a friend and complained about my challenge with finding this dress and she ran into her house and came down with the most beautiful lace veil to cover the little girl’s now bald head.

My own children were about the same age at the time and made this little girl cards and asked their friends to do the same. One friend’s mother owned a jewelry store. When she heard the story she asked me to come by and she would have something special for the family to give her on her special day.

Things were coming together, however I still didn’t have the dress. I had asked everyone I knew with daughters, called every store and was telling my dear friend on the phone the night before this celebration was to take place. As we spoke she was opening a package from her cousin in Virginia. My girlfriend had young daughters not even close to the size needed for this dress.

As she opened her package, with the phone in one ear she said, “You are not going to believe this, but my cousin just sent the most beautiful new white dress, size 14 for the girls.” We were speechless.

Thanksgiving day Father John came by and I had cards, a beautiful lace veil, a gorgeous wedding type cake, a perfect white dress, size 14 and a navy blue jewelry box that contained a diamond cross on a delicate platinum chain. Father John was near tears as we all were.

That day he gave the little girl her First Holy Communion in the hospital with all of her family there. She told Father John. “She felt like a princess.” The family was in awe of everything. One month later, a few days after Christmas she was buried in her beautiful white dress, her white veil and wearing the diamond cross she loved so dearly.

I think of this story and this girl often and every time I think of the miracle of kindness. The difference that simple gestures make and just how much Charity really matters.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


USA Harvest: Stan Curtis, feeding the hungry in the U.S.

As Thanksgiving approaches and the food drives continue, we all pitch in to do our part. For some of us its donating food or money but for Stan Curtis of Kentucky it was solving a bigger problem, hunger in America.

In 1986, Stan was out to dinner and noticed a tray of green beans being thrown out from a buffet and replaced. He inquired with the manager, who explained they had to be thrown out. Stan thought that there had to be a better use for his green beans than to waste them.

Stan had grown up in an orphanage and knew what it was like to be hungry. He had become successful through hard work and was determined to make a difference. He gathered a few friends together to “raise food not funds.” Their mission was to simply take food from people who had surplus and deliver it to shelters that had needed it.

Today, 25 years later Kentucky Harvest is now USA Harvest, which is the largest volunteer food distribution organization in our country. They have no staff, only volunteers and have delivered more than 11 billion pounds of food. USA Harvest serves more than 2 million meals a day to the hungry in our country.

Stan says, ” Regardless of who you are or where you come from most people want to stand for something.” Stan Curtis stands for millions. That is Charity that matters.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Thanksgiving Food Drives

This week our school is beginning its annual food drive, as are schools and churches all over this country. It is a ritual and right of passage as traditional as stuffing and gravy.

While we all go to our full cupboards and pull out  dusty cans of whatever we may have lying around, drop it in the donation box and move along with our day. We often forget to connect the dots of our actions and those that we are helping. We are doing good, we are feeding someone and we are reaching out to those in need.

Perhaps, this holiday we can see a face to hunger and a face to poverty. Just for a moment. Perhaps, have a conversation about the reality of hunger, for thousands of Americans each day, with our children. Maybe, make a plan to feed the hungry on a day other than Thanksgiving.

Realizing that we are touching someone’s life, connecting the person to the cause is Charity that matters.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Soldier Angels

Every year our family picks a holiday project that we support. A few years back my children voted to adopt a soldier through Soldier Angels.Org.

Each week we took turns writing letters to our helicopter pilot, Chris, in Iraq. Then once a month we sent Chris a care package with treats, toothpaste, magazines, etc..We did this every week, every month for a year.

It was a few months before we received a response and those letters we received in gratitude were the best gifts my sons received all year. They watched the news, looking for “their soldier” they worried about Chris’s safety and his 9 month old daughter who he hadn’t yet met.

All of this was possible because of one mom, named Patti Bader. When Patti”s second son was deployed to Iraq  she discovered how much the soldiers craved notes from home. So she started as one mom sending notes and cookies to a few of her sons’ friends. The rest turned into the story of angels.

So in honor of all of our soldiers who are currently serving and all those who have so bravely served this country. Happy Vetrans Day and thank you.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Soldiers

Gratitude has been a reoccurring theme for me lately. I don’t know if its the beauty of fall or just feeling blessed for all of life’s’ gifts. I am in a state of gratitude.

I am grateful for many things health, family, friends and freedom. I am grateful for all those who sacrifice so that we can have freedom. I am grateful for our soldiers.

My uncle has the difficult task of being a military chaplain and greets these soldiers once they return home. My sister-in-law has the equally difficult task of waiting for the man she loves to return from his post in Iraq.

This is not a non-profit but something that matters.  Our troops matter, lets all be grateful for those that give so much.

The Gratitude Campaign

Have you ever wanted to thank a soldier in an airport and just weren’t sure how to approach them? Scott Truitt felt just that way on more than one occasion. Rather than let the feeling of awkwardness pass he decided to find a solution. He researched an ancient French symbol that translates to ” thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Then he tried to find a way to incorporate the symbol and spread the word, so to speak.

That symbol became The Gratitude Campaign.Org 

Today millions of people are simply saying, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” That is something to be truly grateful for.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Kids With Courage Foundation: Juvenile Diabetes

When I began this journey of sharing stories of small non-profits a few months back I never realized that the reoccurring theme would be the power of one. Time and again I am inspired, fascinated and motivated to share these stories of everyday heroes.

Daphna Bottcher is a mother who found out that her daughter, McGwire, had juvenile diabetes in 2006. She set out to not only help her child but help other families struggling with this disease as well and created a non-profit called Kids With Courage Foundation.

Daphna created an organization that promotes courage as its cornerstone with a mission to embrace children battling the life-long disease Type 1 diabetes, providing programs which have a direct influence on their lives.

Daphna said, “We all live day to day, acting out the one thing that is unique to us… our story. Our story is ours. Regardless of circumstances, we live out our story every moment of every day. Along the way, we are given opportunities to impact the stories of others for the good or bad.”

She is a hero because she took something that was a challenge and turned into a gift to help others.

In her words, “These circumstances have reminded me that we all can have a powerful impact in the lives of others, if we are also brave, and we live our story to the fullest to create a life full of meaning and purpose. We all have opportunities to do so much more if we choose to.”

That is converting passion into change and Charity that Matters.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

One woman Wonder: Lee Ducat Founder JDRF

Its fitting that the day after Halloween marks the beginning of National Diabetes month. The decorations are still up and the candy treats still linger in our homes and we tell our children,”Don’t eat too much candy or you will become diabetic.”

The reality is that 40 children will be diagnosed today with Juvenile Diabetes. That is over 13,000 children just this year with new cases. They are not diabetic because of the candy bowl but due to a pancreas that doesn’t produce insulin.

Larry Ducat was one of these children in 1970 and his mother Lee decided that she was going to help raise some money to find a cure. She got some girlfriends together, had a cocktail party and that was the beginning of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund).

Today, Lee’s organization has raised over $1.5billion dollars for research to end this horrid disease. In her words, she started this because “A passionate hope that there is a cure out there.”

That is Charity that Matters.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.