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May 2012

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Hugs for Heroes

Since we celebrated our heroes this week and had a holiday in their honor I thought it only fitting that we celebrate those heroes that support our troops. The story of this 16-year-old girl will tell you that there are heroes all around us silently impacting thousands of lives for the better.

In 2004, at 16, Mireille Manzone’s life was about to change when she attended a presentation by Scott Rutter, a retired Lt. Col. in the US Army, about his experience in Iraq. As she listened to stories of bravery and hardship, what touched her was the story of Mail day.  Lt. Col. Rutter spoke of the loneliest day of the week for his soldiers, many of whom were barely older than the audience. He said that some soldiers might receive an occasional letter but sadly, many never received anything.

Hearing this broke Mireille’s heart and she knew she had to do something. Mireille was determined to find a way to show our troops that they were not being forgotten and that people back home appreciated their service and sacrifice.

So Mireille rallied her troops…..local schools, churches and Veterans’ organizations and before long the first 200 lb shipment of baked goods and letters was on its way to Iraq. The good word spread and before long the group now entitled Hugs for Heroes was born.

Two years later, when Mireille became student at Boston College,  Hugs for Heroes became an offical non-profit and an integral part of campus life. Once again, she reached out to the BC fellow students and staff members to help take up collections on campus, pack and mail even more shipments.

Today, Hugs for Heroes, Inc. is still serving our troops and has shipped nearly 10 tons of care packages to the men and women serving overseas since 2004.  Mireille is a hero for inspiring thousands to make a difference and bring hugs to our troops.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

God Bless our troops!

As I have mentioned before, my uncle is a military chaplain and my new brother-in-law just got back from a year in Iraq. Their service to our country and to their fellow man is an act so selfless that there are simply not words…..

I think Toby Keith can sing it better than I can say, so this is for you my fellow Americans…

So today, say a prayer of thanks for a soldier because our holiday, our freedom and our nation is here today because of their sacrifice.  God bless America and thank you for your service.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

A happy life

I was recently reading an interview with Deepak Choprah and he was asked the question,”What is the secret of living a happy life?” I had to share his answer with you.

The answer, “The secret to a happy life is to recognize that no matter what the situation, there’s a creative opportunity in it.  Also, finding meaning and purpose in your life to make a contribution. And ultimately the secret is to make other people happy.”

Hoping I made you happy sharing this and wishing you bliss this holiday weekend. Happy Memorial Day!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.


A place where dreams come true

Whats the expression, one person can change the world? Well, when you hear Thomas Rollerson’s story you will believe that. He has changed the lives of over 10,000 terminally ill people by granting their dying wish through his Dream Foundation. Org

Thomas’s journey began in 1993 when his partner was dying and had the simple request to see the movie Mrs. Doubtfire. Thomas called a wish granting agency for children and learned that there was no such place that honored last wishes of adults.  Thomas then went to the movies studios and asked them for help, so his partner could watch the film at home. He was so moved by the studio’s outpouring of love to make this final dream come true that Thomas knew he needed to replicate this for others.

One year later he created the Dream Foundation.Org.  His dream simply to enhance the quality of life for people suffering from a terminal illness by providing peace, joy and closure for them at the end of their life.

Most of the organizations “dreamers” have a life expectancy of less than a year and because medical expenses are financially devastating these dreamers resources are limited. The dreams can be as simple as having the heating bill paid, reuniting with loved ones or creating a happy family memory for the children whose parents are terminally ill.

The Dream Foundation works with more than 600 hospices and healthcare organizations nationwide along with hundreds of volunteers determined to fulfill thousands of dreams each year.

Thomas Rollerson has taken his grief and turned it into hope, love and joy for thousands of dreamers each year. Sounds like a dream come true.  What’s your dream?

Charity Matters.

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The dreams continue

The topic of dreaming just seems to keep popping up and yes, I know we have all seen this (all 47,000,000,000 hits) but when you watch a real live dream happen in front of your very eyes, its just magic and it never gets old…..just better.

So, although this isn’t a non-profit, it is a dream and I hope this inspires you today to trust your own dreams. Susan Boyle didn’t give up on hers and she is an inspiration to us all.

Whatever your dream, it matters, you matter and Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

Dream-Big!. Org

Don’t you just love it when one thing leads to the next? My friend, Mary Ann, would use the term synchronistic others perhaps happenstance but whatever you call it my pondering of dreaming big lead me to a real life dreamer, who did just that and her non-profit carries the same name, DreamBig.Org

This dreamers story began in 2009, when Linda Driscoll came across a grant requests, doing her day job at the Red Cross, for something so simple, it took her breath away.

“I remember the coach who was seeking funding for uniforms for her girl’s basketball team. I could not believe it when she told us that her girls’ team would play their games immediately following the boys’ games so that they could borrow the boys’ uniforms once they had finished playing.”

Sadly, these stories were not new to Linda who had heard for years about kids running track in Keds, children fighting obesity who couldn’t afford a fitness program and tons of school teams with out sports equipment.

In 2009, after a visit with her nieces and nephew the topic of sports, equipment and registration fees for the new season came up. Linda saw all of the old sports gear in the garage and wondered again about how many kids probably don’t participate because their families cannot afford the costs associated with sports and physical activity programs. That was her epiphany and she decided to create Dream Big!

Her dream is that all girls will have the equipment, program fees and supplies they need to participate in sports and physical activities that contribute to their overall health, fitness and well-being.

Linda’s dream is paying off today Dream Big! is incorporated in Massachusetts and is currently working with many schools, organizations, volunteers and businesses to get low-income and homeless girls the basic items needed to participate in sports, recreation and physical activities.

That’s a sweet dream. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

Dream Big!

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  

Harriet Tubman

This is for all the Susan G. Komen’s, The Make A Wish Foundation and the other 1.9 million non-profits in our country. They all started with a dreamer and all of those dreamers have changed the world for the better. What are you dreaming about?

Charity Matters. Dream Big.

Copyright © 2012 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.

Whose Got Your Back?

Since yesterday was a day that we honored and celebrated our mothers I couldn’t help thinking of my mom, who has been gone for almost a decade. We never stop being our parents’ children and losing a parent, regardless of age, is a devastating experience.

So, when I heard the story of Got Your Back Network.Org, it spoke to me.  My mom wasn’t in the military but this organization’s purpose is to reach out to military families who have lost a spouse or parent while serving our country and give comfort, answer a special need, offer guidance and bring a brighter day. A way to support those who have given our country the ultimate sacrafice.

The non-profit was founded by real life tv Bachelor, Dr. Andy Baldwin, in 2009 after he lost some dear friends in the Navy and saw the consequences of grief on the families of fallen soldiers.  This is a man of action, who was determined not only to help his comrade’s children but others as well.

Got You Back Network does everything from grief counseling, educational scholarships to  creating special events for families of fallen soldiers and then some. Andy Baldwin said while winning a humanitarian award that his parents taught him the four magic words that have guided his life, “How can I help?”

Is it just that simple? Yes, yes it is. I salute you Dr. Baldwin for showing us the way Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.


Happy Mothers Day

“A mother’s love grows by giving.”

Charles Lamb

and for those of us without our mothers this Mother’s Day, this one is for you.

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”

Abraham Lincoln

Thank you to all the moms who showed us how to give and how to care for people other than ourselves. To my angel mom, thank you for showing me by example that Charity Matters. Wishing all of you mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day.

Copyright © 2012 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.


Give the gift of giving on Mothers Day

The word giving and mother goes hand in hand. All mothers are givers, so why not turn the tables on your mom this year and give a gift that lets her give (and shows her she’s done a good job raising you too).

Sure we all love getting flowers and perfume but gifts of the heart are always the best and since we are too old to make gifts in art class these ideas can show your Mom you care.

Help A Mother Out.Org  Founders Lisa Truong and Rachel Fudge learned that the number-one need mother’s had was not baby blankets, clothing, or food but diapers So they created this non-profit and Mother’s Day diapers-and-wipes donation drive to benefit a dozen agencies serving low-income and homeless families throughout California. A donation touches a child, literally.

From Harm to Home   The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, this organization gives lifesaving assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. You can buy a card for $24 that will provide a safe birth of a child or for $52- a year of school. Talk about gifts that keep giving.

Women for Women. Org   Send a card from Women for Women International, and you’ll help women in war-torn countries change their lives, support their children, and nurture their communities. It’s a Mother’s Day Gift that supports mothers worldwide.

OxfamGifts.com  A water jug ($18) can help a family store and transport clean drinking water; a vegetable garden($30) can help a mother jumpstart a small business and provide security for her children; or you can help restore a pre-school ($35) so a mother can comfortably send her children off to grow and learn in safety.  There are over 70 life-changing products to choose from to help a mother.

So this year, think outside the box when you think about your Mom. She will be touched knowing just how great you turned out. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

Bake Me Home

In case you haven’t checked your calendar Mother’s Day is less than a week away. When we think of our moms so many images come to mind, but for me one of them is baking cookies….something many of us did with our mothers.

One mom took her cooking with her children and her cookies to the next step.  In 2008, Alison Bushman and her then 7-year-old twin daughters had a conversation about children entrepreneurs. Her girls wondered can kids really make a difference?

The twins had already spent hours helping out with a local homeless shelter and wanted to do more. The solution, to give families their recipe, the dry ingredients to make cookies as they left the shelter and moved into a home.

The result is sweet, Bake Me Home‘s mission is dedicated to promoting volunteerism and providing disadvantaged moms and kids with something as simple as cookies that encourage shared family experiences.

The girl’s goal? To make the world sweeter one cookie at a time. How sweet is that? Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.


Charity Matters Quotes

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.”

Peyton Conway March

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.


Living with Lupus

There is nothing more inspiring to me than real life heroes. Everyday people who take the hand that is dealt with grace and turn it into something of hope for others. May is National Lupus month, something I knew very little about but something Liz Sanders is all too familiar with.

Liz grew up on a small farm in Texas dreaming of being a super model, however life had different plans for her beauty. At 33 years old and a newlywed, she was planning on running a marathon with her new husband when a variety of “symptoms” slowed her down. Two years and many doctors appointments later, Liz was diagnosed with Lupus.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease that produces antibodies that react adversely with certain tissues and organs where the body becomes allergic to itself.

With a move to California, Liz set out in search of a local Lupus support group but couldn’t find one, so she became certified as a support group facilitator. She then started her own group to provide support and education for other lupus patients.

Liz didn’t stop there, in August 2003, she  founded a non-profit organization called Center for Lupus Care (CLC).  Her mission is to educate the general population about Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (commonly known as SLE or lupus).

Liz has devoted her life to educating lupus patients and their families. Wanting to offer more than just clinical advice, she has given countless women the vision to see their lupus health challenges as a butterfly experience, a metamorphosis into something different that can still be something beautiful.

“For if in any manner we can stimulate this instinct, new passages are opened for us into nature, the mind flows into and through things hardest and highest, and the metamorphosis is possible.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Liz Sanders has lived the metamorphosis and inspires others to do the same. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.