Big news!

It’s here. After months (years) of prayers, listening, waiting, dreaming, tinkering, playing…it’s here.

GingerLaneLogo

Inspired by Al Andrews, to become an improbable philanthropist.

Inspired by Jon Acuff, to Start. (First inspired by Quitter, but I can’t quit my day job as a mom.)

Inspired by Rebecca at Better Life Bags (where I first admitted my dream “Design something awesome + Change people’s lives”), Megan at She Does Justice and Sarah at BeCause to start a business that combines creative talents & giving.

Inspired by Mike Donehey to sponsor children through Compassion.

Grateful for the encouragement of friends and strangers that have purchased bags already.

Come on over to GingerLaneGoods.com or the Ginger Lane Goods Etsy store or the Spoonflower fabric store!

Shoes for Shriners

Katie and Bryan, friends from a former church, recently reached out with a new giving project they are launching: Shoes for Shriners. Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Boston is one of the world’s leading centers for pediatric burn care. And, unfortunately, they experienced the hospital first-hand when their then toddler, Eden, was accidentally burned.

EdenIMG_2746

EdenIMG_2683

In their own words:

People come from all over the world to be seen at this hospital, and for good reason; the care is phenomenal. What’s more, Shriner’s does not charge its patients a penny. Not a penny, whether they could afford it or not. They only recently began accepting payments from insurance.

One of the beautiful things about this place is that they are committed to making patients – and their families – comfortable while they are at the hospital, and providing tangible goods to make the stay easier. Within twenty-four hours of our arrival we were given a bag with toys, some regular clothing, and a handmade blanket (which Eden still sleeps with every day at daycare). We didn’t know we “needed” these things, but the level of care and thought that they represented literally brought us to tears.

Shriner’s gets donations from many places, and they thankfully always have plenty of toys. But the one thing they always need is shoes. We see this need as an opportunity for our family (and hopefully some of you!) to serve a place that does so much good, that has done so much good for us in particular, and to help them serve and bless others as they did us not so long ago. We are all very excited about this opportunity, and we hope you’ll join us! But if you can’t swing it this year, no sweat, we understand! We plan to make this an annual tradition, so there will be more chances.

Click to read more about Shoes for Shriners.

How can you help?

1. Purchase sneakers in any size from toddler size 7 up (all the way to adult sizes!) and get them to Katie & Bryan by May 4 (Email them: shoesforshrinersboston@gmail.com for the mailing address.)

and/or

2. Donate funds which we will use to buy sneakers on May 4th/5th. Donations can be done through Paypal using the email: shoesforshrinersboston@gmail.com
They are planning to deliver the shoes to Shriner’s sometime during the first full week in May.

Little Ladybug Shoppe

I’m so excited to have Sarah from Life and Grace here to share her service project. I highly recommend visiting her blog, especially to read about her daughter Evie. It is such a beautiful and heart-wrenching story. All the more reason I am so inspired with how Sarah has turned that loss to something so positive: Little Ladybug Shoppe.

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Hi there!  My name is Sarah and I blog over at Life and Grace.  Recently I launched my own little service project, Little Ladybug Shoppe, in honor of my daughter, Evie Caris, who died four hours after she was born.

About six weeks before Evie was born my husband and I had an appointment with a neonatologist at our local children’s hospital to discuss Evie’s postnatal care.  Upon entering the lobby I noticed a young cancer patient sitting near a window, her hair gone from the chemo treatments she was enduring.  She needs a headband, I thought.  I vowed then and there to somehow find a way to make headbands to give to little girls like this one.

Not quite five months later, Little Ladybug Shoppe was born and donated several sets of headbands and accessories to the oncology floor at that same children’s hospital.  And now another unique opportunity has presented itself.

Little Ladybug Shoppe will soon begin working on 50 sets of hair accessories and 50 superhero capes to be given out to the patients of Edmarc Hospice for Children.  And the best part … I will be able to personally distribute these items at their Family Picnic in June.  So unbelievably exciting!

Certainly it’s a lofty goal to attain, but not impossible.  Here is where you come in:

Ways to give:

  • Donate money!  You can donate to the Little Ladybug Shoppe through the paypal button on my blog (located on the right hand sidebar). All donations will be used to purchase the supplies needed to create the hair accessories and superhero capes for Edmarc’s patients.  My estimate is that it will cost somewhere between $400-$500 to create these items.
  • Donate supplies!  Here is a list of items needed: nylons (any and all colors, preferably bright, fun ones), plain metal alligator clips, or fabric (again, bright fun colors, preferably solid or with a very subtle pattern).  If you’d like to donate any of these supplies, please email me at sarahjrieke@gmail.com and I will give you my mailing address.
  • Purchase an item from my amazon store!  All proceeds will go toward purchasing supplies for the Little Ladybug Shoppe.
  • Purchase ad space!  If you are a blogger or business owner, consider purchasing ad space on Life and Grace.  Again, all money made through my blog will go directly into funding the Little Ladybug Shoppe’s service projects.
  • But most importantly … be inspired!  I truly am humbled and touched that you are interested in donating to the Little Ladybug Shoppe, but I would love for LLS to inspire you to create your own service project.  Maybe you can host a craft show to help fund a friend’s adoption or hold a car wash to benefit a food bank in your area.  Many not-for-profit organizations have a “wish list” on their website – maybe you can think of a creative way to provide some of those much-needed items.  
Thank you again for your interest in the Little Ladybug Shoppe.  My hope is to continue to provide handmade items to lift the spirits of terminally ill children, and to inspire others to think of ways to reach out to those in need in their own communities, all in honor of my sweet Evie-girl.  


Do you have a service project or giving story to share? Email me!

 

 

Help Full Gospel Tabernacle (Far Rockaway, NY) help their community

Remember Hurricane Sandy? Not that long ago, but for many of us, we’ve moved on. Maybe you lost power, maybe you were unaffected. But we’ve had Halloween, The Election, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, etc since the storm. Life has continued for many.

But the devastation is still very real.

In the sermon today, our pastor said that besides food and safety, people need to feel a sense of belonging and significance/love. That reminded me of what Full Gospel Tabernacle in Far Rockaway, NY is providing for their community. They are personifying God’s love and building their sense of community by providing food/goods while loving and caring for the needs of their neighbors.

Step 1: Watch this BET video featuring Rev. Vega from Full Gospel Tabernacle. I could not get the video to embed, but you can watch it here. Here are a few of my less than stellar screenshots…(clicking on each image will also launch the video).

Rev. Jorge Vega

This sweet woman is 95 years old, and has been without power since the Hurricane. Thanks to the generous folks of Full Gospel Tabernacle, she has food and blankets to sustain her. And better yet, she has loving church family to check in on her.

Taking “the church” outside the four walls and loving their neighbors. People have generously given, and the church members are working tirelessly to distribute everything to the rest of the community.

Step 2: Monetary donations are needed! Funds are desperately needed to help get Full Gospel’s food pantry up and running. Right now, they are running the food pantry outside so they need money to buy a new refrigerator, cabinets to store food, stock up on food, etc.

Send checks (made out to Full Gospel Tabernacle) to:

Full Gospel Tabernacle
361 Beach 42nd St
Far Rockaway, NY 11691-1208

(718) 327-2221

Step 3: Host a Holiday Drive for Full Gospel Tabernacle and their community

Items needed:

  • New toys: As you stock up on toys for your own children for Christmas, consider buying a few for kids who lost everything. All ages are needed, boys and girls. Dolls, books, backpacks. Nothing violent. And remember that this is a predominantly African-American community, so please attempt to represent the population, especially with doll purchases. Get your kids involved and make cards to go along with each toy purchased. Let the recipients know how much they are loved!
  • Food & Home supplies: Soups, beans, Canned Fruits and Vegetables, Rice, Diapers, wipes, paper towels, etc

If you live in the Boston area, please email me. I will be collecting items to give to Rev. Vega’s family members who will be delivering everything on December 15. Otherwise, mail service is up and running in Far Rockaway, so feel free to mail checks and packages directly to them.

Please help. Your gifts will directly impact a community that is rebuilding.

A book and a lift

As I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of Al Andrews and his steps to becoming a philanthropist. To raise money he wrote and published a book, The boy, the kite and the wind, and is giving away 100% of the net profits. Awesome.

The current project that is supported by the sales of his book is Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms is the social enterprise for women who have overcome prostitution, addiction and life on the streets, as part of the residential program Magdalene. They create natural bath and body products, the proceeds from which benefit them directly.

(Thistle Farms)

But the book proceeds benefit in a very specific, important way.

Thistle Farms has a need. In their manufacturing facility, the utility elevator has long been defunct. In fact, the elevator shaft has been covered with sheet rock. Currently, women must carry 50 lb boxes of product from one floor to another or push them around the building on carts.

A utility elevator would make a huge difference in their work environment, and increase productivity in their business. Ultimately, it is yet another way the lives of these women and their families can be impacted for the good.

Al Andrews, Improbable Philanthropy, Thistle Farms Project

What can you do?

Buy The boy, the kite and the wind and directly support buying the women of Thistle Farms a utility elevator lift. Buy a book, help buy an elevator!

Purchase items from Thistle Farms: body butters, hand-poured candle, lotions, gels – so many great products!

Read more about Thistle Farms.

Pillowcase dresses: Philanthropy + service + sewing!

I had the joy of meeting Maggie Holly last night at Sew Easy, where a number of volunteers gathered to help create pillowcase dresses. Her story is so inspiring.

Holly, who had learned how to sew at Needham store Sew Easy at age 6, decided to go on the [Dominican Republic Medical Mission] trip, and started making pillowcase dresses to bring to the Dominican children. Soon the Sew Easy staff got involved. The project that emerged combines philanthropy and community bonding with crafts, harkening back to the bygone days of the sewing circle. Sew Easy staff members helped Holly make pillowcase dresses in advance of her trip—she went from June 16 until June 23—and are planning a weekly volunteer night starting in July when Needham residents can stop by Sew Easy and help make the pillowcase dresses for future trips to the Dominican Republic.

Read more: Sew Easy in Needham helps with charity project – Needham Times

The pillowcase dresses are not only affordable and easy to make, but they are perfect for the recipient because they can first be worn as a dress, and then turn into a shirt as they grow. And get this – not only did she find a store in Maine where she could negotiate the price and purchase in mass amounts. But she also asked a local dental practice to donate toothbrushes. And she also knit dolls to give to the girls. Amazing!

The Pillowcase Dress. What a perfect gift: it fulfills a need (not just a want), it is thoughtful, and of course, it is absolutely adorable!

Cutting the pillowcases. Every bit of fabric was used. And by the way, when I think of pillowcases, I imagine something bland. But Maggie found the cutest fabrics for the girls’ dresses!

Click the image below to read Maggie’s description of her Dominican Republic Medical Missions trip.

So what can you do?

Email me (givetodayblog@gmail.com) and I’ll get you in touch with Maggie to see how you can donate money, supplies, etc.

Make a pillowcase dress for Maggie to distribute on her next medical missions trip to the Dominican Republic (she has a pattern to use for consistency).

Want to make it fun? Invite friends over to help make the dresses, giving each a different step as a job. Wine helps.

Know of another missions trip to an area of need? Contact them to see if these pillowcase dresses would be helpful as well as what other supplies they need.

Do you live in the Boston area? Volunteer to help make pillowcase dresses at Sew Easy in Needham. Contact them to find out the date and time.

Hide & Seek Hearts. For you, from us.

Remember back when the boys made all of those clay hearts? We brainstormed different ways we can distribute these little gifts, and to whom we should give them. I will be honest about my gang – they are imps. So it is only fitting that we decided to hide them all over town (and really, everywhere we go), so that friends and strangers alike can find them.

Well, we finally got around to putting them into gift packages. (A week of vacation and a week of vacation recovery kind of delayed everything.) I whipped up a little note and the boys took care of assembling everything.


Why are giving these little nothings away? Just because. How fun would that be to find one? It’s a little reminder to the recipient that they are loved. They are loved by their family. They are loved by friends. But most importantly, they are loved by their Father God.

The final product. Be on the lookout! They may show up in your home, the grocery store, the post office, on your car. As a very wise Peter Brady once said, “Expect it when you least expect it.” And know that you are loved.