Posts filed under ‘fundraising’

Feeling hungry? See how Empty Bowls can help.

Did you skip breakfast this morning?  Or work through lunch? Does your stomach feels empty or nauseous? Know how you can’t concentrate well and you are distracted by thoughts of your next meal?  Then you aren’t alone.  And, unfortunately, for many people, hunger is the result of the hard choices they have to make to pay the bill. Missed meals and meals of low nutritional value are the most common hallmarks of hunger in America.

According to City Harvest, more than 25 million people across the country visit emergency feeding programs – nearly 9 million children – each year. In New York City alone, kids who rely on hunger assistance annually could fill Yankee Stadium nine times. Yet, because 95% of the time you cannot tell a person is hungry by looking at her, hunger is largely invisible to most of us.

These facts spurred active and thoughtful discussion among the third-grade students at my son’s school. This year, I’m co-chairing the third-grade’s community service project Empty Bowls to benefit hunger assistance programs in NYC.  My experienced co-chair Laurie artfully led the children through a discussion of what hunger feels like and looks in America. Even though I’ve lived with children in the city for eight years, it was eye-opening to hear the students talk about seeing and in many cases trying to help the homeless they encounter on our streets. At the same time, the bigger picture of hunger (beyond the panhandlers) really sunk in as the students shared lots of scenarios about how and why hard-working people may not make enough money or find themselves unemployed, leaving them unable to buy the food their family needs.  We shared the fact that 9 out of 10 people at risk of hunger have homes.  As the kids talked through ways we can help – such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating food to a pantry, giving money to a reputable charity, or directly donating to an individual – I felt we were empowering them to act on an issue they clearly feel emotional about.

The Empty Bowls project provides the children with a specific opportunity to raise money for a charity dedicated to hunger relief. Our Empty Bowls project is one of the variations on the theme repeated in many ways in many places. At our school, the third-graders create their own ceramic bowls which as empty vessels symbolize the meals many children are forced to skip, around the city and across the country. Our students display their beautiful creations in an art show and parents have the opportunity to “buy” them with a donation to a charity aiding hunger relief.  As with all our projects, we have no suggested donation amount and all monies collected are pooled and sent to our charity of choice as a gift from our school’s third grade.

Empty Bowls is a project you can easily do at your school or club. Or, simply pull together a group of friends and head to your own make-your-own-pottery shop such as Make in New York City. Once your creations are ready, hold your own art show at someone’s house or the local park (as an alternative to the ubiquitous Lemonade Stand) and collect donations to benefit the organization of your choice.  Visit FeedingAmerica.org for excellent information about hunger in America — try the quiz in the Hunger 101 section, to get everyone up to speed on this critical issue. As one of our art teachers told her class, the best art comes from the heart and when you use the creative process to help others, it is that much more beautiful.

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May 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Heroes’ choice project now funded!

The donorschoose.org project our Real-World Super Heroes decided to support is now fully funded.  After one of our Super Heroes made an individual donation – Go Halia!  Go Halia! – another NYC resident closed the remaining gap. The requesting teacher promptly sent this thank you:

Dear Real-World Super-Heroes Club, 
I would like to express my sincere thanks to each of you for supporting and believing in my project! Not too long ago I had my student’s first iPod Touch funded through DonorsChoose.org. Since then I have begun to glean the tremendous value this tool has in my student’s lives- they are doing things they have never done before done, things that we take for granted, like going into a coffee shop and asking for a straw! Having a second is such a blessing and I am confident that the number of communication opportunities and experiences will exponentially increase as a result!

I wish each of you could be there to see how this device is radically changing my student’s daily experience in the world! They are what it is all about! Thank you again!
With gratitude,
Ms. A.

I’m proud of our Heroes and of Ms. A for going the extra mile to ask for help for her students. Thank you to donorschoose.org for making it easy for both of us!

April 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Helping Haiti with Handhelds and Humble Pie

It is impossible for the horrible situation in Haiti to stay out of my thoughts for long.  Another earthquake hit Wednesday further stressing a difficult situation.  The news continues to take a personal turn as one of the longtime and wonderful staff members in our building is from Haiti.  After days of no communication after the original quake, this doorman learned his immediate family was unharmed, but that his aunt and her six children all perished; they were in their first-floor apartment in a typical cement apartment building. No word yet about further impact from the most recent quake.

We want to help our friend’s family but we will have to wait for that.  There is no way to do so until the situation stabilizes and begins rebuilding. For now, our family is giving to the Red Cross to help the country as a whole. And with digital media making it easier than ever to give, the overwhelming number of donations is making the once-trite statement of “any amount counts” an impressive reality. As of Sunday, an incredible $22 million, or 20% of the total $103 million pledged to Red Cross, was via text-messaging. (Send a text to 90999 to make a $10 donation, which will be charged to your cellphone bill.)

Beyond texting donations, mobile devices and social media have been used to great impact. They’ve been used to share real-time pictures of what is happening on the ground, to try to help families living outside Haiti identify survivors, and to spread the word about how doctors can get to Haiti, and provide info on local fundraising events.

And what about our kids? While teens are plugged into the digital world, younger kids also want to take action. My son’s grammar school is running an old-fashioned Bake Sale this Friday to raise money for Haiti. When I told my son, he decided he wants to donate some of his piggy bank contents to the cause. When he pulled out the cash, he wa disappointed by the amount he’d be able to give so he asked me if he could do some jobs around the house to earn more.  I gave him a big hug and asked,”How did you get to be so sweet?” And just in case I was harboring some sense of credit due to me, he immediately answered,”What do you mean? I’ve always been this way!”  Oh, right. I guess for the Bake Sale I should bring the humble pie.

January 20, 2010 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

Thank you to all who got engaged Nov 14!

I had a great time at TUTA’s season kick-off at The Spot in Chicago. Between the event and online donations, we helped TUTA Theatre raise more than $800. This was a great success for the first-time casual barnight event. Attendees at the event included Company and Board members, old friends and a bunch of people new to TUTA. You can check out the fun in pics from the event. I’m sure the party seems like a long time ago to the cast and crew members in the upcoming production of  The Wedding as this wedding requires rehearsals nightly — gift certificates make a great holiday gift. Performances will run  January 14-Feb 14.

December 2, 2009 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

The Making of a Lemon-aid Stand

lemonade stadeIn last Thursday’s “Real-World Super Heroes” class, we reinforced the idea that kids absolutely have the power to make a big difference. We shared some amazing real-life examples. Such as: Ryan Hreljac was in the first grade when he learned in class that people were dying because they didn’t have clean water to drink. He decided to do chores to raise $70 and build a well for a Ugandan village. Today, 10 years later, Ryan’s Well Foundation has contributed more than 480 wells in 16 countries serving more than 600,000 people.  Similarly, Janine Licare was 9 when she and her friend starting selling art to raise money for the rain forest, eventually creating Kids Saving the Rainforest. 

The key message: you don’t have to think big from the start, you just have to get started. This week our young Heroes got started on part 1 of a 2-part session on running a Lemonade Stand. Our group decided our Stand will sell lemonade and cookies, as well as tattoos. We discussed how to advertise our event – signs!  And how to help customers pass on the word – stickers! We also talked about prices, which we are 90% agreed on, but left ourselves a little wiggle room. Our heroes then got to work making cookies, signs and stickers.

The Real-World Super Heroes Lemonade Stand will be raising money for another group of neighborhood heroes: our firefighters. Our young Heroes will have the opportunity to present the money they raise to the brave members of the Firehouse at 145 W. 100th Street. The firefighters will provide the money to the Burn Center, which helps injured firefighters and civilians, and will thank us with a firehouse tour.

On May 28, with the weather suitably warm, we will take the cookies out of the freezer, mix up our lemonade and open for business. One day only. $1 for a drink and a cookie.  One more way to be a Super Hero.

May 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer for my 40

I’m celebrating my 40th birthday this year by participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in Boston July 24-26. Proceeds go to Susan G. Komen.

Continue Reading May 6, 2009 at 1:44 pm 2 comments


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