You’ve probably heard the adage that when you are deep in pain or trouble, you should help someone else. I have, and frankly, I’ve never believed it.
Until this month.
Deeply embroiled right now in one of the toughest times of my life, a little gift of mercy was sent my way this a few weeks back. My friend Colleen, who happens to be a food blogger, had the idea to reach out to other bloggers as well as some of their collective contacts to pull off a fantastic holiday surprise for 21 children who live in a small remote village in Alaska where one can only get in or out by bush plane or a small boat via the rough Nushagak River. Over 20 bloggers from PA, NJ & DE jumped on board and #TwinHillsSanta began to take off. A friend (Dani) of Colleen’s took a position in the village teaching this year, Dani didn’t know what to expect when she packed up and moved from Pennsylvania, however she has already fallen in love with the people, their culture and Alaska. She has 16 students ages 4-13 and the village has 5 additional kids under 4. There are no places for the 76 residents to work or shop, so they live simply. They don’t have much. As a matter of fact while discussing Christmas and Santa recently one day in school, one of the younger kids said simply,
“Santa doesn’t come to Alaska.”
Whaaa…??? My heart was already tugging on me to do something but when I learned some of these kids have autism, that was it. I had to do something – and more than just wrapping extra gifts I had at home. I didn’t even know that the worst crisis in my personal life was yet to come – the very next day after shipping those gifts – but reaching out to a greater cause buoyed me through an excruciating week. I took a store run, sorted all my “extra” toys and crafts and recruited Amelia for a weekend of wrapping – something she’s never done before! We wrapped and wrapped and into the flat rate boxes when toys and crafts of every shape and size. Amelia enjoyed stuffing the boxes too. (Zoe was excused since she could only unwrap apparently, LOL!) I’m here to tell you that this gift of giving – anonymously to strangers – is the lift that a troubled soul needs. Once the packages were wrapped, I stowed the boxes, prayed over them and sent them to the post office the next morning. The girls didn’t want to decorate them and I flubbed everything from labeling to a note (I didn’t include) so they will just get a mystery box of gifts but I think that’s ok. And my box was just one of many…
This year…these kids have one heck of a surprise in-store for them!!
A number of the bloggers reached out to some of their contacts and I am so humbled and thrilled to share with you that they hopped right on board!
- Lee Jeans is sending clothes to the kids, those kids are going to be so excited and well dressed!!
- CVS Pharmacy is sending all kinds of personal products from toothbrushes to scrubbies and body washes, & shampoos to chapsticks, candy, small toys and much more!
- Nuby USA jumped in to send the younger children sippy cups, infant and toddler toothbrushes & toothpaste, toys and fun feeding plates & utensils!
- Tyrrells English Chips (who has the most fun website BTW) sent cases of their crazy delicious chips – those kids are going to be happily crunching away with a new-to-them snack!
- And speaking of snacks, Pretzel Crisps sent cases of their crazy-good pretzels – Boy are the kiddos in for a tasty treat! I see new fans just ahead!
- Educational Insights was happy to send the kids learning games, reading games, puzzle toys and more. These kids are going to be happy, busy and fine tuning their skills as they play!
- Kind Snacks shipped some of their healthy AND tasty Kind Bars to the kids, those will get them pumped up and full of energy!
- And DecoArt sent a bunch of craft supplies to the kids who I hear are LOVE making things and crafting any chance they get, they are going to be blown away!
How awesome are these 8 companies who said YES to helping these kids! Brands that give are the best kind and it’s a rate treat to see that these days. I am honored to be part of this group even if I flubbed it 🙂 All of the bloggers involved made sure every kids will get a new pair of pajamas, hats, scarves, gloves and more! Then additional friends, some bloggers and many not heard what was happening and either grabbed USPS flat rate boxes or hopped on Amazon to send stuff the kids way! I can’t wait to share more specifics, which I will do in January once I get the intel from Dani as to how it all went. The pilot who flies in and out of Twin Hills with deliveries won’t know what hit him and neither will the post office!
When you open your heart, even if it’s hurting, beautiful things happen!
Thank you Lee Jeans, CVS Pharmacy, Nuby USA, Tyrrells English Crisps, Pretzel Crisps, Educational Insights, Kind Snacks and DecoArt for making THIS a very special Christmas for 21 children, who I know are going to be so very grateful!
And here is the list of all the bloggers that are participating!
Becky Adams, Life with Kaishon
Colleen Kennedy, Souffle Bombay
Debbie Bookstaber, Mamanista
Denise Ruggieri, Mom 4 a Difference
Heather DiNuzzo, Girl Gone Mom
Heather McCurdy, Real the Kitchen and Beyond
Heather Schugar, Diapered Knights
Jennifer Oxenford, Philly Fun 4 Kids
Jo-Lynne Shane, Jo-Lynne Shane
Katie Pietrak, BusyBee Kate
Larisha Campbell, We’re Parents Blog
Lauryn Blakesley, The Vintage Mom
Lindsay Podolak, The Naughty Mommy
Lindsey Shuster, Sisters to Sons
Natalie Dixon, A Turtles Life For Me
Nicole Quier, One Punky Mama
Pam Margolis, Unconventional Librarian
Rachel Blate, Can’t Google Everything
Sarah Mazzone, Made in USA Challenge
Tomika Bryant, My Mommy’s Neighborhood
Tricia Goodman, The Good Mama
Trina O’Boyle, O’boy Organic