Pulling Together

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Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas in August 2017 and not too long afterwards Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean, Florida and other southern states in September 2017, tearing apart neighborhoods, businesses and schools. Our brothers and sisters affected by these hurricanes need help and Hand in Hand relief fund will raise money for this cause. The funds raised will be distributed among various organizations who will help to rebuild and restore the hardest hit areas.

Donate  online or text GIVE to 80077 to give $25

Video by Need to Breathe

Casually speaking and all the best,



Breaking Bread

Years ago when I worked for a non-profit, Panera Bread® helped us to fuel our runners,walkers and volunteers for our annual walk/run fundraiser and we continued to reach out to the local restaurant for a few years after and they came through with donations every time. Besides offering good service and great tasting food, Panera Bread® reaches past the kitchen to care for the community. Through a series of community outreach initiatives,  Panera Bread® demonstrates the spirit of giving in the communities where they have a presence.


“For more than three years, the Panera Bread® Foundation has been working on developing these non-profit community cafes of shared responsibility.

Warm Food, Warm Experience
At Panera Cares community cafes, patrons find the same menu one would find at a for-profit Panera Bread ® bakery- café. But instead of prices, suggested donation amounts are posted on the menu panels. Customers are asked to contribute what they can in the donation bins – whether that’s more, less, or equal to the suggested amount. Diners who do not have the means to donate can contribute by signing up for a volunteer shift if they choose.  The first Panera Cares community café opened in May 2010 in Clayton, Missouri. Three more followed in Dearborn, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and Chicago, Illinois. A fifth location is expected to open in early 2013. The goal of the cafes is to be self-sustaining –to generate enough donations to cover all direct operating costs while being able to cover the cost of meals of those in need of a hand up. “

Job Training:

In Missouri, while partnering with Covenant House, Panera has developed a job training program for at-risk young people to help them to be prepared for the workplace with valuable work experience and life skills.

“At Panera Bread®, we believe in giving back to local communities.”

Operation Dough-Nation Programs– Beginning in 1992, Operation Dough-Nation began as a way to connect to the community. Now it’s expanded to include four other activities: Community Breadbox™ cash collection boxes, the Day-End Dough-Nation™ program, Panera/SCRIP Card fundraising and participation in community events.

breadCommunity Breadbox– Panera will match a portion of the cash donations made by customers in  the bakery- café and distribute the funds collected to local non-profit organizations, to help meet basic necessities for the needy in the community.

Day-End Dough-Nation – At the end of each day, Panera Bread donates all unsold bread and baked goods to local area hunger relief agencies and charities. One of the organizations who benefit from this program is Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

SCRIP Fundraising – Non-profit organizations are able to pre-purchase $10 Panera Card® gift cards at a 9% discounted rate and then re-sell the Panera Cards at full price.

 Community Events– They make in-kind donations to organizations for events such as raffles, auctions, or run/walks.

Learn more about what Panera Bread is doing at

Casually speaking and all the best,

Hooray for Pancake Day!

Image by IHOP

How does a free stack of warm Buttermilk pancakes sound? Well, starting at 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. today, IHOP® celebrates National Pancake Day as they give away lots of free short stack pancakes to help raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH). So after you satisfy your hunger with some delicious pancakes, you can help the children who benefit from the services at CMNH by making a donation. If you’d prefer not to eat pancakes, they’ll gladly accept your donation.

The following week on Tuesday, February 12th is Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday, an international celebration of pancakes. On Pancake Day, there are pancake races, festivals, pancake stacking and other interesting activities. For many years there has been a connection between pancakes and fasting for Lent. Traditionally,  many cultures have refrained from eating certain foods such as dairy, eggs and meat for 40 days, except for the day before Lent when they feast on pancakes or some equivalent of it, marking the days leading up to Easter Sunday. Join in the celebration and grab a bottle of syrup to enjoy your own plate of pancakes.

Casually speaking and all the best,

#Giving Tuesday

As traditions go in the U.S., the fourth Thursday in November we celebrate Thanksgiving, following is Black Friday and then we ease into Cyber Monday, this year a new tradition starts….#GivingTuesday. A special day of giving has been dedicated to unite our efforts in the joy of giving; it’s the one gift that will never go out of style.

” Tuesday, November 27, 2012, charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.”

What matters most this season is not the size of the gift or a bow, it’s the simple fact that we give and the love that we show.

Casually speaking and all the best,

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Offering Gratitude for Service

Brawny Towels (a Georgia Pacific company) launched a partnership with Wounded Warrior Project  (WWP) to support military men and women and their families. When soldiers return to civilian life after their time of service it can take some time for them to transition back and that’s where WWP comes in by offering programs and services. Visit Brawny’s Facebook page, for their Support our Heroes campaign, and “Like” them or leave a note of thanks on their wall and Brawny will donate $1 to WWP. This Veteran’s Day say thanks to the members of the armed forces who have served their country and give them your support.

How to help after the superstorm

We need to stand strong together to help one another.

This Just In

Superstorm Sandy smashed into the U.S. East Coast on Monday night, triggering floods, fires and devastation. At least 29 people are known to have died in the United States and one in Canada, adding to the storm’s earlier toll of 67 after it hit the Caribbean.

Millions were without power, and floods have hit homes and the New York subway system. Relief groups are working to make sure everyone affected by the storm is cared for, and you can help.

View original post 275 more words

Filling Bookshelves with Hope

I was eleven, on summer vacation, when my mother gave me the last book she’d ever give me, Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), before she passed away a few months later. To this day I still have that book, it’s a little tattered, but it still has all the pages. Years later I reflected on getting that particular book from my mother and realized her gift started me on my path to writing. I understand how important it is for children to build an affection for reading and a book in the hands of a child can do wonders.

Books For Africa (BFA) strive to make changes in the lives of  many people in Africa by giving them books. BFA is an organization that collects donated books and ships them to various parts of Africa. Children and adults with literacy difficulties are provided with books that can help fill library shelves and classrooms.

At Books For Africa, we believe that education is the great equalizer in the world, and books are at the foundation of a strong educational system. For many children in Africa, the gift of books truly is a gift of hope. The mission of Books For Africa is to end the book famine in Africa. With your help, we will help create a culture of literacy and provide the tools of empowerment to the next generation of parents, teachers, and leaders in Africa.

We’re in an era where technology is king, but fortunately for some people who are comfortable with the basics, the printed material can still bring excitement. Find out more information about this organization and how you can help by visiting their website Books For Africa.

Casually speaking and all the best,