This blog has provided me with some really cool opportunities.
Is one of the best so far.
Hebrew National and The Motherhood have asked me to co-host one of their “Better-Than-A-Picnic Picnics” right here in Central Florida. (OK, fine, it’s in Orlando – but I feel weird saying that because I don’t actually live in Orlando, as Angie likes to remind me.) When I first got the email I was like “meh, show up at a picnic, whatever, sure.”
But then I found out what “Better-Than-A-Picnic” means.
As hosts, we were asked to select a charity that we wanted to work with and create a serivce project that could be done during the picnic by people who attended. We don’t have to cook, or clean up, or even find a location. All we (and I say we because I’m co-hosting with three other bloggers) had to do was decide what charity we wanted to work with and how we wanted to help, and then tell people about it. And they wanted to pay us to do it.
Best. job. ever.
We decided to hook up with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. You see, homelessness is a pretty significant problem in Orlando. The Coalition shelters nearly 200 children with their families each night, with the average age of these kids being just 7 years old. Many of the people who live in the Coalition shelters actually work during the day, but they are still unable to find rental homes they can afford to live in. Theme parks? Awesome for tourists. Service industry jobs? Not so awesome for income.
When I first moved here three years ago, I was shocked to learn about how common homelessness was, especially in the downtown area. They actually had to make laws addressing when panhandling was allowed and in what area. As a girl from small town Iowa, this was a real culture shock for me and it broke my heart. No parent should have to wonder where their children will sleep at night.
ANYway – we hooked up with the Coalition. (And not “hooked up” like the kids say it these days, because that is gross and probably impossible and I am old and mean hooked up as in partnered with, basically.)
If you live anywhere near Orlando, Florida and are free Sunday afternoon, I would absolutely love it if you would join us. And I’m pretty sure you get heaven points. Or karma points. Or whatever other math you do. IT WOULD BE A GOOD THING IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
WHERE: Lake Eola Park in Orlando, Florida
WHEN: Sunday, June 27 – from 11:30am to 3:30pm
SOME MORE WHAT:
Food will be provided for free. Woo hoo! (Food, obviously, will be Hebrew National kosher hot dogs. That I don’t have to cook.)
During the picnic, we’ll be putting together Belated Father’s Day Gift Bags for the dads in the shelters. The volunteer coordinator I spoke with was really bummed that she hadn’t been able to get anything together for them for Father’s Day and asked if we’d be willing to take that on, even if it was late. Of course I said yes because both dads and kids with dads should get to participate in Father’s Day, for Pete’s sake!
We will also be collecting donations for the Coalition at the picnic. Some suggestion for donations include:
- canned fruits and vegetables
- Baby items: GOODSTART baby formula (per government regulations), diapers, training pants (like Pull-Ups), wipes, sippy cups
- Personal hygiene supplies: soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, tooth brushes, disposable razors, shaving cream, deodorant, feminine hygiene products (omg imagine having to live without that as a woman!)
- Cleaning supplies for people transitioning into housing: cleaning products, brooms, dustpans, mops, sponges, garbage bags, toilet brushes, etc.
- New underwear, socks, and bras for men, women and children
- Linens: towels, washcloths, twin-sized sheets (new or gently used and washed)
- Medical supplies: thermometers, Tylenol (infant/chewable/adult), Motrin (infant, chewable), asprin, Alka Seltzer, medicine droppers, nasal syringes
- Hurricane supplies: bottled water, flashlights, ponchos, first aid kits, batteries (C and D)
- Gift Cards (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart, Office Max, etc.)
Bring a lot or bring a little. Every little bit helps and will be carted off to the Coalition when the picnic is over.
If you think you can come, please consider RSVPing here.
Next up, finding someone to pay me for going to church.*
(*Just kidding God. And grandma.)