Friday, May. 30, 2008
Soaring food prices don’t have to blow your budget this summer, a national nonprofit operating with 10 host sites locally can help. They’re offering boxes of food for just $30 dollars.
“All of our budgets are getting tighter,” Janet Taylor, a volunteer for Angel Food Ministries for the Christian Church of Midland, said. Taylor helped bring the program to the Basin last year and says she expects more growth this summer.
“I already think we’re seeing more interest in Angel Foods after seeing gas prices rise, and food prices rise,” she said.
“You’re getting so many things in that basic unit, that it really pays for itself,” Kathleen Wilkins, who says she ordered for her family, said.
Despite rising diesel costs, the organization is doing everything they can not to raise rates.
“They are planning to make good use of their trucks, and wise use of their money, and plan their routes to make the best use of their fuel,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, you do not have to qualify, and you can place as many orders as you like. The organizaiton takes cash, check, lone star cards, and food stamps.
Seems like these days everyone’s selling the clothes off their back to help raise a little extra loot for the good stuff! Yesterday Ecorazzi told you that Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham were both giving up their threads for the sake of charity, and now it looks like Mr. Jello Pudding himself is going topless too.
Bill Cosby is teaming up with Auction Cause to get rid of a few of his famous sweaters on eBay from June 2-12th! All of the proceeds will go directly to the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation charity — a non-profit educational organization started by the Cosby family in 1997 after the murder of Ennis Cosby, Bill’s son.
The idea for an auction came from Cosby’s daughter, Evin, who said, “My mother and father were going through a storage closet, and I happened to be there and pounced on these sweaters. I told them that the price of what some of these sweaters might sell for could make a big difference in the lives of thousands of children.”
Here’s an idea: buy a pair of Kim Kardashians pants, a top from Victoria Beckham and a Bill Cosby sweater. Now that’s hot!
An East Texas girl decided that other people’s needs are greater than her own. So, she’s got a hair cut, and not just any hair cut.
7 year-old Shadda Botkin is donating ten inches of her long and beautiful hair to Locks of Love. The idea came from a hospital visit. Shadda was diagnosed with diabetes at age 5. Recently, she went for a check-up at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. She says what she saw at the hospital made her want to share her hair to give to someone else.
“I chose to cut my hair because I saw somebody who didn’t have hair and they had cancer. I hope that they grow their own hair, and they have money to get their surgery,” said Shadda Botkin.
Shadda’s Dad says he might miss his little girl’s hair, but he is very proud of her.
Thursday, May. 29, 2008
Emma Benavides wanted to help people who lost their hair due to cancer treatments. This is not unusual according to the Locks of Love Web site, which states that it is an estimated 80 percent of all donations come from children who wish to help other children.
Emma, age 5, is the daughter of Robert and Krista Benavides and granddaughter of Tom and Sandra Duffee, all of Kingwood.
Emma’s grandmother, Joan Hart, of Corpus Christi, was diagnosed with stage 3-B lung cancer in July 2007. While Hart was in Houston undergoing cancer treatments, the family explained to Emma that some cancer treatments cause people to lose their hair. The Benavides family learned about Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization, from an information packet supplied by M.D. Anderson Hospital.
Emma wanted to help. Emma’s hair at the time had never been cut and hung well below her waist. Emma’s mother and grandmother made plans to schedule Emma’s very first haircut on her fifth birthday in early April. She wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love in honor of her grandmother.
Hart did not live to see her little granddaughter make her donation; Hart passed away March 30, 2008. Twelve inches of Emma’s hair was cut on April 8. The salon did not charge for the haircut after learning of Emma’s plans.
On May 6, Emma’s mother also cut and donated her hair to Locks of Love in memory of her mother.
“When you hear about these organizations, at the time you think, oh, what a great cause, but you generally don’t do anything about it until it affects you personally,” said Benavides.
The Locks of Love Web site explains how anyone can make a donation for this worthy cause. For example, donated hair cannot be bleached and must be a minimum of 10 inches in length. Donations from people of all races, all ages, male and female, are needed.
People can donate simply by informing their hair stylist that they want to donate to Locks of Love. The stylist will separate the hair into ponytails, cut it, and give it back to be mailed by the donor to Locks of Love.
Estero High School sophomore Erick Montoya took top honors at the Cape Cops 5K Run and Walk at the Yacht Club in Cape Coral this morning.
Montoya finished the course in 16:26. Fort Myers resident Tiffany Chartier crossed the line in 18:45.
The course starts on pavement near the Tony Rotino Center and finishes on the Yacht Club beach.
Organizer Rachel Arotsky said the race, in its third year, ran soothly.
“We had not one problem,” she said.
Proceeds from the run benefit the Shop With a Cop program, which pairs city police officers with children for holiday shopping. Arotsky said more than 300 runners and walkers finished the race in sunny and humid conditions.
Friday, May. 16, 2008
With motorists paying nearly $4 a gallon for gasoline, many residents are having a hard time taking care of their families and paying for gas to drive to and from work. A Wilmington church decided to provide some help for those families and others by following Jesus’ philosophy — Give and it shall be given unto you.
The Bible Baptist Church of Wilmington sponsored a gas buy-down Saturday at J & D Corner Market on U.S. 22 and 3 at Sligo.
“We partnered with the gas station here and we’re lowering the price of gasoline 40 cents a gallon from 10 a.m. to noon only,” said Pastor Kelley McInerney Saturday morning. “We’re picking up the cost of that 40 cents a gallon so the store owner is not out anything.”
McInerney continued, “With the high prices of gas and the way it’s crunching everybody’s budgets, we thought this was a very tangible way that we could show the love of Christ to people by giving.”
When the promotion began at 10 a.m. Saturday, J & D’s lot was full and vehicles were backed up in both directions on U.S. 22. Two sheriff’s deputies took care of traffic control on the highway and members of the church assisted with traffic control on the lot, guiding motorists to the pumps and out of the lot by way of the back of the building.
“Our church philosophy is not to take but to give so this is a way we can make a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” McInerney said. “Our deacons are working the pumps and we’re handing out free bottles of water and popcorn and we’re offering to wash windshields for folks.”
Customers driving anything from a small Jeep to a Hummer took advantage of the cut in price for the gasoline. Many brought gas containers to be filled as well.
One customer, who identified herself as Debbie, was excited after filling up her Suburban. “I have never filled up before and it was right to the penny — it was $100 and it (pump) shut off,” she said as she showed her receipt from the pump. “It’s (price of gas) just about breaking us right now.”
Jim Keeton, owner of J & D Corner Market said a total of 2,757 gallons of gasoline was sold during the two hours. Cost of the gasoline to the church was $1,102.80.
“It was very successful,” Keeton said. “They (Bible Baptist) had a wonderful turnout. It went really smooth. We get a lot of regular customers from Bible Baptist Church and we were happy to do this for the community. And we’re hoping we’ll gain some new customers out of this.”
At noon there were still six or eight cars on the lot, Keeton said.
“I would encourage other churches to take that admonition of the Lord and believe it — Give and It Shall be Given,” McInerney said. “And this is just a real practical way — especially with the high gas prices — that people can realize, ‘Hey, there’s people who care and they’re trying to help us.’ It’s a great outreach.”
Pastor McInerney said he has heard of gas buy-downs across the country. “We’ve never seen one in our area so we thought we would be the first to try it. We appreciate Jim Keeton letting us partner with him and providing his facility to us and letting us do this work. It’s a community thing.”
McInerney and members of the church also promoted Friend Day on May 18 at the Clinton County Fairground. The theme for Friend Day is, ‘You have a friend at Bible Baptist Church.’ “We’re also giving out tickets to our Friend Day, our big pig roast dinner next Sunday at the fairground. We reserved the whole fairgrounds, the grandstand and all the buildings and we’re having a gospel concert with the Hoppers, a national gospel group. We’re having the free pig roast, beef and chicken dinner. It’s all free after the concert. It’s our biggest annual event that we do. There’ll be things for the kids and gifts for everybody. It kind of coincides with our anniversary of celebration.”
Last year, over 1,700 people attended Friend Day. “Last year was a record. We’re thinking we may break that this year, especially if the weather’s nice,” McInerney said. “Our church supplies all the beef, pork and chicken. Every one of our families brings a dessert and some ladies sign up for the vegetables and potato salad and things like that. But the guests don’t have to bring anything.”
Thursday, May. 15, 2008
From her perch on the veranda, she kneads a lump of flour into submission. The bright red plastic bowl in which it is being pummelled is lost in the folds of her floral skirt.
Maudis making dinner for herself and Sherise, her six-year-old granddaughter, living with HIV. Maud has been caring for Sherise since her mother died, when the child was only a year old.
Little Sherise runs and plays briskly in an open area in front of the house under the watchful eyes of her grandmother. Her doting grandmother is not surprised by her level of energy. She was told by the doctor about a month ago that tests have showed that HIV was undetectable in Sherise. It is a development which Sherise’s paediatrician, Dr Tracy Evans-Gilbert, attributes to the fact that Maud has always obeyed her instructions to give her granddaughter her antiretrovirals consistently at the same time each day. Maud, on the other hand, believes that God has healed Sherise.
Maud is one of persons who take care of their HIV-positive grandchildren and great-grandchildren in several small, mainly rural communities in western Jamaica.
The group is part of a programme specially instituted to improve the treatment outcome of children living with HIV. The programme also includes fathers, aunts, uncles and other relatives who provide a support network for 63 children living with HIV in western Jamaica and attend the Cornwall Regional Hospital’s paediatric clinic regularly. Fifty-four of the children are part of a treatment adherence programme which has yielded good results.
The burden of care for many children living with and affected by AIDS often falls on female family members such as aunts, grandmothers and great grandmothers, who are often very old.
Dr Evans-Gilbert says some mothers are dying very young, many in their early 20s. Maud’s daughter-in-law died at age 24.
Close to 45 per cent of Jamaican households are headed by women. Female unemployment levels are higher than those among males. Jobs available to unskilled women are often irregular and pay low wages and so female-headed households are more vulnerable to economic hardship. The situation worsens for elderly females.
Despite the challenges facing women in the HIV epidemic, it is women who play a key role in Dr Evans-Gilbert’s paediatric programme in western Jamaica. The nine grandmothers and great-grandmothers assist her in getting the best outcome for their charges. She depends on them to ensure the children take their medication on schedule.
“Children whose caregivers miss doses or don’t give it to them on time don’t do well, but children whose caregivers are vigilant have undetectable levels of HIV and get healthy.”
All five children who are part of the adherence study and who have undetectable levels of HIV in their blood streams are cared for by either their grandmothers or great-grandmothers.
Several communities away, Ethel, the 76-year-old great-grandmother of another HIV-positive pre-schooler, five-year-old Alecia, endures a gruelling treatment regimen for the child. Alecia was diagnosed with HIV shortly after her mother’s death when Ethel took her to the doctor for a persistent cough. She was placed on antiretrovirals (ARVs) immediately and now the levels of HIV in her blood are almost undetectable.
“Sometimes mi nuh sleep! Sometimes me only get just one nap a sleep before me have to get up to give her something to eat before she get her medication,” Ethel said in broken English.
Social worker, Gail Reid, daily treks to the remote communities where the children live with their grandparents. She tells the story of a grandmother with very bad eyesight, who is assisted by an understanding neighbour in giving an HIV positive toddler her medication.
In another community, a grieving grandmother, fearful of being stigmatised, still tells neighbours that her daughter, who succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses leaving a little girl, who is now four years old, died because she was slapped by a ghost.
In one case, an elderly grandmother has become progressively senile. Often it is her HIV-positive six-year-old grandson who ends up caring for her.
“Many times he has to be up and about looking for her as she will just wander off if he is asleep,” Reid reveals.
Evans-Gilbert says that sometimes children whose grandparents or great-grandparents cannot administer the medication on time due to health or other challenges are not placed on ARVs.
“For example, we delayed treatment in a child who lived with a grandmother as she could not see and read instructions on the medication and therefore would not have been able to administer the drug properly,” she explained.
In addition to some physical and medical challenges, the grandmothers have difficulties finding money to feed their young charges and pay for transportation to take them to clinic and collect their medication.
Grieving Children at Seasons Centre will be receiving a sizable donation thanks to the hard work of two Barrie North Collegiate students.
Ronnie Hoffman and Emma Camisso earned the charity a $5,000 donation from the Toskan Casale Foundation Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.
The initiative encourages students to research and get involved with charity organizations and rewards top projects with donations to their charities.
Amy Brandon, a special education teacher and gifted program co-ordinator at Barrie North Collegiate, said the initiative is a great way to open students’ minds.
“It makes the students more community minded and learn how they can help these charities,” she said. “I think (it is) the fact that it is tangible. The fact that they can say ‘wow, I am actually giving $5,000 to a charity,’ makes it important.”
Although many Simcoe County schools are involved with the program, this was North’s first time taking part.
Students first made presentations in their classes.
The top group from each class was nominated to present to judges.
Six presentations were made on the Grieving Children at Seasons Centre, The Achimota Centre for Children with Autism, the Barrie Literacy Council, and the Barrie Pregnancy Resource Centre.
All presentations included a history of the charity and explained what the charity does.
Students also had to say what the $5,000 would be used for if the charity were to receive it.
Presentations included videos, slide shows, interviews, photos and interactive activities.
One group, presenting on the Barrie Literacy Council, even had judges try and read a menu written in Russian, to show how an illiterate person feels.
Following the cheque presentation, Camisso said it felt good to help out the centre.
“It’s (the centre) important because it helps people like us,” she said. “If someone were to die in our lives we could go there and get help.”
Hoffman said he enjoyed the entire experience of the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.
“It was a great time. We learned a lot,” he said. “I hope they do it again next year.”
Wednesday, May. 14, 2008
Delta police officers pulled on pairs of blue jeans to raise awareness for breast cancer research.
Police department staff and volunteers paid $5 to trade in their uniform pants for jeans for the CURE Foundation’s National Denim Day.
“Unfortunately there are far too many who have been directly or indirectly impacted by cancer, our staff and volunteers included,” said Chief Jim Cessford in a press release. “I believe it is important that we demonstrate our support for those courageously fighting this battle and if we can do that by wearing jeans for a day, then I am all for it.”
Said Cst. Sharlene Brooks in the release, “If you have interaction with the Delta Police on May 13 2008, expect them to be in jeans with their regular issued uniform shirts accessorized with a pink ribbon. These are in fact real police officers.”
If the community would like to donate to the CURE Foundation for breast cancer research, ribbons are for sale at police headquarters in Ladner, or donations can be made at community police stations. Brooks asked that people not offer donations directly to officers.
Deepa Patel was “freaking out” in the last few minutes of her school day at Mason Middle School May 12.
“Oh my God, it’s going to be gone in a few minutes,” she said.
“It” would be Patel’s hair, and she was one of 13 girls at the school who resolved to donate eight, 10 or more inches of their cascading hair to Locks of Love and Beautiful Lengths, nonprofit groups dedicated to providing hairpieces to disadvantaged patients of cancer and other medical conditions resulting in long-term hair loss.
Monday’s “Cut for the Cause” was a culmination of a school year of hair growing.
Mason Middle’s CSI club – Christian Students Involved – started the year by asking girls at the school to grow their hair out until May to donate for the hairpieces, which can cost more than $1,000 and take eight ponytails of eight to 10 inches in length to make.
“So many people are affected by cancer,” said Rebecca Stewart, president of the student group. “It was really just something we wanted to do.”
Stylists from Intuition Salon in Mason donated their services for the haircuts, lining up the girls in the middle school’s cafeteria, placing their hair in elastic bands and snipping the hair.
“I feel really good,” Patel said afterwards, sporting a new bob. “The hair will grow back, and it’s for a good cause.”
Sisters Megan and Lauren Rose had not yet gotten their hair cut.
They both said they were nervous, but were resolute in going forward, because they were getting their hair cut in honor of Leo Johnson, a friend who died last year of cancer at age 13.
“We really wanted to do something for him,” Megan said.
Added Lauren: “I think he would be proud.”
Dozens of police officers were running through the streets of Cape Coral on Saturday.
It was all part of the “Cape Cops 5K Race” to benefit the “Shop With A Cop” program.
About 300 runners participated in the 3rd annual event.
The goal was to raise $3,000 to help underpriveledged children buy gifts this holiday season.
Tuesday, May. 13, 2008
ARMED force personnel serving far away from home and family are often without creature comforts.
The arrival of post is always a highlight, but, for some brave troops, being without a family means they don’t receive any morale boosting treats.
Inspired after hearing from her son, who is in the Royal Anglian Regiment, how the soldiers share their parcels with those who haven’t got anything, Werrington mother Gloria Aschettino was moved to start an appeal to help make up parcels of goodies for soldiers.
Mrs Aschettino said: “The paras don’t have access to the base camp, and my son said getting stuff sent through to them made a real difference. I received a letter from my son and the lads saying thank you after they heard about us setting up the appeal.
“The response from everyone has been mind-blowing.”
With son Liam (18) currently away on active service and her eldest son Guiseppe (22) also having served in the armed forces, it is an appeal close to Mrs Aschettino’s heart
The “Peterborough Supports Our Heroes” campaign puts together boxes containing anything from socks and sweets, to DVDs and magazines, along with essentials such as razors.
Even Peterborough United have got behind the appeal, and Posh have offered the signed shirts and memorabilia from the upcoming friendly against Manchester United.
These goodies will then be whisked back to The Dragon pub, in Werrington, for a one-off auction to further boost the coffers.
Landlord of the pub Janek Skutela is looking after the shoeboxes for the charity after getting involved because the Aschettinos are regular customers.
“Its great to be able to support our troops overseas by sending them bits and pieces which they can’t get. We will be holding another fund-raising event for the charity in August.”
Kind-hearted residents at Martin Court in Werrington also joined in the action by collecting 25 shoeboxes in total and presented them to a grateful Mr Skutela.
Chairman of the Residents’ Association John Rice said: “I asked if anyone was interested in helping in the morning, and by teatime generous residents had given £65 in cash. Our final total was £120, which we used to go and stock the boxes.”
Nearby sheltered accommodation Sweetbriers residents have also helped out with the boxes.
A group of heroic Croydon firefighters is calling for help for a charity challenge.
The 17 brave men from Croydon fire station are planning an expedition to climb three of the UK’s highest peaks in 24 hours.
The group, including Andrew Hanlon, 28, from Croydon, Liam Brown, 26, from Purley, and Bazza Unwin, 52, from Roundshaw, have been preparing for the endurance test for more than two months.
Their arduous journey is due to begin on June 21.
Once the clock starts, the teams will have just 24 hours to climb Scotland’s Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike in the Lake District, and then finally Mount Snowdon in Wales.
They have had one mini-bus donated but need another and cash for fuel.
Welfare, a charity for child support and family services in Croydon and the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund will be the main recipients of their fundraising.
When 7-year-old Michaela Leach got her second-ever haircut on Saturday, she couldn’t wait to get rid of a whole foot of hair. It was heavy, she said, and impossible to brush. Shampooing was a trial.
But even better than a lighter, easier to wear hairstyle, Michaela said, was the fact that her hair was going to “Locks of Love.” Someday it may be on a wig meant for a child who has lost her hair completely.
Michaela was accompanied to the Regis Hair Salon at SouthShore Mall in Aberdeen by her sister, Amiah, who will be 5 next week. Before Amaih had her hair trimmed, it cascaded practically to the top of her legs.
Nina Miller, the girls’ mother, couldn’t hold back tears. She said she knew it was silly, but her girls had worn Rapunzel-like hair for so long she was sorry to see it go. Plus, the haircuts reminded her that Michaela and Amiah are growing up.
Pat Kurylo, the girls’ grandmother, said they have an aunt who has donated her hair to Locks of Love four times, so it was natural that they would want to take part. They especially wanted to after seeing a little girl in a hat and learning that she had lost her hair.
Michael Leach, their dad, said he was grateful that his daughters are so sensitive. “I think it’s a great way for them to be helpful for others,” Leach said.
When the girls learned they’d need at least nine inches of hair to donate, they set a goal and went for it, their grandmother said.
“They would brush it and take care of it because they knew someone was going to get it,” Kurylo said.
Not only were the girls happy to give away their hair, they were excited over their new haircuts.
Michaela got a shoulder-length page boy. She won’t have to braid it up to avoid lice when she goes to Ocosta Elementary School, which made her clap with joy.
Amiah got a bob with shorter hair in the back.
Miller couldn’t get over how much older her daughters looked.
“You look so beautiful!” she exclaimed through tears, embracing Michaela.
“I’m proud of you.”
Thursday, May. 8, 2008
Stratham locals who casually know Scott Joy are surprised to see him pedaling around the neighborhood on a touring bicycle and stunned when they discover he’s training for a 100-mile road race. They’re more accustomed to seeing Joy’s thin frame and bespectacled face on stage singing or acting in community theater.
“It’s a shock to some people. Most think of me as the singing, dancing type. They’re usually surprised to find me doing anything physical,” said Joy with a chuckle.
They’re also surprised because Joy is a two-time cancer survivor.
Joy was originally diagnosed with testicular cancer in June 2003 and then again in 2005, but he has since gone on to make a full recovery.
In addition to teaching musical theater to children at Stratham Community Church, he now rides each year in the LIVESTRONG challenge and has raised more than $49,000 for cancer research.
After he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, Joy underwent surgery in 2003 and again in 2005 when doctors discovered his cancer had made a recurrence.
Through it all, Joy said his biggest concern was not whether he would recover, but how his wife and four children would handle his illness.
“I remember being in the hospital and just asking for strength for my family, to get them through this,” he said.
It was shortly after his first diagnosis when Joy became involved with youth theater at Stratham Community Church. Joy said his love of music began with church choirs and musicals at the age of 4.
“I wanted the opportunity to give my children and others the same experiences I had growing up,” he said.
Parents and congregation members credit Joy with having a profound effect on the community during his four years of work at the church.
“Watching him interact with these young people is amazing. All the children really look up to him,” said Patricia Graham, who has known Joy through church for the past 10 years.
Bob Butcher’s son Matthew performed in the church’s latest musical on Sunday. Butcher said he’s seen his son change after working with Joy.
“He’s much more confident on stage and with himself now,” said Butcher “Part of that is because of Scott.”
“(Joy) makes music fun. He’s serious because there’s a show to perform, but he also knows how to have fun,” added Matthew.
Joy’s diagnosis was also what inspired him to begin long-distance biking. Although his only experience with bicycling was with short trips around the neighborhood, Joy said he felt an obligation to help others with cancer.
He started out slow, building up his endurance with short rides around town. Now he rides a 100-mile race each year for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and is one of the foundation’s top fund-raisers. Last year, Joy received the messenger award from the LIVESTRONG foundation for having the most individual donors. In 2006, Joy was given the chance to ride alongside Armstrong.
Joy said he’s grateful for everything that’s happened after his diagnosis. He also has a message he wants to tell others fighting cancer.
“You can’t let it go, but don’t let it rule your life,” he said. “Life can be better than it was before.”