12 Days of Giving: 2020

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a charity to be considered for our 12 Days of Giving campaign. I really enjoyed reading all the submissions and the impact these organizations have had on your local communities. With so many nominations, it was a very tough task to select 12 organizations to receive a $1,000 Random Act of Kindness (RAK) check.

I am excited to announce that we have chosen 12 nonprofits to present a RAK check to this year! 

Starting today, December 12 through December 23, I will announce a charity that has been selected to receive a RAK check.

Thank you again for everyone who participated and happy holidays to all!

Day 1 – Sharing Connections

I’m very pleased to announce the first recipient of a Random Act of Kindness check for our 12 Days of Giving! This organization was nominated by a customer.

Drumroll please….

Sharing Connections in Downers Grove, Illinois.

Sharing Connections brings together community members by enabling families and businesses to share their gently used furniture, household items and clothing with families needing assistance. This is a unique opportunity for the community to directly make an impact by passing on something they no longer need to make a difference in the life of a family.

The Sharing Connections staff works closely with referring partner organizations such as domestic violence shelters, housing organizations, food pantries, schools, veteran, and teen parent organizations refer clients to Sharing Connections after they have determined the need for beds, cribs, furniture and other household items. Fitting with the vision of Sharing Connections, distribution of cribs and beds for children is a major focus of the programming.

Leeanne McGrath started Sharing Connections in her garage in 1986. She collected baby cribs and accessories from people who no longer needed them and then found families who were in need of these items. 

Over the years, the donations increased to the point where Sharing Connections now has thousands of square feet of warehouse space to store furniture that they will share with families in need in the Chicago area. Next week, they will turn the furniture warehouse into a winter wonderland for their yearly toy program, serving DuPage area children struggling with poverty. 

Congratulations!

Day 2 – CURED

Our second organization, CURED, was nominated by Caitlin from our Customer Care team and holds a very special place in her heart.

CURED is a not for profit foundation dedicated to those suffering from Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases (EGID), including eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), eosinophilic gastritis (EG), eosinophilic colitis (EC) and other eosinophilic disorders. CURED is committed to raising substantial funding to aid in research, advocating on behalf of EGID patients and their families, and working to educate and increase awareness about this complex group of diseases. 

My son Liam is 3 years old. When he was 2, he was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, a chronic rare disease. This causes him to have severe chronic abdominal pain, refusal to eat, vomiting, trouble swallowing, and many other painful symptoms. Because this disease is so rare, there is simply not enough research or funding. Therefore, there are currently no FDA approved treatments for this life long condition, and the only way to monitor the disease is to undergo an upper endoscopy every few months, which involves going to the hospital and undergoing general anesthesia. Currently, Liam is required to take medication every day, is on a special hypoallergenic medical formula for most of his daily nutrition, and has over 20 foods he is not allowed to eat including the 8 most common allergens, dairy, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, and eggs. CURED Foundation is important to me because they donate 100% of all profits to research for Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and other Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGIDs).  With their help I have hope that one day my Liam will be able to live a more normal life, with FDA approved treatments that allow him to enjoy some of the things we take for granted every day, and hopefully someday have a cure.

Day 3 – Carpenter’s Place

The next organization was nominated by Lillian Peoples, a sales associate who volunteers at Carpenter’s Place. The mission of Carpenter’s Place is to provide the tools necessary for rebuilding the lives of the homeless.

This charity means a lot to me. I volunteer and  give Christmas presents yearly. They are open all the time for the homeless, offering meals, personal needs and clothing. It’s a small charity with big hearts.

Carpenter’s Place serves as a ‘home base’ for individuals looking to rebuild their lives. This nonprofit is a place of hope, help and healing that offers a non-threatening, safe, daytime, drop-in center with a home-like atmosphere. Basic necessities like shower facilities, storage of belongings, a mailing address, phone calls, and laundry service are available. Guests in Case Management work to develop a personal Life Recovery Plan that addresses key areas of life and maps a direction to a brighter future. An array of support and education groups, voluntary spiritual support, and linkage within as well as outside of the local community are also offered and coordinated. 

Take a look at the impact Carpenter’s Place is having in the Rockford, Illinois community:

246 homeless adults have secured stable housing

119 have obtained employment, 82 of which were full-time positions

A BIG thanks to Lillian for taking the time to nominate Carpenter’s Place.

Day 4 – ChiGivesBack

Our next Random Act of Kindness check recipient, ChiGivesBack, was also nominated by a customer. 

This organization is focused on improving the well-being of the Chicagoland community by giving back. Their mission is to improve the welfare of the global community via innovative charitable experiences.

Founded by Kouri Marshall, Sandi Robinson and John Boddie, ChiGivesBack works to unite people from across the globe to give back to Chicago. 

We believe in paying it forward. Our goal is to inspire, empower, and influence people in our community to give back to others.

Their two biggest programs are Teach 2 Give and the Chicagoland Toy Drive.

Teach2Give is an event that is designed to solicit classroom supplies and provide Chicagoland teachers with the resources that they need in order to prepare their classrooms.

The Chicagoland Toy Drive is a project of ChiGivesBack, Inc. that is hosted in December during the holiday season to collect toys for low-income young people living in the Chicago area.

Keep up the great work you do for the city of Chicago!

Day 5 – Homer Blow Foundation

Our next organization was nominated by a customer who has received free bread and health food choices from the Homer Blow Foundation.

The mission of the Homer Blow Foundation is to help children and teens be able to enjoy life as a child/teenager by providing them with food, toys, school supplies, entertainment, sports, fun adventures, life experiences and more. 

The Homer Blow Foundation has proudly served the Milwaukee, Wisconsin community for 26 years and counting! 

On behalf of the Bob’s team, thank you for your selfless dedication to serving the greater Milwaukee community!

Day 6 – Lupus Foundation of America

I can’t believe we’re already at the halfway point of our 12 Days of Giving! I’m having so much fun handing out these $1,000 Random Act of Kindness checks.

Today’s recipient is the Lupus Foundation of America

Lupus is a long-term disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy tissues. An estimated 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have a form of lupus.

The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus through programs of research, education, support and advocacy.

The Lupus Foundation of America was nominated by Brittani from our Process Development department. 

This charity means so much to me and my family. We are hoping and praying for a cure for Lupus and all diseases related due to Lupus. My youngest daughter was recently diagnosed with Lupus with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. The foundation was founded to further the advancement in Lupus research with the hopes of finding a cure for the different types of Lupus. The foundation also offers assistance with managing care, treatment options, financial assistance, etc. My family and I had no idea what this disease really was or what this journey will be like. However, this foundation has been there to answer any and all questions.

Day 7 –  Animal Rescue Network of New England (ARNNE)

Today’s Random Act of Kindness check is presented to the Animal Rescue Network of New England (ARNNE).

The mission of ARNNE is to create a unified network of shelters and rescue organizations throughout New England, all working together for a common good. ARNNE, like so many other nonprofits, are struggling financially due to COVID and the cancellation of the rescue’s three largest in-person fundraising events (golf tournament, 5K Run/Walk and vaccine/microchip clinic) as well as monthly Pet Adoption Day events. ARNNE has had a lot of dogs/cats who have required veterinary care due to serious medical conditions, such as cancer.  

This check will help Lilly, a dog who is currently in foster care and undergoing heartworm treatment.

Thank you to Tricia from store support, for nominating ARNNE.  

As I was a volunteer for ARNNE for over 5 years, I was able to see how much this organization puts into helping the homeless dogs find their forever homes.  Everyone who is with ARNNE are all volunteers and work very hard in helping all the homeless pets out there.  A lot of these dogs/puppies are from rural parts of the United States where resources are very limited.  As a non-profit organization ARNNE is struggling right now.  When the dogs arrive they need to go into quarantine for 3 days before they can either go into our shelter or into a foster home. Once cleared from Quarantine they do need to be seen by a Vet. The vet bills are piling up. As covid hit they had to cancel their two fundraisers this year, which was the main source of paying the Vet bills and saving more animals. As there are several fees included with saving even one dog, such as transportation fees as one example. Please consider ARNNE for one of the Random acts of Kindness checks as the many homeless dogs out there would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you

Day 8 – Project Coffee Cup 

Today’s recipient of a $1,000 Random Act of Kindness check, was nominated by Cedric from our transportation department.

Project Coffee Cup’s mission is to bring hope and resources to the homeless in Los Angeles. The organization does this one cup of coffee at a time.  

The cup of coffee is our way to connect with people like humans and not less than because of their circumstances. We are here to empower the homeless toward lifelong personal growth, and to create in them a sincere belief in themselves through love, compassion, and straightforward conversations. Our strength is the love we give. Our staff are full of personal come-back stories and have experienced some sort of hardship but didn’t give up. We encourage those dealing with depression or struggling with hardships to seek help, we try our best to provide information about resources available to help get those in need back on their feet. Against all odds there is hope. Beyond the homeless, we also provide a platform for the students, families, and companies to get involved in serving their community.​

Day 9 – Little Wish Foundation

Our next 12 Days of Giving honoree was nominated by a customer. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Little Wish Foundation is a nonprofit organization that grants a little wish to children battling cancer. 

The organization serves pediatric oncology patients by providing a little wish that brings hope, comfort and joy. 

Since their inception, Little Wish Foundation has granted over 2,500 wishes nationwide!

Day 10 – CONTACT of Ocean & Monmouth Counties

Today’s 12 Days of Giving organization was nominated by a customer. 

CONTACT of Ocean & Monmouth Counties in New Jersey, provides trained telephone listeners who respond to human needs 24 hours every day. They also offer free confidential crisis intervention, information on available resources, and referral to community services. 

Founded in 1975, CONTACT has maintained a 24/7/365 service since the first day of operation. The organization averages around 26,000 calls a year. 

Thank you for all the great work you do to support your local community!

 Day 11 –  Ruth’s Reusable Resources

Today’s charity was nominated by Jeanne from Maine. Jeanne is a special education teacher at Telstar High School in Bethel, Maine who has “shopped” at Ruth’s Reusable Resources a couple of times.

For the past 25 years, Ruth’s has been Maine’s primary provider of free school supplies to educators. Their mission is to ensure that all students, from pre-k through high school, have the basic supplies and creative tools for literacy, STEAM, and health education through the environmentally-conscious distribution of donated business supplies.

Since 1994, Ruth’s has distributed over $78 million in school and office supplies. 

Jeanne described the impact that Ruth’s has had on her role as a teacher. You won’t believe how much money she is saving from having to pay out of her own pocket for school supplies – all thanks to Ruth’s!

Jeanne – Telstar High School in Bethel, Maine

Day 12 –  Charm City Trykers

I’ve had so much fun handing out RAK checks to all of these great organizations. I am very excited to present my final check to Charm City Trykers out of Baltimore, Maryland.  This nonprofit organization is focused on creating mobility and independence for children with disabilities. 

The Baltimore chapter of AMBUCS, Charm City Trykers provides AMTRYKE bikes to children in need. Each one of these bikes can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,500. 

I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who nominated a nonprofit organization this year for our 12 Days of Giving campaign. My team and I were so thrilled to see all of the submissions and great work that is going on in the local communities.

Wish everyone a safe and happy holidays!

Access Community Action Agency

There were so many nominations this year that we decided to award an extra Random Act of Kindness check, because it is the season of giving!

Access Community Action Agency has served the eastern portion of Connecticut since 1965. Their mission is to provide under-resourced individuals, families, and communities with access to opportunities that empower them to achieve and sustain economic stability.

Thanks to Alyssa from my Operations team for nominating an organization that holds a special place in her heart. 

The Access agency has personally affected myself and my family. When my family’s home burned down they were there for us, we were able to use their food pantry as well as get assistance with heat. I am so grateful for their assistance when my family was in need, they are always kind and understanding to those who use their services.  They offer housing programs, help with employment services and help facilitate WIC assistance. They are an incredible resource for our community and I’ve known many people who were able to use their resources to get back on their feet after tragedy. I am so grateful for what Access has done for my family and many others. They are such an incredible resource for our local communities and I truly believe they deserve the donation to help other families, like my own, have the resources to have a successful future.

Animal Authority Rescue Team

We have one more Random Acts of Kindness check that we are handing out as part of our 12 Days of Giving program.

This last check is being presented to the Animal Authority Rescue Team. Located in Southern California, this nonprofit is owned and operated by a veteran. The organization provides emergency and non-emergency aid to any created in need. 

This $1,000 check will be used to help restore the eyesight of a cute dog named Snoopy! 

Thank you to Cheri from Arizona for nominating the Animal Authority Rescue Team. 

“It’s amazing all the work she does,” said Cheri. “If she gets a call in the middle of the night, she’s out there taking care of the animals.”

About the author / Bob

I consider myself the luckiest spokespuppet ever because I get to talk about the thing I love the most everyday – furniture! Tufted headboards, rustic finishes, the difference between a sofa and a couch (yes, there is a difference)… I could go on and on. Oh, I just love furniture and I’m SO excited that I have this blog to share my passion with you! It may take me a little longer to create posts – have you ever tried typing with clay hands – but I look forward to talking furniture with you!

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