In our family we don't have big birthday parties (or really any birthday parties) for our kids except for their first birthday. We like to have big first birthday parties! Since we can't shower Siena with fun new books, toys, and clothes of her own we want to use her birthday as an excuse to bless someone else. We did the same thing for Kenna's second birthday when we collected and delivered a new lending library to the perinatal grief program at our local hospital.
For Siena's birthday I want to go big and we are going to need your help.
Our charity drive this month in honor of Siena's first birthday will be to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, Minnesota where we stayed when Tomas was born. More specifically, to brighten the day of the 40 families that call the House that Love Built home while their child is hospitalized or undergoing medical treatment.
We chose Ronald McDonald House partially because of the wonderful service they offered to us during Tomas' NICU stay, but more specifically because this is a place that would have in all likelihood become a regular part of our lives had Siena lived. In fact, the social worker spoke with us before her birth about making those connections and arrangements.
In addition to being a place to stay, Ronald McDonald House offers tons of opportunities for families to eat and play together. Their mailbox "day brighteners" (as they call them) give organizations an opportunity to bless the Ronald McDonald House families directly with something to encourage them and make them smile. Even from our relatively short stay, Tomas has a collection of stuffed animals!
Our plan is to put together an extra special mailbox delivery of our own. We are partnering with two local businesses to collect items for delivery. That's where you come in. There will be an in person event (let me know if you would like the details!), but the primary method for raising funds will be through online sales so that no one is left out.
Goal: 40 Medium Thermal Zipper Pouches
When Tomas was hospitalized, I used a Medium Thermal Zipper Pouch that I already owned to carry breastmilk to and from the hospital. Tim also used it to carry food for lunches and snacks for himself and to me when he ran back and forth between the house, hospital, and work during the day. You can help us provide a Medium Thermal Zipper Pouch for each family to use during their stay at RMH in one of the following two ways.
1. Order for yourself, friends, and families through the online show, just like you would any other event. Be sure to select Siena's Birthday Bash as your event from the scheduled parties menu. All hostess credits will be used to purchase pouches.
2. Order 1 or more Medium Thermal Zipper Pouches and choose "ship to hostess" instead of having them shipped to your home. The total for 1 pouch with tax and shipping comes to $17.31 and $15 of that goes towards increasing the hostess credits to use for purchasing even more pouches. It's like helping out twice!
If you want to do both, you can either place two orders or (if you need the pouch purchase to reach your goal for customer specials) you can place one order and select direct shipping and then ship the pouch back to our consultant (her address is on her website). If you select this option, however, be sure to let us know that it will be coming back to us and then ship it quickly when your items arrive because we don't want to hold up delivery.
Goal: 40 Books
Since the pouches are mostly for the parents, I wanted to do something for the kids as well. We love Usborne books and I knew they would pair nicely with the pouches. Just like with the pouches, you can help in two ways.
1. Order for yourself, friends, and families through the online show, just like you would any other event. All hostess credits will be used to purchase books for the drive.
2. Order 1 or more books of your choice and choose "ship to hostess" instead of having them shipped to your home. Just be sure to let us know you want your order to go directly to RMH. Note: If you choose this option, please stick to books not games or other options as we want to provide a similar gift to each family.
Other Ways to Help
1. Pray for this collection. This is a huge goal I have set and I really want to make it happen in memory of our sweet girl, but I cannot do it with out you.
2. Spread the word. Not interested or in a place to help right now? Someone you know is. Share this event on your Facebook page, your own blog, twitter...whatever else you can think of! When you use social media tag like crazy and feel free to use the hashtag #SienasBirthdayBash
3. What about cash and other donations? We have ideas of additional items to include in the pouches such as gift cards for fast food places near the hospital to cover lunches, soap and washcloths (Leigh and I are working on knitting/crocheting the 40 washcloths already), and more. The kicker for all of these great ideas though is that we need 40 of anything we include. If you are inclined to help with another idea or want to contribute cash to help fill in project needs as they arise (for example, if we end up with only hostess credit for 20 pouches and need to purchase the rest at full price), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk through your idea. We thought about setting up a GoFundMe for the project, but they take a larger cut than PayPal and we didn't want to distract from the focus of the project which is the pouches and books and in those cases the shows are a much easier way to have remote involvement. That being said, if you would prefer to donate a cash or other in-kind gift (in multiples of 40, please) email me and we will work out the details. If you want to help, we will find a way that works for you!
We will be collecting online orders between now and January 16th, which is less than two weeks away. The timeline is short because there will be a gap between when orders are collected/submitted and when we are able to actually physically deliver everything. With Siena's birthday falling so close to Christmas that left a small window, but I KNOW that we can do this!
I know that there is an entire world of people who love Siena almost as much as we do and I think we have found a way for everyone to be involved. We will be sure to let Ronald McDonald House know that it is as much (more!) the generosity of our blog readers that makes our donation possible than our own.
We will be sure to share lots of pictures from delivery as well!
Quick Links for Ordering & Updates
Dawn Buck, Thirty-One Consultant
Leigh Campbell, Usborne Books Consultant
Website and on Facebook
Work and Play, Day by Day