Bringing joy this Christmas to the children most affected by hurricane Katrina through the charitable donation of gifts.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Letter to Satan

Dear Satan,

I am writing to tell you that I think it is time you give up because I don't think you have any clue what you are up against here.

You can take two of my committee members and whisk them to far away cities. You can take a simple idea and turn it into a tax nightmare. You can throw emotional crises at my friends that need me the most right now. You can speak through people in piercing words like "Katrina has just been in our newspaper too much, it is time to move on." You can make FEMA nonresponsive and force them to ignore us. You can lure away my drivers until there are only two of us. You can tear down all of the posters I put up. You can sit me at a table for two hours with an empty gift box watching the passers-by. You can spin us in circles with nowhere to distribute our gifts. You can bring on the rain while my arms are full of toys. You can even bring tears to my eyes.

But you you know what? You can not stop this and you will not break me. God put this idea in my head and He is guiding me the whole way to accomplishing it. He is making me steadfast and stubborn. For every single bump you build in the road, He shows me a detour. You really have no chance up against this team.

So if you insist, then bring it on! But you have been warned.

With all sincerity,
Laura B.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Why Blog?

More specifically, why keep a Caravan4Christmas blog?

I wanted a way to chronicle the process. Partly, so others can follow this journey, but also so I have something to look back on. C4C has become a major part of my life for months and I want my own journal of this process. The website, letters, banner, etc. are for everyone. This blog, though, this is for me.

I wanted a quick way to put up pictures and info. Having a web designer that is doing it for free means I cannot snap my fingers at him and make him do what I want immediately. (right Steven?;-) Although I must admit, he is pretty darn quick.

The blog can go into more detail than the website. People check out websites to get quick information. People read blogs to get a deeper, more full understanding. I can describe, in my own words and emotions, each step we take.

Most importantly, though, blogs have become "where it's at"...especially in DC. I knew starting this blog would be a great way to spread the word. People read blogs...people respond to blogs...most importantly: when something is for a good cause, people get the blog word out. Bloggers have a loud voice. Huge thank you to AUA and all four lovely ladies hosting the DC Blogger Happy Hour on Wednesday night for supporting Caravan4Christmas!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The most giving

I figured today that the most giving people around are the CHILDREN!

Emily is 10 years old. She is the daughter of a former co-worker who was told about C4C. Emily took it upon herself to take matters into her own hands. I had not heard a thing until former co-worker emailed to tell me she had a van full of toys. Apparently, Emily decided to head up a toy drive at her school. When I say head up, I mean the child really did take charge. She made her own signs, decorated her own boxes, stood up in front of the school to announce and explain, and got C4C a WHOLE LOT of toys. Co-worker dropped them off this morning and I stood in shock. The amount of toys was fabulous, but the signs Emily made were priceless!

(Imagine a Christmas without presents. Help the hurricane victims.)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

LSS Turkey Day

The Lousiana State Society (LSS) Thanksgiving Dinner (and toy drive) was a HUGE success! Everything from the menu (fried turkey, gravy, jambalaya, cornbread dressing, oyster stuffing, macaroni/cheese, bread pudding and more) to the Zydeco Music by Texas Fred was wonderful. The best part was the outpouring of support for the children.

LSS is a social group that is made up of Louisiana natives or wannabes living in the DC area. I would say almost everyone there was somehow directly affected by Katrina/Rita. Each person had a story. Many of them had lost childhood homes or their parents lost homes. Some whose homes remained standing still lost everything else they held dear. As much turmoil as most of these people have been through (and continue to go through), they still wanted to give to others. It was a pretty powerful sentiment to see so many people bringing toys by the bag-ful. Those Louisianians sure are good people:-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Grand Beginnings

I got the letter (and some photos) in today from Grand Beginnings. What beautiful people! At the bottom of the first page is a letter "from the heart of 9 year old Glenn"

As you know, our country has had a huge devastation that happened about a month or two ago and still has people homeless and some that have lost everything except the clothes on their backs. Most people in our area want to help but don't know how. Here is your chance. One wonderful lady has most of her family in Louisiana and has decided to send a caravan to Louisiana for Christmas. We ask you to bring in toys for Katrina victims. Bring only those things that are appropriate. We ask you to notify everybody you know to bring a toy.
Cher bebe! Really, that's all I can say.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Trucks and teddys

Look what I got in the mail yesterday!!! NuggetMaven sent us a box of toys all the way from...well, far away. What a fabulous idea. I think bloggers everywhere should send a box to Caravan4Christmas:-) Email me if you want my address (and if you are not a stalker.)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Toy drive

A box full of toys, a nice monetary donation, another driver, and a huge win for LSU. All in all, I would say it was a great day!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Grand Beginnings Children's Center

A woman named Peg has apparently been trying to get in touch with me and has not had much luck. Her emails to Caravan4Christmas were not receiving responses (strange), so she finally got ahold of my phone number. Since my cell phone does not always work inside my apartment (annoying), she had to resort to leaving a message which I could not understand. When I finally had a spare moment and a cell phone signal, I found myself in my car in the parking lot of Sport's Authority with a pad of paper and pen ready to see what she needed. I first thanked her for her persistance and apologized for not being able to get back to her sooner. After over a week, I may have given up if I were in her shoes.

When she stared speaking, I grabbed the pen and strarted scribbling the high points. She let me know that she is the owner of two Christian daycare centers in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The children wanted to find a family that was displaced by Katrina and "adopt" them for Christmas this year. In asking around, she was guided to our endeavor (thanks Linz!) and she found it interesting. She brought the concept back to the children and they absolutely loved it. So much, in fact, that they were ready to get started immediately. They did not even wait to hear back from me before they had written their own C4C letter, stapled it to ours, and made 300 copies. The little ones are passing them out to their parents, dentists, grocery stores, and anyone else who will take a copy. Miss Peg told them if they got enough toys for the children down south, she would personally rent a truck to bring the toys to us in DC for our journey. "Laura" she says "they cannot stop talking about this."

At this point in our conversation, I realize that not only was I not writing anymore, but I dropped the pen and pad long ago. I was just sitting there, with goose bumps and watery eyes. I was absolutely speechless (and for those that know me...this is a rare occasion). This was one of the most amazing stories I had ever heard. I just kept thinking THIS is it! THIS is what it's all about. There are 42+ children in a small town in Pennsylvania right now who are getting a firsthand understanding of what it means to give to those less fortunate. It's not about giving a check, or some toiletries. These children want to spread the joy of Christmas to other children. They are truly feeling what it means to make a difference in someone's life. WOW. What a powerful tool for a child to have. I cannot tell you how fulfilling it is to know that Caravan4Christmas can help to provide it. This truly is what it is all about.

Monday, November 07, 2005

And now...for the fun stuff!

For a while now, it was difficult for me to gague how this endeavor was going. Of course, everyone is quick to jump up and offer to help for a good cause, but it is often hard to know if those people will come through for you in the end. When I first started this, a lot of folks said "I absolutely want to do a toy drive" and then they disappeared. I did not want to come off too pushy, so I followed up via email and just sat and waited. I admit to being a little fearful lately. However, things seem to be picking up and we have some CONFIRMED Toy Drives. As in: time, date, place, etc. This makes me feel great.

Louisiana State Society
November 17, 2005
Thanksgiving Dinner at the Friendship House

GW Law School
November 28-December 1, 2005
(daily from 11am to 2pm)
2000 H St NW (Wash. DC)
First Floor (Kelly) Lounge

Thelen Reid and Priest, LLP
December 12, 2005
701 Eighth St. NW (Wash. DC)

University of Michigan DC Alumni Association
November 19, 2005
The Pour House (during the Ohio State game)
319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

DC LSU Alumni
November 12, 2005 @ 3:30 (LSU vs. Alabama)
November 19, 2005 @ 7:45 (LSU vs. Ole Miss)
November 25, 2005 @ 1:30 (LSU vs. Arkansas)
Evening Star Cafe
2000 Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria, Va

Operation Toy Drop
December 3 and 4, 2005
Location TBA
more info to follow

Are you on the list? Do you want to be? email me!