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Giving Spotlight: Supporting Parents Through Tough Times

CrisisNurseryPhotoThe parent road is a long one with a lot of twists, turns, spilled sippy cups, crushed Goldfish crackers, and yes, amazing scenery along the way.

But life obstacles can send even the sturdiest station wagon spinning. That’s when parents turn to their “village” of family members and friends. But what about those who don’t have a community or can’t find and/or afford emergency childcare?

The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, our latest Giving Program donation recipient offers a safety net for families experiencing extreme circumstances, such as trauma, domestic violence, or maternal depression—situations that place children at a higher risk of abuse and neglect.

“The Nursery began with a goal to establish a 24/7 crisis helpline and shelter six children per day. Today, we answer approximately 4,000 crisis calls annually and shelter up to 20 children per day, providing over 5,000 nights of care annually to children aged newborn through six,” says Emily Burck, Annual Giving Manager of the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

By offering parents resources during difficult times, the Crisis Nursery can help prevent extreme stress from spilling over. “We invite parents to come as they are, courageously share their story, and trust that we will partner on their journey,” says Burck.

“The Nursery is a busy place, but it’s full of hope and joy. We celebrate the strength of parents who choose to pick up the phone and ask for help. They remain in control, teaching us what their child does or doesn’t like, how to best soothe them when they become upset, as well as things that make them happy.”

“You ensured my child’s health and well-being when I had no one else to help.”

Sasha was in labor with her second child—she arrived at the hospital with her mother and three-year-old son, Eli. As she had complications with her previous delivery, she needed her one and only support person—her mother, by her side. Sasha and her mom didn’t have friends or family they could call to help. This meant that no one would be able to care for Eli during the delivery.

When she called the Crisis Nursery she was relieved, knowing someone was able to care for her son while she brought her new baby into the world. The Nursery staff even picked Eli up from the hospital so Sasha’s mom could stay with her the entire time.

When Sasha picked Eli up a few days later, she knew how well cared for her son had been during his stay. Her Family Advocate shared how Eli spent his time, what goals he worked on, what food he ate, and how he slept. She expressed so much pride when she heard Eli helped put cups away and stack the chairs. Often, people are quick to point out Sasha’s shortcomings as a parent or how her child is misbehaving. It’s different at the Nursery—her Family Advocate highlighted ways Sasha could support Eli and they celebrated his achievements together.

Sasha learned that Eli slept better with a nightlight, and that he used belly breathing to help cope with stressful feelings. She learned that he enjoyed reading, The Snowy Day and received a copy of it so they could have an age-appropriate book to read together before bed. Sasha laughed when she heard that Eli ate two helpings of broccoli and that all the kids had pretended they were giants eating little trees.

When Sasha and Eli left the Nursery together that afternoon, Eli didn’t just have a new baby sister, he had a mom who felt a new sense of safety, knowing there’s a community dedicated to supporting her family. Something she had not experienced before.

GMCN is an excellent resource for families. The community’s generosity sustains the hardwork they do—you can donate to the Crisis Nursery  or if you’re in Minneapolis, volunteer.

Good Causes >

Charity Spotlight: Ending Hunger with Food For Thought

Food for Thought DenverEvery month Brown Paper Tickets donates to worthy causes. We select our charity from a list of online suggestions that our users submit.

We’re excited to introduce our most recent charity donation pick: Food for Thought Denver. This passion project is run entirely by volunteers and supplies local kids with PowerSacks. Their mission is to eliminate weekend hunger in Denver’s Title 1 elementary schools. Colorado is the third fastest growing state for childhood hunger and one in four families do not have enough to meet basic needs.

For some kids, school offers their only consistent food source.

“During the school week, children from low-income families in Denver Public Schools receive free and reduced lunches at school. Often the lunch they receive at school on Friday is the last meal they eat until they arrive back at school on Monday. Teachers and principals report that many students come to school on Monday mornings hungry, complaining of stomachaches, headaches and unable to focus and learn.”Food For Thought website

Food For Thought extends the resource for weekend sustenance by providing PowerSacks to each child who qualifies for free lunches, in seven schools at the end of every school week.

It’s a big job.

What is a PowerSack?

Each PowerSack has nine to thirteen items, enough to feed a family of four two meals. They have distributed over 239,200 PowerSacks, and last school year they provided 72,000 PowerSacks to 2,000 students in 7 elementary schools. That’s so impressive.

What We Loved Most

It is a 100% volunteer-run program.

“Blown away by all the generous people and organizations, the dedicated volunteers, the sweet and grateful kids, the kind teachers and principals. This is a true grassroots effort that is helping the very best of mankind to shine.” – Volunteer Testimonial

With low overhead and an advisory board that handles administration and fundraising, donations go right into the substance of the program. This means that all donations go directly to purchasing food and making a direct impact for the kids they serve.

3 Ways to Support Food For Thought

1 – Donate
The cost of each PowerSacks is $4 and 100% of the donations are used to buy food for students.

2 – Amazon Smile
If you shop on Amazon, you can use this link to make your purchases and .05% will be donated to the Arvada Sunrise Rotary Foundation, who will in turn earmark the funds for Food For Thought.

3 – Volunteer
If you happen to be in the Denver area, volunteers are needed and appreciated. Food For Thought told us that “volunteers are the heart and soul,” of their organization.

Image from Food For Thought’s Facebook page

Good Causes >