Monday, January 25, 2010

How To Be Good (and how to look good doing it)

If you thought this post was going to be about me, you are sadly mistaken.  Being good and looking good are two things that do not co-exist in my universe. My experience in do-gooding inevitably leads to me looking like a hot mess (insert obligitory manti-perspirant joke here.  I'm a total one-trick pony, I know.) - but I digress.  This post is not about me.  Mostly.

I'd like you to meet my friend, Candice:

Photo from Candice's website, The World Changers - such a great idea!

Before we go any further, I'd just like to point out how completely unfair it is that Candice has such a smokin' hot body after birthing four beautiful little girls.  And guess what?  She's nice too!  So I'm going to shake my fist at the heavens one more time and say that it's UNFAIR!  Aaaaah...much better.  Moving on.

A few things you should know about Candice (other than how amazing she looks!  I may have just the teensiest mama-crush on her): she is a fantastic friend and has the biggest heart of anyone I know.  Oh, and she is so super-organized - just being around her makes me want to label bins of toys and stack books in alphabetical order (and then I go home and don't do any of it.  Because I'm lazy).

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Candice, like so many of us, felt like she just had to do something.  Being a busy mom of four wasn't going to stand in her way, she knew that she just needed to get creative in finding a way to help.  Like so many of us Mamas - she felt a sense of urgency and a need to show her girls that any effort, no matter how small, was enough to speak volumes about how important it is to care for our fellow human beings.

So Candice had this fantastic idea.  She decided that she would run a hot cocoa stand in front of her house with her girls over the weekend.  The plan was to have her friends drive by, pick up some cocoa, and donate whatever they could to the Red Cross.  Well what Candice didn't expect was that her friends would tell their friends and family (go Facebook!) and suddenly this tiny little event was snowballing into a pretty big deal.  Our local Tim Horton's (hey awesome that Rochester has Timmies here, eh?  Makes me not miss Toronto quite so bad) stepped up and donated coffee, cocoa and donuts, and our Moms group - The Rochester Best Buddies - all pitched in to make cookies and snacks.  All of a sudden we were cooking with gas. 

Candice soon realized that her quiet residential street was going to get really backed up with all the cars coming in and out so guess what she did?  She opened up her home.  To strangers.  All in the name of charity.  Oprah should take notes because Candice rocks my ever-lovin' socks off!

So when Candice emailed me and told me what was going on, I was surprised to say the least.  Honestly, I thought she was a bit nuts to open up her house to people she didn't even know (well, she did know a lot of them...but certainly not all of them).  But when a busy mom of four darling girls who also happens do be a dear friend calls you and tells you that she has found the time to organize a charity event, the very least you can do is show the heck up.  So I did...and let me tell you, this was by far the best fundraiser I have ever been to (and I've been to a few.  I used to organize them for non-profits back in another life).

Above: Chugging yummy cocoa and making thank you cards

Above: an old friend, Candice with a new friend, Travis

Above:  How could you not donate with a cute baby like that around?

When I arrived (slightly late, as usual.  Because that's how I roll) the house was packed - but it wasn't uncomfortable.  Everyone was laughing and smiling, and there were kids playing and making homemade thank you cards at the kitchen table (another fantastic idea by organizer-extraordinaire Candice).  It was laid-back and perfect in every way - I got to meet lots of lovely people, and everyone was there for the same reason.  I could just tell that Candice's Hot Cocoa For Haiti was going to be a huge success.

That's me, the short one on the left - with Candice (center) and the incomparable Shawntrell (our Mom's group organizer) on the right

Later that evening, Candice sent out a message to the group - in that short four hours that she had people over, Candice and the Rochester Best Buddies had managed to raise close to $1300 for the Red Cross International Response Fund. We even made our local news. I can't tell you how proud I am of the moms that I know, and especially of Candice.  In a few short days, this amazing woman rallied us to go above and beyond our own expectations.  We changed the world, ladies.  More power to the Mamas! 

And to Candice:  here's looking at you, kid.  I think your girls are going to look back on Hot Cocoa For Haiti and burst with pride when they remember what their Mama accomplished.  You are such an inspiration, my dear.  Thanks for having me along for the ride.

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