Lists and parties and progress… oh my!

Hi, everyone!  Jamie here.

I feel like referring to you as the all-encompassing ‘everyone’ seems so impersonal. We should really have a name for all of you following us on our journey.  Like Spiriteers or something that identifies the group, as a whole. Anyone have any suggestions? We’re all about leaving some of our decision-making up to the masses (and social media). After all, that’s how our name came to be… isn’t that right, Valerie?

By now you’ve likely heard that our shopping lists are out! Well, half of them, anyway. If you haven’t yet taken a look via Facebook, you can peruse the master donation list on our website HERE. The lists are fairly extensive and may seem pretty lengthy, but many of our families need a great deal. And we’re hoping to make this a holiday season to remember, in every way. We want to make their lives easier and we want to fill them with joy. That’s what the holidays are about and that’s certainly what our organization is about, too.

We just heard back from School #33 regarding the rest of our families’ lists. We hope to have another four families to share with you this evening. So, please keep checking back for updates.

changeFor those wishing to donate items, the spreadsheet is pretty intuitive. All you need to do is open the link on your computer, then add your name and email next to the items you wish to purchase. Simply close the document when you’re done and it will automatically save for you. Editing the list from a mobile device has proved tricky for some. We’ve found that downloading the Google Sheets app has allowed us to update things on the go. That said, if you’re having issues, please let us know and we’ll gladly help you!

Next up we’d like to thank two businesses for really coming through for us in a big way. You may remember our friend, Jon Nappa, the man behind the Syracuse event we’ve mimicked here in Rochester. Well, thanks to the generosity of his company, Bruin Computer Trading & Recycling, we have secured laptop computers for every family we’re working with this year. Jon has been gracious enough to offer these laptops at an incredibly reduced rate. And that’s where PacTech Packaging comes in to play and where we owe a great deal of thanks, as well. PacTech has offered to purchase every one of those computers, on our behalf, allowing us to redirect our monies toward clothing for these families and other necessities along the way. Without the generous contributions from both businesses, we wouldn’t be able to offer these gifts, so we thank you both.

We’ve also heard from the pulmonary until at Strong Memorial Hospital and it seems they want to designate Making Spirits Bright as their charity of choice this holiday season. They will be adopting an entire family’s list for us! We still can’t believe our good fortune, as this was an idea we had thought about, but we had tabled until next year in an effort to really focus on what we’ve created, so far. To have them reach out to us and offer to do so much is, well… stupendous.

In continuing with that thought, we have had a great deal of families and area businesses reach out to us, wondering how they can help. Parents are hoping to involve their children on a larger scale. Businesses are looking to get their employees into the spirit of giving. As you know by now, we’re operating from a zero-based budget. We started with $0 and we’ll be ending that way, as well. Any donations collected along the way, whether they’re tangible items or monetary contributions, will be utilized to the best of our ability and all will be donated to our families.

As a group, we have come up with a few ways in which different groups can get involved. The first is our Wrapping Party, which we have scheduled for Wednesday, December 3 at 6 pm. The fabulous folks over at the DoubleTree Hilton in Henrietta have graciously donated a meeting space for us to use. We’ll be gathering there that evening to wrap all the items for each family. It will also serve as an opportunity to thank all of you who are assisting us in so many ways, because without you… our grand ideas would never have been made possible. So, if you want to save the date, please do so. We’d love to share in this excitement with you in person!

Other ways of helping us out…

  • Organize a bottle & can drive where folks bring their returns to your office/school/home. Returns can now be made in FOUR locations. The addresses can be found on our Donations page.
  • Host a dress-down day at the office where co-workers donate $5 to wear jeans and collect on behalf of MSB.
  • Adopt-a-family’s list, like the hospital’s pulmonary until is doing.
  • Collect food items that will be sent home with each family at our event. Canned food is good, but if you wait until closer to the event, perishable items could work, as well.
  • Collect gift cards. The Wonder Tree pre-k school in Webster is collecting Wegmans gift cards, so we can purchase food items. We’re also looking for gift cards to area retailers, such as Target, Game Stop, Ulta, Kmart, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc. They’ll either be used by us to even out wish lists, or they’ll be given to families to use at their own discretion.
  • Create a fundraising page through our CrowdRise account and collect tax-deductible monetary donations on our behalf.
  • Do you know of any area food establishments that might be willing to donate food for the event? We’re also looking for a limo bus service to transport our families to and from the event on December 11. Connections are appreciated, too.
  • If you have other ideas to help MSB, we certainly welcome any suggestions.

I’m sure there’s more to share with you, but this is pretty lengthy already. We thank you for staying with us for the entire post. Until next time… cheers!


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