Passing out 3,000 turkeys

IMG_8418On Tuesday, November 23rd I volunteered with City Team to hand out turkeys to Bay Area families in need.

It was an incredible experience.

There were THOUSANDS of frozen turkeys in bins lining Avaya Stadium in San Jose.

Families entered the stadium through one entrance and shopped for perishables and non-perishable food.

Then they got to the section with the turkeys.

Each volunteer was handed a turkey and then he or she escorted their family back to their car or the bus, carrying the turkey for them.

As it turned out, November 23rd was a very cold and rainy day.

I was wearing flip flops.

Fortunately, I had a jacket with a hood in my car.

But I was still freezing.

I looked so out of place I got interviewed by Channel 7 News.

With the cold arctic wind blowing my hair all over the place, the reporter asked me what brought me out on this cold day to volunteer with City Team.

I responded, “It’s a great service that City Team is doing here – handing out over 3,000 turkeys to needy families for the holidays. I wanted to volunteer somewhere where I could make a difference and connect with people in need.”

“Were you prepared for the cold and the rain?” the reporter asked.

I laughed. “No, I was not. I’m wearing flip flops.” Cut to an image of my bare feet in flip flops. “I was going to go home but then I found a warm jacket in my car and I figured it was meant to be that I volunteer today.”

The cameraman took a few shots of my feet while I chatted with the reporter and then they left and I went back to slinging turkeys.

The experience was well worth the cold and the rain. To see the looks of appreciation on the faces of the families as I carried their turkeys to their cars for them, it really warmed my heart.

Next up – the Home Safe Holiday Party in Santa Clara where I work on crafts and serve food to battered women and children living in shelters.

Lots of need to fill this time of year.

Get out and volunteer (Volunteer Match is a great resource).

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Why I love (my) boobs (and it’s not what you think)

MichelleWhen Douglas died, the doctors told me that my milk wouldn’t come in because he was born too premature.

But of course they were wrong.

My ex husband and I were taking a trip to Yosemite to cope with our loss in the great outdoors when I made him stop at a store so I could buy a pump and relieve the pressure in my breasts.

My breasts felt like they were going to explode. You can’t imagine how good it felt to pump that milk out. They went back to feeling like normal breasts again.

But this started a cycle of milk production and all I could do was call up my local Mother’s Milk Bank and offer to donate my milk to their premature babies and children with short bowel syndrome.

Every week I delivered to them an entire case of bottles filled with milk.

Having lost my baby, all I could do was pump for these other unknown babies who needed it.

I stopped two months in because I found out I was pregnant again.

But at Christmas time, I got a card forwarded to me from one of the mothers whose child received my milk.

She thanked me for my valuable donation and generosity and said it made all the difference in her child’s medical care.

It was sweet.

To this day, I’m amazed that I did what I did. But I’m so proud that I did it.

I could write a post about breasts (and probably will) praising their shape and sexiness but in the end, what I admire most about my breasts is that I was able to donate and help out others.

Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

And the winners are…

volunteer-hands2The first three volunteer opportunities have been selected for my birthday present to myself:

  1. Abilities United – Volunteer to raise money for AU services by lending a hand with fundraising events. Responsibilities include set up, clean up, registration, parking assistance, and general duties.  I’m hostessing their Holiday party on December 17th.
  2. Soldiers’ Angels – Patient visits at the VA Hospital, stand downs with homeless veterans, guest services (mostly transportation related) and special event support.
  3. CityTeam – Food carrier who delivers 3,000 boxes of food to families in our community.  I am volunteering on November 24th.

Not a bad start to achieving my goal, which is to volunteer with 7 agencies before the end of the year.

One of my favorite volunteer opportunities was through my alma mater, Santa Clara University. I showed up to craft hour and helped battered women and their children living in shelters to create decorations and gifts for Christmas. Craft hour was followed by a nice dinner which everyone enjoyed. It was so heartening to see these brave women and their children making gifts for people in their families. They were fun to talk to and to work with. I even brought my boys and got to watch them have a good time working with the children.

It’s ironic that my reserves of love and happiness are most replenished when I’m giving to others with no expectation in return.

I consider myself lucky and if anyone wants to join me at a volunteer opportunity, just message me at michelle@unblunder.com.

Birthday Celebration, my style

hbdMy birthday is coming up in just over a week and this year I’m not doing anything to celebrate. At least not the traditional way.

No, this year I’d like to celebrate my birthday by volunteering with 7 different organizations.

Here are my options via Volunteer Match:

 

 

Help me out and vote for your favorites!  Tell me where I should volunteer.  You can also submit your own ideas if you have a favorite non-profit you like to support!

Cheers and an early HBD to me!