Who’s up for a challenge you can do from your couch?! Everyone? Okay, good.

Let’s start by introducing you to David, the Founder of DocPPE that launched an incredible new startup in response to the need of extra masks not only on our front lines, but in our communities. A software developer for 20 years who has founded his own companies and attended law school, David was inspired by his wife who witnessed the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) herself working as a physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. As she continuously shared her concerns, David being an entrepreneur himself felt compelled to do something.

“From start to finish, we’ve been doing this for four weeks. I had the first design done in 4 days, tested within five.” David’s team, which consists of several family members, friends & manufacturers, also includes his wife: she donated her two weeks’ vacation time to devote it instead to getting the necessary supplies out as quickly as possible. “We’re working night and day to get these things out,” he explains. “My wife is a great woman and donated her vacation time to make masks. I don’t know how you get much better than that, to be honest.”

An American-made product with a facility right at home in Boston, David says he’s been taking calls constantly. “It’s crazy because we have a live chat on the site so it comes to me directly. I’m the one who answers, I’m the one who’s there and people are like: Are you real? Ae you in America? Is this a real thing?” The skepticism, he says, is understood. “Because everybody buys this stuff online and they’re not getting it, they want that assurance that they’re actually going to get what they pay for.” To ease concerns, David has taken to giving out his personal cell phone number. “We’re for the people, by the people.”

So, what’s this challenge we’re talking about? If you are able to donate anything from $5-$500 (of course, more is always welcomed!), David will match that donation of masks to go to either front line workers or Navajo Nation, who do not have access to PPE. “If you donate 500, we’ll match it with another 500. When friends start sharing with friends making this a competition to get it to healthcare workers on the front lines.” The response so far, he says, has been overwhelming as they have partnered with Blue Sky Entertainment to get well-known athletes like Andrew Raycroft & Charlie Coyle to show their support. “Everybody’s starting to come out and they want to help. It’s so nice to see the communities, the personalities and different celebrities come out and want to help people.”

So far, DocPPE has been able to donate supplies to Boston hospitals such as South Shore, Beth Israel, and Mass General Hospital. Want to join in and help? Donate here and challenge a friend to do the same!: https://docppe.com/donations/

Mermaids on Cape Cod: How A Cape Cod Artist Is Using Her Talent To Help Feed Fellow Residents

Mermaids on Cape Cod: How A Cape Cod Artist Is Using Her Talent To Help Feed Fellow Residents

CAPE COD, MA- With all of the heartwarming stories coming to the forefront these days, it’s not rare for me to tear up a time or two at hearing how so many local heroes are stepping up to help their neighbors. It is, however, rare for me to do so several times in just one call. That’s what happened when I spoke with Shari, “Chief Executive Mermaid” behind Mermaids on Cape Cod. Getting to know Shari over the years as we bumped into each other at local festivals, the “Mermaid Truck” gal always had the cutest setup of all the vendors. Her mobile truck, set up so anyone could hop on and shop great local outfits, jewelry and accessories always had me leaving with something!

Mermaids on Cape Cod Founder & Chief Executive Mermaid, Shari.

Yet in talking with her this week, I saw another side of Shari I had never seen before. Instead of being her laughing, contagiously bubbly self, she was heartbroken for her fellow artists and fiercely determined to make waves of change. “In March, I was at the Boston Flower Show and they were closing it and packing up due to the virus. They had said they weren’t going to close, but turnout was so low and things were just starting to happen, so they had to. Everybody was crying and having a tough time, and that’s not usually what the vibe is there. It was very dark and sad, and I couldn’t fathom what this would be like,” she explained. “The woman next to me looked at all her stuff and realized she didn’t have another event to go for four months, and all of her creations that she’d worked so hard on were perishable. We looked at each other and said, ‘What are we going to do?’ and I said, ‘I’m going to figure this out.’

After going home and racking her brain of how she could help those that just lost their entire livelihood all night, Shari said she remembers seeing the sun rise the next morning was suddenly inspired. “I saw sunrise with the trees and just said to myself, ‘I need to rise up.’ I started drawing rough waves, the sun rising up, the waves rising up, and realized in this distressing time we need to create some joy and rise up together.” After watching many of the funds created for such smaller local artists going to larger corporations, Shari knew what she had to do. “I’m going to raise some money. And it’s not going to be for big companies or big organizations.”

Quickly, Shari began reaching out to local organizations to guide her in her mission and fellow artists responded. “Steve at Cape Cod Textile, he came in and said, ‘Let me design something and if you sell them, I’ll just give them to you so all the money can go where it needs to.’ The Cape Cod design was him.” Pointing to a long sleeve shirt and sweatshirt in our Zoom call (which she’d tied together to hold hands and I’m not crying, you’re crying), she explained that the 15 stars on the flag design were placed to represent each of the towns on Cape Cod where in each, local artists reside. How have the sales been?

“I’ve cried a lot in gratitude,” Shari admits. “We’re shipping 500 pieces a week, which is stressful as well as keeping my business afloat working till 10-11pm at night and waking up at 7am. But with every package, I say thank you to the customer and thank you to God.” The humble artists refuses to take most of the credit, however. “This is from our community, your community, not us. The money is just from them,” she explains of how the funds from each purchase go directly towards local food banks in Sandwich & along the South Shore. “$500 keeps the food pantry alive for the community. If you give them $1, they can go to the Boston Food Bank and get 20 cans of corns to stock the shelves here. So far, we donated $1000.”

Want to help be part of the effort and grab some custom-made Rise Up swag yourself? Visit the Mermaids on Cape Cod website at https://www.mermaidsoncapecod.com/ and check out Shari’s full video interview below.

Headbands for Heroes: Local Business Owner Helps Those Who Help Us

Headbands for Heroes: Local Business Owner Helps Those Who Help Us

BOSTON- When Shop The Cue owner Lindsay Reilly watched a heartbreaking video of a New York nurse taking off her mask to reveal raw and bleeding her ears after wearing protective equipment all day long, she knew she had to do something to help. As Reilly saw the nurse fashion a homemade headband after a long, 12 hour shift, she had one thought. “There was a nurse spending their time when they get home after a 12 hour shift to put buttons on a headband to solve their problems. We should be able to do that, especially since I had a sewing background and a sewing machine,” explains Reilly.

Quickly, Reilly and her team at Shop The Cue got to work on headbands that could be used to protect the ears of those wearing masks by holding them together with buttons. “We had such a powerful network platform, I just asked myself: How can we use that to make a difference in the most impactful way with these headbands?” Once the word of her good work got out, the response grew overwhelmingly as nearly 600 orders flew in within a matter of days. Despite the positive reaction, this meant a bit of a struggle for Reilly. “I’d order fabric or buttons and it wasn’t coming as expected so the need got bigger. We got bombarded with orders,” she explains. It didn’t take long for the shop owner to realize she was going to need an extra hand in getting them together. “There was no way we could keep up.”

As a small business, Lindsay says it’s been a whole new ball game working in a situation where the products are newly developed and an immediate need. “Normally, you develop a product, market it, produce it and we have time to do that. In this case, one of my girls is going through all of the emails of people who are really in crucial need of these.” Watching the order numbers go up as their material stock and the ability to fulfill orders quickly went down, Shop The Cue’s network made a plea for help on social media that brought in an outpouring of support from the community. “Everyone in the community reached out, small businesses or friendly neighbors or Cue supporters to help build kits. We created kits for people to pick up on the curbside to help sew them within a matter of days.” One gentleman named Chris of Custom Sports Sleeves in Worcester approached Lindsay and her team with a generous offer that would help her not only reach her goal to fill current orders, but keep production going strong for the new ones flowing in. “He said ‘Hey, I have the material, we’re local and we can do this for you in a day. What do you think?’ Immediately I just said ‘You are an angel, and yes!'” Other businesses like Christa Hagearty of Dependable Cleaners and a local salon owner in Quincy also stepped up to help out. “It’s really the small businesses that are coming together, and that’s where the impact that’s being made the most.”

Looking closely at every order coming in, she began to notice urgent requests for headbands are now coming from outside the healthcare field as well. “The last few days, I would say we’re noticing that it’s not just the nurses. We’re having people from police stations, a local bakery who needed headbands baking all week for Easter weekend, we have one restaurant that just bought 50 of them because workers for takeout are wearing the masks as well.”

Yet the response from those that have received their headbands reminds her every day that their hard work is worth every minute. “They send us before and afters of their ears of how much it was helping them, how they love seeing the small businesses come together. It’s the little things, and being a small business I can see if there is any sort of problem and fix it that day.” The only problem Lindsay says she’s encountered: trying to get to everyone as quickly as she can, without those in the most dire need paying a dime. “We’ve had to do completed -or not completed-at least 2,000 headbands just after week one,” she explained. “We have a fund that people donated to so nurses don’t spend a dollar, but if you’re reaching out to buy one for a friend or family member you can do that as well.”

Are you or is someone you love in need of a headband? Head on over to Shop The Cue to get yours or request one for a front-line worker here: https://shopthecue.com/collections/giveback

Irish Hearts Gala Takes On New Form In 2020

Hey..do you have any plans this weekend?

These are the words I feel like we’ve ALL been waiting to hear for so long, and this weekend I mean it when I say I want you to get dressed up and do something FUN with me!

Truthfully, it’s been difficult watching so many amazing events be postponed or cancelled. Lucky for us, one foundation found a way to both keep its patrons safe AND keep the party going! The Irish Hearts 11th Annual Benefit Gala has moved to a virtual celebration where you can pour yourself a cup of Irish Tea (or champagne!) and join in a live auction from home just by listening over the air at WROLradio.com on Sunday, April 19th from 1-2pm. Prizes include a trip to Ireland, private tour of the MFA, signed Red Sox memorabilia, and so much more! To qualify for the live drawing, text IRISHHEARTS to 41444 to get your raffle tickets. If you prefer a silent auction, you can also enter that as well by heading over to Charityauction.bid/irishhearts.

What is the Irish Hearts Foundation? Started in 2010 by the Irish community in Boston in response to the devastation left behind by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti, the foundation is committed to “transforming the lives of vulnerable children in Latin America and the Caribbean by supporting their homes, health services and educational programs”. On Sunday, you’ll get to hear from Alexis, a special guest speaker who will be sharing his story over the airwaves of how programs like Irish Hearts have helped him become the person he is today.

While of course we’d all prefer to be attending the gala in person, I would still LOVE to see your formalwear looks from home! Tune in with me this Sunday for the special event, and if you do post a picture of yourself all dressed up for the occasion please tag me @realemmalynreid to help raise awareness for this amazing cause.

Check out this video to learn more!

Helping From Home: Miss Pink Organization Asks For Cards

It’s the reason why places like Hallmark make so much money: a simple card is a quick and easy way to say everything from I love you, to happy birthday, or even just a ‘Hey, I’m thinking of you.’ The thing we forget from time to time as we rush between soccer practices and parties or back and forth to the grocery store for toilet paper is that ultimately, it’s the thought that counts. Which is why I’m encouraging you to grab whatever you have on hand regardless of if that is a stack of blank cards, construction paper and markers, the whole family or a friend over FaceTime to get started on making someone’s day just a little bit brighter.

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, we all know that people around the world are struggling in many different ways. At the Miss Pink Organization, they understand the everyday struggle of those who have had or are currently battling cancer to both avoid the virus at all costs to protect their weakened immune systems while still receiving chemotherapy treatments. “Right now, anybody going to a hospital to have chemotherapy or anything relating to fighting cancer- you’re going in by yourself. Most of the time that’s a 5, 6, 7, 8 hour day hooked up to a machine. At this point, I don’t even know if they’re letting them walk around in the hospital. They’re just there with nobody to hold their hand, nobody to talk to,” says Fabianna Marie, Director of Pink Warrior Relations & Miss Pink 2017 who is a survivor herself. What originally started as an idea to set up a team to FaceTime the warriors blossomed into a major mission: collecting handwritten cards from as many people as possible to help bring a smile to those going through treatment. Fabianna told me about one of the warriors she recently spoke to, and why she believes these cards will make such a big impact. “She’s 28 years old with a one year old child. When she was going for her infusion she was all alone. For her, me FaceTiming helped- it just made the difference between sitting there and feeling so bad for yourself hooked up to a machine where you know you’re going to be sick afterwards and then let’s put the pandemic on top of it all.”

The pandemic has added a never-before-seen level of stress for many of the warriors Fabianna has gotten to know through the Miss Pink organization, including herself. “When someone is immunocompromised, it changes everything,” she explains. “You don’t look immunocompromised on the outside, so nobody understands that I’m still going through it if I go outside the house. It’s a huge deal to stay home and be proactive with your own health when lot of people aren’t worried that .” Her own family has had some very difficult decisions to make in recent weeks. “My husband has been a Boston foreman on a construction site, and was the only one going outside the house. His major concern was, nobody else could bring (the virus) into our home other than him. So for him, it was the push and pull of: Do I go to my job and make money for my family, or do I stay home and take that worry off our plate? Until the government put that ban into place, he had planned to tell his boss that he would prefer to be laid off. He was scared,” she admits. Yet through this struggle, Fabianna is well aware that she is far from alone. “Anybody that’s going through that, we’re all scared. There is no other way to put it because we don’t know about tomorrow. We don’t know where this is going at this point.”

HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: There IS something you can do about it! Just making a card with sweet notes of encouragement can bring a moment of peace to those who need it most. It’s a simple action that can not only help you pass the time during your quarantine (BIG SHOUT OUT TO YOU if you are staying home to protect others!!!!) but also serve as a fun activity to do with the kids, your significant other, or your best friends over video chat. If you have a bit extra to spare, you can even go the extra mile of chipping in a gas or grocery card for your warriors to help them make it through this time financially as well.

To see mine, check out the video I made below! (Please be kind as I test out a new editing tool this week working solely from my smartphone.):

More about The Miss Pink Organization: Our mission is to relieve stress of the financial burden that can occur during cancer treatment. This can be due to leave of absence from work, lost income or fixed income. We offer support through meals, childcare, cleaning services, gas and grocery cards, and other special circumstances that can interrupt the effectiveness of treatment on a case by case basis. 

Their Turn To Give: Assabet Valley Technical High School Donates Unused Supplies To Healthcare Professionals

A table of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) at Assabet Valley is ready to be donated to local healthcare facilities.

MARLBOROUGH- With schools officially closed until at the earilest April 7th, Assabet Valley Technical High School Principal Mark Hollick found something while he was walking the empty halls of his school: an abundance of unused, brand new personal protective resources in a time where his community-like many others- is in need. “Everybody is calling for gloves, face shields, N-95 masks, so we just did a basic inventory of what we have. We’re out of school for at least three weeks, and have a number of programs including Health Technology and a Licensed Practical Nursing programs. In that, obviously, they have lessons and do all kinds of practical applications and scenarios where they have to wear this protective equipment. So we knew that we had some equipment in the building, and even in other areas that I didn’t even think about but made sense: Auto Collision, Auto Technology, and in Culinary Arts for rubber gloves.”   

​​Jumping into action, Hollick sent a message to his staff to see how they could help get their resources out to the local community. “I put out a message to all our staff members-we’ve had staff working from home and as our maintenance team has been cleaning the building room by room- so under their direction, I’ve been going in with a cart and collecting all of the supplies we can donate.” Thanks to their help, Hollick was able to locate enough resources to make sizable donations to both Coleman House in Northborough and Marlborough Hospital. “At the end of this, we anticipate that we will have donated 12,000 protective gloves, 95 of the N-95 masks, 120 pairs of eye protection, 200 medical gowns, and 200 other face masks,” says Hollick. “We know these facilities have been asking for them so it’s really just getting to the needs of all the different local partnerships we have in our local community.” 

Boxes of supplies en route from Assabet Valley Tech to Coleman House in Northborough.

Assabet Valley’s 20-year relationship with The Coleman House, an elder care facility in Northborough where students have been doing clinical hours, was the first to receive a major donation. “When Kathy Reagan (of Assabet Valley) made that donation, what she described to me was Patrick (of Coleman House) was almost in tears because of the generosity,” says Hollick. “They’ve done so much for us, and this is a time where we can give back a little bit.”

On Wednesday morning, the high school plans to donate a second round of supplies to Marlborough Hospital. “It’s the overall Assabet spirit to rise to the occasion when the community calls out for something. We always try to the best of our ability to  be a good neighbor, and a good partner in the community.”

Caring Amidst The Chaos: Daddy Jones’ Bar Delivers Meals To Those In Need

SOMERVILLE-On Friday afternoon as concerns of the Coronavirus outbreak plunged the nation into a global pandemic, Dimitra Tsourianis of Daddy Jones’ Bar in Somerville knew she had to make an incredibly difficult decision. “I looked at my staff and I said, ‘Guys, I don’t see how we should be open when we’re supposed to be practicing social distancing.’ I just don’t feel right asking anybody to work,” Dimitra explained. While the formal closing of all bars and restaurants had yet to happen, she truly knew it was the right thing to do-and began encouraging her staff to seek unemployment as she was able to keep on only two workers on to help run a takeout window.

Dimitra Tsourianis

As Dimitra encouraged her employees to stay home and closed her own restaurant to protect others, the mother to two young children and daughter to elderly parents noticed not only an immediate need in her local community. “If someone loses their job for three weeks-or even longer-there will be a trickle down effect and we don’t know how long that will last,” she explained, taking notice as cafeterias closed to students and concerns rose for the elderly in leaving their homes to get to the grocery store. That’s when she knew it was time to put her remaining staff to work in a different way. “People are going to need food, and we can provide food. Let’s connect the two and bring food to those otherwise wouldn’t have it.”

Meals prepared at Daddy Jones Bar. Photo courtesy Dimitra Tsourianis

Dimitra immediately started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to purchase cover the labor, food and containers for dinners to be donated to families in need via a unique delivery system that operates without any immediate contact. “The hard part was, how can I help others but not be near them? It’s a new way of thinking,” she explains, which is a struggle all too real to many. The best way she found was through an app many of us use every day: Instagram. “If someone sends us a message on our Instagram DM’s, we add them to a list. We prepare all the meals for the household, the driver will drop the bag off with an alcohol wipe outside their door and we message them back on Instagram when it’s outside,” she explains of the system that has helped make over 45 meals for others. From graduate students to parents of young children, donations of just over $10,000 have poured in to help Dimitra and her staff. On top of that, many other healthy people have stepped up to offering to help deliver food should they receive more orders than they can both make and deliver with such a short staff.

Photo courtesy Dimitra Tsourianis

While it’s certainly a new era that Dimitra believes has changed many in the restaurant industry for life, she is committed to doing everything she can to help others during this time of crisis, offering 50% off all takeout orders for anyone in the restaurant industry or free delivered meals if they are quarantined. “As a parent, I think, what do people need? How can we be stronger through this? It all comes back to needing a sense of community,” she says. “I’ve been open for 8 years in November, and I’ve had that love for all of these years. All I can do now is give it back.”

If you or someone you love is in need of food, they can sign up for the meal list by reaching out to @daddyjonesbar on Instagram:

If you are able to help, please consider donating to Dimitra’s cause on GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/feed-students-through-somerville-restaurants

Making A Splash: Special Olympics MA Hosts Polar Plunge Challenge At Exhibit A Brewery

FRAMINGHAM- “Ladies first,” my oh-so-gentlemanly husband said with a smile as we stepped up to the edge of the pool at Exhibit A Brewery in Framingham. A frigid 46 degrees outside, there are very few reasons why I might be about to jump into a pool filled with cold water. Yet watching so many others go before me and knowing the reason why we were all there, I had put on my (pink) big girl leggings prepared to make a splash…literally!

Raising one hand and holding my nose, I jumped in knowing the funds that each team raised at the day’s Polar Plunge Challenge were going to benefit the Special Olympics of Massachusetts. It’s a cause that is close to the heart for Kelsey Roth, General Manager of Exhibit A Brewing in Framingham, who explained how he began volunteering with the organization just last year at their summer games and was inspired to bring the Polar Plunge Challenge to his own backyard. “I was just blown away by what they do to help people with intellectual disabilities and create such a great environment for them. So often, people who have intellectual disabilities are always focused on the things they CAN’T do. But for the time that they’re out there doing these activities, it’s really focused on what they CAN do that day and for those people, it’s a life changing moment.”

Thanks to the combined efforts Kelsey, Exhibit A’s Head Brewer Matt Steinberg and just over 50 fellow plungers, Fundraising and Events Coordinator for the Special Olympics Meghan O’Neil reported $8,500 was raised. “This goes towards the venues, athletes’ uniforms, equipment, lift tickets for skiers, things like that,” she explained. “This helps them focus on competing and having fun and meeting new people, so we’re really excited for the support that comes from the community.”

Also contributing to the plunge in a more unique way was a company called The Spa Wagon, a mobile sauna with an inside temperature of 190 degrees. As someone who is notoriously known for always being cold (I will always be #teamsummer), this caught my attention INSTANTLY and I just had to learn more about the fact that yes, you can actually have your own personal sauna brought virtually anywhere a truck & trailer could fit. “Originally, we’re from the Ukraine and it’s part of our culture since we were kids to go to saunas and try to get some quality heat. That’s one of the things that we were missing here, so we try to bring that culture here and give it to the public,” says Klim Gotovkin, who donated part of the day’s proceeds directly to Special Olympics MA. Of course, I had to go inside myself and check it out-and it did not disappoint! With steam billowing out each time you opened the door, it was a perfect way for those dressed for summer to get some much-needed warmth after the chilly dip.

Outside, the beer garden featured Exhibit A crowd favorites like the Cat’s Meow, Demo Tapes, and Goody Two Shoes. Inside, more craft options were on tap to pair with food from local restaurants to keep plungers warm (like the delicious Shepherd’s Pie made by Red Heat Tavern that I may or may not have had several mini-cups of. You know, because they’re mini, so no calories, right?!). The brewery’s presentation didn’t disappoint: those who participated in the challenge were invited to dine under perfectly hung string lights at a buffet set up alongside the giant tanks and canning line to make for a unique dining experience. Bummed you missed out? Not to worry-Exhibit A is known for hosting several shindigs throughout the year in the same setting, so just keep an eye on their website for the next upcoming event.

Want to see for yourself how much fun you can have giving back at their next event? Check out my vlog post below-don’t forget to hit SUBSCRIBE while you’re there! 🙂 To join in the next plunge, sign up for the next Special Olympics MA Polar Plunge on their website at: https://www.specialolympicsma.org/events/fundraising-events/polar-plunge/

Life’s A Beach

FALMOUTH- Growing up on Cape Cod, I’ve certainly been no stranger to Dino’s Sports Bar in Mashpee. Known for their delicious pizza, great music and lively atmosphere (including an AWESOME patio in the summertime), it came to me as no surprise when Mary Ann Singersen, President of the ALS Family Charitable Foundation, told me how Dino himself made sure they had the perfect location for their “Life’s A Beach” fundraiser.

“I came up with this years ago, I actually wanted to do a winter beach fundraiser ON the beach,” she explained of how her Caribbean-themed vision came to be. “But the expense of that was too much.” With the weather being 38 degrees the night of the annual bash, that would have certainly been while beautiful, a bit chilly. Yet inside Dino’s Sports Bar that Saturday night in Mashpee, nothing could have felt more like summer. Tropical drinks, leis nearly everywhere, straw “cabana” style tables, and a summer bbq-style buffet line inspired nearly every guest in the room to dress appropriately. The dance floor was truly a sea of Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses, and Lilly Pulitzer dresses as partygoers danced the night away to the sound of The Baha Brothers. It’s events like these that help the ALS Family Foundation continue their work of supporting local families as they fight their battle with ALS. “We’ve been doing this for 19 years, and helping families all along the way,” says Mary Ann. “We do things like we have a vacation fund, so we send families what often times is their last vacation together,” she explains, including how for one patient, the fund was flexible enough with each individual family’s needs to be used for a daughter to fly to visit her father who is currently battling with ALS since he is not able to travel to see her.

Focusing on the specific needs of the entire family is something that holds the utmost importance to Mary Ann. “We have a scholarship fund so we help kids of ALS families go off to college, we have a children’s program where we send out gift cards for Christmas time and for back to school shopping.” Why focus on the children, you might ask? “This is a very, very expensive disease. So the kids, many times, their needs tend to fall through the cracks a bit. We pay for summer camps, we pay for dance camps..we even have a respite program that gives the caregivers a chance to breathe,” explaining that at times the strain of ALS can be similarly hard on the caregiver as it can be for the patient. With the “Getaway For A Day” program, the foundation brings in a respite worker for a day so a caregiver can go to the spa for the day-all expenses paid.

I spoke with one local family, the Lawrences, who now attend every event they can to give back to the very foundation that once helped them in their great time of need. “The money doesn’t just go to research. It goes back to the families,” says Zach Lawrence. “They have hospital furniture lease programs if you need a wheelchair or a shower chair,” he explains. As a child, Zach Lawrence and his brothers were the recipients of several donations from the foundation including Celtics tickets, gift cards, and other experiences their mother Ann says helped them to have a sense of normalcy through what otherwise was a challenging time for the family. “When my husband was first diagnosed with ALS, friends of us found this little gem for us,” she explains.

Sadly, Ann’s husband passed away three years into his battle. Yet throughout the fight, the family was grateful for opportunities provided to them through the ALS Family Foundation that helped them through.”When they were younger they got to go to the Celtics game, they got to be regular children. When there wasn’t a normalcy in the family, that was a day for them to be normal children. So it was very beneficial for them to be around other children going through the same thing,” says Ann, as her family now continues on to help others.

Nights out like these are proof that giving back to others doesn’t have to be tiring or expensive. In fact, it can just plain be fun! For just $30 at the door (at a place where let’s face it, you would TOTALLY spend $30 on pizza and your beverage of choice anyways), you not only had access to their buffet, but also a conga line, limbo contest, and the chance to win raffle prizes like Stephen Gilmore & James White shirts or a Samsung Galaxy tablet, or a YellowTail cooler & beach umbrella.

Want to get involved in their next event? See what it’s like inside ALS Family Foundation Fundraisers in my vlog below, and check out their website https://alsfamily.org/ to get into their next event early!

Cape Cod Police K9 Fundraiser: Warm Hearts Support Cold Noses

YARMOUTH- When I was young, I remember being taught that “to be on time, is to be late”. While some days being ‘on time’ can be easier than others for all of us, the moment I turned the corner into The Yarmouth House parking lot for the Cape Cod Police K9 Fundraiser that lesson was staring me straight in the face. I realized that while the event may have had only minutes before it began, it was already a challenge to find a parking space: something that I believe speaks to just how strongly supported the organization is.

This comes as no surprise, however. From the day that I first met Joe for lunch at a local Panera Bread, his passion for his mission was crystal clear to support local K9 officers & their partners. “I know firsthand because I was a handler, the dogs will give their life for the handler. I think they need 3-4 years to retire and be a dog again, but when the dogs retire the departments won’t pay for them anymore. So my foundation, the vet sends us the bill and we pay the vet bills,” he explains, remembering the moment he first realized he wanted to take on the task of helping others to keep their retired partners healthy. “I think I woke up at two in the morning with this idea wanting to start a 501c3,” he says, chuckling. Yet the work he’s been able to accomplish is no joke, and Ambrosini says he feels fortunate to continue to receive such overwhelming support that helps make his dream of caring for others a reality. “One year, I skipped (the event) because I felt bad for all the people donating to us. Then I was getting phone calls, asking me, ‘Why didn’t you call us?’ I said, ‘I was trying to give you a break!’ and they said ‘No. There are some foundations we give to, and you’re one of them’.”

One of those sponsors is Joseph Carr of Josh Wines, a local Dennis resident himself that travels back and forth from Cape Cod to California to produce his well-known label. “He came in, introduced himself-I didn’t know who he was-he brought this big bottle of wine and he said, ‘I want you to have this and use this in the raffle. I’m going to California, when I come back I’ll get ahold of you-I want to help you with your foundation,” A Cape Cod resident himself, Joseph Carr has continued come back every year since. This year, Carr brought with him the number one selling wine in the country: Josh Cabernet Sauvignon. As he signed bottles, he answered the burning question I’ve had for a long time as a Josh wine drinker myself: Who is Josh? “Josh is a brand that was dedicated to my late father, he was a lumberjack in Vermont,” Carr explained. “That was his nickname-his real name was Joe, but he used to race stock cars and had a bunch of guys that would call him Josh,” Carr said with a smile.

Why does Carr continue to donate to the Cape Cod Police K9 Relief Fund? With several uncles having served on the force, Carr understands just how much of a toll it can take on both humans and their K-9 partners. Talking with Ambrosini, we learned there are currently 14 dogs currently being cared for with the help of the foundation. “Just recently, from the town of Yarmouth’ an officer’s dog ate a towel and he didn’t digest it, so they had to go in and get it. That was roughly $4,000, and if you have a dog-or any kind of animal-if you have to bring them to the vet, it’s not cheap,” says Ambrosini.

Want to learn more about the Cape Cod Police K9 Relief fund or get on board for their next event? Visit their website at: https://capecodpolicek9.org/ and make sure you check out the video below!