Charity Blog

GOOD NEWS NEW ENGLAND | Sunday, March 14th, 2021

As this week marked an incredibly odd one year anniversary of the Coronavirus lockdowns, I can’t think of a better way to reflect than to honor those who have used this time to give back to others and lift their spirits. That’s why this episode is jam-packed full of gifts for YOU: a chance to hang out with Tom Brady (because let’s be honest, we all miss the GOAT!), 20% off your purchase at a small business that is donating proceeds to help others, and giving a shout out to the Cape Cod man who brings the fun every Friday with virtual weekly dance parties.

HOW YOU CAN HANG OUT WITH TOM BRADY (AND GIVE TO HIS FAVORITE CHARITY!)

It was a hard pill to swallow nearly one year ago today when the GOAT left the Patriots. He hasn’t stopped giving back to his favorite New England charity, however, and is now offering the ultimate incentive for those who can to give, give, GIVE!

Brady partnered with giving giveaway site Omaze.com to offer up the chance for you and a friend to grab lunch with him, toss the ball around and even try on one of his Super Bowl rings! Flights and hotel for the winner & a friend are included, and proceeds will be going directly to benefit Best Buddies. Why did Brady choose this particular charity?

He’s actually been a long-time supporter of the cause and a buddy himself, and was a staple in the yearly Harvard Stadium Best Buddies Challenge. In 2019, he even roped in Julian Edelman & James White to join him on the field and at the exclusive afterparty where even renowned chef Guy Fieri was on hand to cook up culinary goodness. (Wondering what that looked like? Go inside the event I covered with the BosBabes in 2019 here!: The BosBabes: Best Buddies Challenge)

How much does it cost, you ask? Donations can range from $10-$100, designed to fit a range of budgets while offering additional entries to those who cough up a bit more cash for the cause. Ready to join in? Here’s the link!: Meet Tom Brady

MEET THE MERMAID BEHIND THE RISE UP DESIGNS

Chances are if you’ve recently been to Cape Cod, you’ve seen the (totally trending) Rise Up shirts floating around. You’ve probably been wondering what the meaning is behind the shirts, and on tonight’s episode we’ve got your answer! We sat down with Executive Mermaid Shari Assad-Aussant (aka “Shaz”) to learn the details behind the design (and it will probably make you tear up!).

“Rise up project started when I recognized that a lot of people on Cape Cod were losing their jobs. All of the fairs and festivals were closing down, all the little pop-ups were closing, and I wanted to be able to help,”” says Shaz, whose own small business had relied heavily on events like the Barnstable County Fair and local craft beer festivals where she met hundreds of other vendors like herself.

At a loss for how to help, Shaz sat down with her sketchbook and got to work doing what she does best: designing. “So it was probably 3 in the morning when I started drawing and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. The sun was rising and I thought, when the sun rises a friend of mine used to say ‘a tide rises all ships’. So I saw the sun, and I saw the water, and I just kept seeing the tide rising up and bringing all of us up at the same time.” Once she had sketched out her vision, she knew she’d found her way to help and came up with a plan to donate proceeds from her sales this line to local food pantries. The idea began to grow the moment she made her first call. “I made a couple of really cute designs and I called my favorite printer, Cape Cod Textiles, and he said, ‘Well, I wanna do one too for the men!”

While she hadn’t been sure what to expect, within hours Shaz received an overwhelming response from her Mermaid Tribe that quickly allowed her to donate the first check. “I have to be honest the first time it happened I cried, because within probably 3 hours we had over three thousand dollars in orders and that’s not something we normally see.” As the Cape Cod community continued to support the cause, Shaz found herself giving more than she’d ever expected. “The first check was for $5,000, then another check for $5,000 and then another check for $5,000, and pretty soon we were close to $25,000 in three months’ time,” she explained with a big smile on her face. Yet the humble designer didn’t want the credit: she wanted those receiving the generous donations to know exactly where the funds came from. “I always wrote on behalf of your community. We’re all in this together- nobody has left COVID unscathed. Nobody.”

Want to snag your own Rise Up gear? Use our code GOODNEWS to get 20% off your purchase while still giving to the cause! Link to shop: https://www.mermaidsoncapecod.com/search?q=rise+up

Charity Blog

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.