Charity Blog

GOOD NEWS NEW ENGLAND | MARCH 28, 2021

Happy weekend, everyone! Here is your positive news roundup from around New England for this week.

PAULIE’S PUSH FOR A PURPOSE

Paul Veneto poses with the beverage cart he’ll be pushing from Logan Airport to Ground Zero.

One former flight attendant is pushing a beverage cart from Logan Airport all the way to Ground Zero in New York City in honor of the flight crew that lost their lives 20 years ago on September 11th. The goal? To bring comfort to the loved ones of those lost and properly honor those who fought bravely on board. “The thought of a family member just being murdered on an airplane for the last 20 years, if I could erase that out of their head they could go to bed at night knowing they were heroes. They absolutely were heroes that day.”

“These are the first first responders,” explained Veneto, who as a former flight attendant himself knows firsthand the feeling of an emergency in the air. “You know when there’s trouble on board on airplane, no matter what it is, you can’t pick up the phone and call the police. You can’t call the fire department, you can’t call anybody. You gotta solve the problem up there, or else it’s over.”

Veneto says he has struggled every year on the anniversary of the attack with the loss of friends he now knows as heroes. His goal, 20 years later, is to make others aware of the sacrifice the brave men and women on board gave on that fateful day. “The crew that I knew on Flight 175, the one that hit the second tower, that plane is bank and almost misses the tower. And I swear deep down in my soul that they were trying to take that cockpit back, the crew. That’s where the country came together, right there, at 30,000 feet.”

With this thought continually in the back of his head, Veneto made the decision five years ago to begin training to bring his plan to life with that same goal in mind: comfort for the families, and honor for the crew. “If I have to push a beverage cart from Logan Airport Boston all the way to Ground Zero New York, then that’s what I’m gonna do.”

SEARCHING FOR STELLA: LOST DOG RETURNED HOME

It was a casual day working from home in the backyard for JR and his dog Stella when a delivery truck arrived. Anxious to protect her home, Stella leapt for the gate-and hit the latch just right to let the gate swing open.

JR and his beloved dog, Stella.

Frantic, JR attempted to bring Stella back inside. Yet she had quickly dashed after the truck down the street, and JR heard the devastating impact of his beloved dog being hit by a car. The driver stopped, but when he looked down she was nowhere to be found.

“That started a night of where we last thought she was, we searched.” After days of searching deterred by weather, JR was able to begin working with a tracking dog to help find Stella. That’s when he learned she had somehow been able to travel 8 miles while injured before her tracks began to cross. Determined to find her, JR continued the search efforts with the help of the his community who he credits with helping bring her home after nine difficult days. “I know a lot of people traveled down into the wilderness of Mashpee trying to find her, and I think that actually pushed her out of where she was.”

Thankfully, all of their hard work paid off. “It was Saturday night a little bit before seven and my phone rang. It was someone saying they found Stella!” he recalls excitedly. With her picture posted on several missing pets sites and JR updating her last known location by the tracker, someone had been able to recognize her when she turned up near a local kennel. “The woman said, ‘Are you missing this really sweet dog that’s hanging out in my kennel?’ and I said yes! Yes, I am!”

Though it was a long time apart, JR says he’s just happy to have her home. “Nine days later, we may never know what she did for those nine days. But I’m just so thankful and so grateful for everyone who helped.”

FALMOUTH ORGANIZATION HELPS BRING INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE

For many, the thought of asking for help can be a challenge. For one Falmouth organization, making life easier for others has already begun to erase that stigma.

“Our main goal is to try and fill in gaps of need in the community,” says Samantha Bauer of Inspiration is Everywhere. “People can come to us when they need help with anything. No matter what it is, there’s nothing too big or too small.” From help shoveling a driveway to sitting beside patients as they endure chemotherapy treatments, starting their own small food pantry and even creating an office space that offers alcohol-free open mic nights, Bauer says they try to meet every need brought to their attention. “We realize that, you know, there are a lot of really good non profit organizations out there, but not everyone qualifies for those services. There are people who fall between the cracks.”

From help with informational services to helping the elderly around the house, rides and even coordinating supply drives, every piece of the organization’s puzzle revolves around one goal: bringing the Falmouth community together to help one another wherever necessary. “If we can partner you with someone (or an organization) that can meet your needs that’s great, if not we use our community volunteers to fix whatever is wrong in your life.”

An Inspiration is Everywhere volunteer helping to organize drive supplies.

Right now, Bauer says their current focus is on providing luggage for local children that are between homes. “A lot of kids who get taken into DCF custody have to put their stuff into a trash bag. So we’ve been collecting duffel bags and backpacks for those kids so that they have their own luggage and they don’t have that sort of message that ‘you’re trash’.”

In realizing the needs of others, Bauer says their office has expanded. Today, Inspiration is Everywhere also hosts events such as paint/craft nights, open mic nights or concerts, and other events. Her goal? To help offer a safe place for those who are under 21 looking for a new outlet, those struggling to find affordable activities, or someone who actively trying to avoid drugs and alcohol. “I get it, we live in a tourist economy and we have to cater to, you know, where the money comes from. But the people who are here all year, the people who don’t fit that sort of economic mindset-they’re not just here to spend money, they’re working three jobs and they’re exhausted at the end of the day and struggling to be here and to just exist. Those people need support. Those people need to feel seen; they need to be accepted.”

To learn more about Inspiration is Everywhere, Paulie’s Push or to hear Stella’s story, watch the full episode below:

Charity Blog

GOOD NEWS NEW ENGLAND: SUNDAY, MARCH 21ST, 2021

Here’s your positive news roundup for Sunday, March 21st! Here are the highlights featured in this week’s episode (video link below!).

Imagine shotgunning a beer in the shower and using the excuse, “But it’s for charity!” This week, Kelsey Roth of Exhibit A Brewing in Framingham did exactly that- and it paid off to the tune of over a thousand dollars that all went to the Special Olympics. Great work, Kelsey!

Playing bingo with Rob Gronkowski and his (gorgeous) supermodel girlfriend Camille Kostek sounds like something you might think would be a weird dream, right? This week, it actually happened! The pair hosted a virtual bingo night to benefit Dana Farber & The Jimmy Fund. As you might imagine, it was a hit: all $65,000 raised went straight to charity.

Tired of tripping over old legos, or ready to purge your collection in a spring cleaning sweep? Let Lego themselves do the work of getting them in the hands of kids in need for you! Thanks to their Replay Program, you can now print out a shipping label, slap it on a box and send them back to the company who will do all the sanitizing & distributing for you. Where will they end up? Lego partners with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of Boston and Teach For America to make sure the blocks land in the right hands.

To hear all of these stories and more, watch this week’s episode of Good News New England below!

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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

Good News New England | Sunday, March 7th, 2021

While random acts of kindness happen every day all over the world, this week’s roundup features three people from Norwood, Abington and Falmouth that have gone above & beyond to bring smiles to strangers.

MAN CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF KINDNESS

Meet Deputy Chief John “Jack” Glynn of Abington Fire Department that was caught in the act of kindness after laying down as much cash as he could to cover coffee for patrons at a local Marylou’s. While he’d intended to stay anonymous and just enjoy watching the smiles he put on people’s faces from the background in memory of several people in his life he has lost, a friend in the shop sniffed him out as the culprit. His photo began to circulate on Facebook through an organization called Annie’s Kindness Blankets to which Glynn is very close, and it was revealed that he donated in honor of Anne Marie Varney, Alex Kokoros, and Sgt. Michael Chesna. When asked what inspired him, Glynn responded that sometimes it just plain feels good to see someone else smile. “With what I do for a living, you can see the worst of things,” he explained, “Through the darkness, you can see light if you look for it.”

KNITTING FOR A CAUSE

When two friends Lesley & Francey began knitting to pass the time at the start of quarantine, they never imagined one year later they would be dedicating entire rooms of their homes to store donated yarn. Yet once they began donating their plush pieces to veterans in need after an ask for help at Lesley’s temple, the pair found they couldn’t stop. “Then we decided, ‘Well, let’s do something for somewhere local’. Francey found a nursing home in Norton, and that’s when we began making the blankets and pouches that go on walkers,” explains Lesley. Yet they didn’t stop there – their mission is now expanding not only to include other care facilities, but knitting blankets for premature babies that are entering into foster homes. “The first time we went to drop stuff off at the nursing home, the Director of the nursing home actually cried,” says a smiling Francey. “It’s such a win-win-win. I mean, we clearly are winning it’s been our sanity through COVID. You know, we can sit for hours and do this, together and apart. For the people who donate, I think people feel really good about it; they feel like they’re participating and for the recipients, it’s also a huge win.” You go, girls!

To hear more about this week’s stories, tune in to Episode 8 below! What else is in store? Get your weekly motivation by JT who talks this week about helping and accepting help from those around you. I also have a #FreshLookFriday I’ve been SO EXCITED to share with you – it’s a living room before & after showing you how I decorated our space and the one tip I have for falling in love with any room in your home.

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Good News New England | January 31, 2021

Ever wonder where your money goes when you bid on a really that really sweet sports memorabilia through the Boston Red Sox Foundation? I’ve got your answer: the foundation recently announced their January 2021 grant recipients, and the well-rounded list of charities benefitting from all those generous donations is impressive. It touches on a number of different causes, including some you may never have heard of.

-Artists For Humanity: Provides paid employment in art & design for under-resourced teens with dreams.

Dignity Matters: Collects and distributes feminine hygiene & personal care items, ensuring they are allocated to those with the greatest need.

Support The Soupman: The Soupman brings not only soup to our homeless, but also provides warm clothing and everyday necessities.

Also this week: If you like Tito’s Vodka, you might be about to love them a little bit more (if that’s even possible!). This week, the well-known brand partnered with Chill Kitchen & Bar out in Marlborough, Massachusetts to donate one hundred meals to staff at UMass Memorial Marlborough Hospital. The effort was coordinated to thank the front line staff for all of their hard work throughout the pandemic.

Lastly, a community coming together has raised enough money to help cover medical expenses for AJ Quetta after the teen was seriously injured in a hockey tournament for Bishop Feehan High School. Quetta suffered a serious head injury during the January 26th game, and thanks to quick action just two days later the Greg Hill Foundation was able to put together a fundraiser to help his family through this unimaginable time. While the fundraiser had a goal of $10,000 the Greg Hill Foundation would match, they quickly surpassed that goal to provide the family with over $140,000 (as of the airing of this episode). Great giving work, guys!

To hear more about the stories and JT’s Positive 5 to motivate you for this week, catch the latest episode below!:

Charity Blog

Good News New England | January 24, 2021

There has been a whole lot of good going on this past week, with collaborations for charity happening across nearly every industry. From sports to fashion, fighting food insecurity to making dreams come true, here’s a roundup of positive news stories you might have missed.

You might know Kemba Walker for his mean moves on the court, but outside of the game he’s been teaming up with a company called Body Armor to give the Boys & Girl’s Club of Roxbury a much-appreciated makeover in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Just by using his leverage as an athlete to raise awareness, Walker has brought attention to the fact that the Yawkey Club could use a little love – and you can help. By just voting for the Boys & Girls Club of Boston in the competition (you can do so in the Body Armor link above), you’ll be helping Walker to create a happier space for local children to play in. Want to do more? They’re also accepting donations that will go directly to the cause.

Have you been wishing for some Kendra Scott in your life? Coming up on January 27th & 28th, you can grab a new look and give back at the same time through her partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts & Rhode Island. On January 27th at 6pm, the charity & company will collaborate through a virtual style and shop session highlighting the Make-A-Wish capsule collection. The session, hosted by wish recipient Gracie will discuss not only her personal experience with the foundation but also showcase some of Kendra Scott’s latest looks as you shop. To be sure your proceeds are going directly to the cause, make sure to use promo code GIVEBACK-0R8O while shopping on January 27th & 28th either online or in-store at Legacy Place.

Moved to action after watching students struggle with food insecurity during the pandemic, a Student Support Coordinator in Bridgewater named Christy came up with a plan to make sure no child went hungry. Today, her initiative has grown to a statewide program feeding any child up to age 18 that is missing the meals they would normally have if school was in session. The bright pink grab-and-go bags that boast the slogan “I love school meals” are free for pickup at various locations, so to find one near you (or, if you’re in the fortunate position to donate to the cause) visit projectbread.org/gethelp.

Looking for more on these stories or ready for some weekly motivation by JT’s Chronicles? Watch the full episode below!:

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Good News for Sunday, January 3rd, 2021 | Evenings With Emmalyn: Episode 10

Kick off 2021 with some GOOD news! The first week of 2021 has given us much to be grateful for and has already boasted both large and small acts of kindness that made a huge impact to their own local communities.

Let’s start on Martha’s Vineyard, where an anonymous customer that shops at both Cronig’s and Stop & Shop decided to pen a heartfelt letter thanking the grocery stores for continuing to be absolute lifelines for the small island even throughout the pandemic. The letter reads, “You have braved Covid to keep stores clean and safe, and shelves stocked to meet our needs…we could not live here without the tireless and courageous efforts of essential service workers like you.” Inside the letters handed directly to management at each store was a $100 bill for each of their employees, an act that one manager says brought his staff to tears. (Honestly, it kinda got me going, too!)

Across the pond in Falmouth, a mother of six has been busy trying to keep her children happy, healthy, and learning – a well known challenge many have experienced throughout this pandemic. Her solution? Tiana Gualtieri began creating “Play-Doh” boxes unique to each child, all fitting a different them. “Decorated dough makes homemade play doh kits that stimulate creative play. I include sensory items, crafts, and anything else to use your imagination,” she explains. After noticing how happy the activity made her own children, Gualtieri began reaching out to other parents who might be interested in boxes for their own children – and wound up connecting with local officials to help sponsor boxes for students. “Before the holidays as a Falmouth community, we were able to sponsor over 18 classrooms with individual play-doh activities,” says Gualtieri, who now says she’s looking forward to connecting with other parents and has opened the door for anyone who’d like to sponsor a box for a child to continue the trend.

Closer to Boston, the owner of Alba Restaurant in the seaside City of Quincy is celebrating his 30th year of living in America after working his way through the industry in Boston to finally open his own location. With this in mind as he approached the holiday season, owner Leo Kaka wanted to do something special to thank his employees for working so hard to keep his doors open during the pandemic. He did: to the tune of $30,000 in bonuses to his staff he was able to give after tallying up all the businesses’ gift card sales of the season.

To learn more about these stories or hear JT’s motivational message for this week on JT’s Positive 5, watch the full episode below! Be sure to like & subscribe to “Evenings With Emmalyn” to automatically get good news alerts every week.

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Evenings With Emmalyn: Episode 6

Latest episode is now up on YouTube featuring JT’s Chronicles and some good news from Food Baskets MV, Boston Bruins Foundation & more!