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!:

Charity Blog

Good News New England | January 17, 2021

Good news, New England! For those of you that have been following along, you’ve probably noticed a slight change in the positive newscast you’ve been seeing every week. After spending nearly a year perfecting the GNE brand, testing and re-testing segments, and working around COVID restrictions that have postponed most major charity events, I’m truly thrilled to share this pilot episode of Good News New England. (If you’re looking for previous episodes of Evenings With Emmalyn, don’t worry: those are still on here, too, and won’t be going anywhere! They are all a part of the journey that has lead us here today.)

Now, let’s get on with the (good) news! We’re starting in Boston today where Sudbury native and Marvel action star Chris Evans made a generous donation that made him a hero for many families in real life. After scoring $80,000 in prize winnings for coming in third place in the Marvel Avengers Fantasy Football league sponsored by FanDuel, the funds were sent directly to Christopher’s Haven in Boston. Christopher’s Haven is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting children battling cancer and their families by providing a warm place for them to stay as they travel to Boston for treatment.

Charity Blog

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.

Charity Blog

Evenings With Emmalyn: Episode 8

Thanks for watching Evenings With Emmalyn, a show dedicated to sharing good news and positive vibes featuring “The Positive 5” by motivational speaker JT of JT’s Chronicles, and a new #FreshLookFriday segment every week dedicated to ways you can bring those good vibes into your own home. If you like watching good news, please like this video & subscribe to this channel to stay up to date with the latest happy stories!

Charity Blog

Evenings With Emmalyn: Episode 7

Thanks for watching Evenings With Emmalyn, a show dedicated to sharing good news and positive vibes featuring “The Positive 5” by motivational speaker JT of JT’s Chronicles, and a new #FreshLookFriday segment every week dedicated to ways you can bring those good vibes into your own home.

Charity Blog

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!

Charity Blog

Evenings With Emmalyn: Episode 2

Featuring a local Cape Cod woman giving back to those who have been isolating for medical reasons with a fun outdoor activity, a Quincy Police Officer who surprised a local family with a very special pizza delivery, and of course your weekly motivation with JT’s Positive 5!

#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: Give Your Old Couch An Upgrade!

We’ve all had that one sofa we can’t possibly part with. Be it a family heirloom or just incredibly comfortable, sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of something that may no longer fit your updated style. The good news is: you don’t have to! There are inexpensive, easy way you can safely salvage any piece to brighten your room.

The first thing that comes to mind for so many of us when someone says “get a couch cover” are those uncomfortable plastic ones most of our grandparents had. I don’t blame you, we’re all scarred from that! The truth is though, couch covers have come a long way and are relatively inexpensive depending on where you look. My favorite place to get a new couch cover is Christmas Tree Shop!

Today, we’re highlighting a living room revamp I did a few months back with one of my best friends. The entire room was set to be done over navy and white with light pink accents, but there was just one problem: her favorite, most comfortable couch wouldn’t match her dream vision. While she had a larger navy couch on the way for a separate section of the room, she not only wanted to keep the extra seating but the piece had sentimental value for her. So, quickly we got to work in hunting down the perfect couch cover and accent pieces to go from cozy to chic!

We found this navy couch cover at Christmas Tree Shops, but you can also find similar ones online at Amazon. Next, we hit TJ Maxx & Homegoods to hunt down a white blanket and large matching throw pillow that were perfect accents to a navy, white and silver rug. Next, we added an accent table that matched perfectly she happened to have lying around…which leads me to my tip of the day: whenever you’re looking to refinish a room, the first step is to gather everything in your home or storage that matches in its color scheme and put it all together. See how it looks: does it match? Are you forcing it? If you are, then put it back. Yet you might be surprised to find if you start just by looking around your house what you’ll find that could piece a look together seamlessly! Take a look at the details below.

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.

Charity Blog

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