Chicken of the Sea Celebrates #100YearsOfGood In A BIG Way! @COSMermaid – With $1000 #Giveaway

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This post is brought to you by Chicken of the Sea. Please note that as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Chicken of the Sea 100 Years of Good

My parents are both very active in supporting different causes. My father is very involved in supporting veterans through the Sons of the American Legion. He hosts a watchfire every year to remind people that there are still soldiers waiting to come home – our POW/MIAs. I was raised to be kind and to be good to others. I didn’t really have to be taught to be kind, because I watched them do it. At a young age I developed an interest in people with disabilities, helping an organization called Hand in Hand. After my son was born I still wanted to help others, but chose to head off in a direction of my own. The birth of my youngest son left me painfully aware of a void within our community. As a result, I founded a nonprofit organization supporting people with Down syndrome and their families. It is the only organization of its kind in our county. It is tireless, hard work that I do entirely out of love and necessity. I don’t make money from it, it actually costs me money. And I don’t consider it a job. I consider it a very important cause and a labor of love. Running the organization, and handling all of its functions like fundraising, outreach, publicity – it’s all hard work. But it’s worth every drop of sweat and every tear. It really does make you feel good to do good. It’s my way of giving back to my community. I also figure if I want the world to be a better place I have to help it get there. One person can make a difference, even if that difference is only telling one other person.

I love to see companies doing good in communities, and giving back. I especially love it when those companies are companies whose products I already buy. Chicken of the Sea is a product that you will almost always find in our kitchen. My youngest absolutely loves tuna fish. He could eat it every single day, seriously. I couldn’t help but smile when I learned that Chicken of the Sea, who’s been around for 100 years, has kicked off a huge celebration and campaign to give back. How big? BIG! They are investing $1 million in individuals who do good in their communities!

I’m sure you know who Chicken of the Sea is. They are a leading provider of packaged, sustainable seafood, offering a robust product line, fabulous recipes, and more for seafood fans. No doubt you’ve seen them in the grocery store, they’re the ones with the mermaid on the cans. You can’t miss them. That mermaid sure has changed over the years. Take a look.

Chicken of the Sea Is Celebrating 100 Years of Good In A BIG Way! #100YearsOfGood

After all this time, she looks better now then ever, don’t you think! But, everyone calls her “the mermaid”. That’s not right. Someone 100 years old ought to be called by her name, don’t you agree? So now when you see her, please call her Catalina.

Chicken of the Sea Is Celebrating 100 Years of Good In A BIG Way! #100YearsOfGood

The mermaid finally received an official name as part of a contest that recently closed. Her name, Catalina, was officially revealed when the Great American Gratitude Tour kicked off last week.

Chicken of the Sea Is Celebrating 100 Years of Good In A BIG Way! #100YearsOfGood

As a celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2014, the Chicken of the Sea Great American Gratitude Tour will visit local communities throughout the country from March 6 – September 8 to thank Americans for making it a mealtime staple for a Century. In all, the famous brand will present 100 $10,000 Gratitude Awards – and then personally honor many of the recipients right in their hometowns during the 39-city, coast-to-coast Tour.

Chicken of the Sea Is Celebrating 100 Years of Good In A BIG Way! #100YearsOfGood

What an awesome way to empower people out there doing good to continue doing good! Nominations are accepted for the Great American Gratitude honorees who will receive $10,000! You can nominate someone by clicking here. You can nominate a person or nonprofit.

Chicken of the Sea Is Celebrating 100 Years of Good In A BIG Way! #100YearsOfGood

The tour will be stopping in 39 US cities. At each tour stop, the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid (newly resurrected since her singing debut in 1952) will emerge from her specially outfitted vintage Airstream to take pictures with the public; distribute coupons, autographs and other free giveaways; offer Mermaid tattoos for the kids; and provide healthy-eating tips. Participants can also receive special commemorative coins that offer the chance to win $10,000 instantly.

The tour launched last week in San Diego. I’m hoping it will come to my area, I’d love to have my picture taken with the Mermaid! Right now it’s on the West coast.

Seattle/Tacoma, WA:

· St. Patrick’s Day Parade at City Hall Park (450 3rd Avenue) on March 15 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (THIS IS TODAY)

· St. Patrick’s Day Dash at Fisher Pavilion Post Race Bash (305 Harrison Street) on March 16 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bay Area, CA:

· Embarcadero Center at 4 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco on March 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

· Walmart at 5095 Almaden Expy in San Jose on March 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

· Oakland Running Festival at Snow Park (1901 Harrison Street) in Oakland on March 23 from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Here’s an overview of what states the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid will be making stops in. Find specific dates and locations on the Chicken of the Sea website.

Chicken of the Sea Is Celebrating 100 Years of Good In A BIG Way! #100YearsOfGood

As a part of the celebration Chicken of the Sea has launched a commemorative product line with special packaging. These products are available in single and quad packs at supermarkets. If you’re into nostalgia you’ll want to hurry because they’ll only be in stores for a limited time.

This campaign is so cool in so many ways! You’ll definitely want to be a part of it! Be sure to stay up to date with the latest info in any or all of these places:

Also, be sure to join in the fun. Share your stories, photos and videos and express your gratitude! Be sure to use the hashtag #100YearsOfGood, as many will be appearing on the 100 Year of Good story wall.

There’s one more thing.

I am so very, very, very excited that Chicken of the Sea has asked me to be a part of their “100 Year of Good” campaign.

WIN IT!

I’m giving away $1,000!!!!!

FOUR winners will each receive $250!

HOW TO ENTER.

Let me know how you “do good” or “give back” within your community. I’ll be looking for four things in your answer.

  • What do you do?
  • How long have you been doing it?
  • What is the reason or inspiration for why you do it?
  • How will you pay it forward if you win, meaning what will you do with the money if you win?

Leave a comment on this post answering the above four questions. Make me laugh, make me cry, tug at my heart strings! Entries must answer all questions above to some degree of detail. In other words one word answers or a one sentence answer will not qualify. I’d say you should be submitting about a paragraph, more if you like. While all relevant and respectful comments are welcome, those that do not meet the requirements will not be eligible to win. You may email a photo to go with your submission if you like, you can email it to valmg2 AT gmail DOT com with the subject #100YearsOfGood photo. Be sure to include your name, so I can match your photo with your entry.

This giveaway ends on 03/31/14. This is the only way to enter this giveaway. There are no bonus entries. If you’d like to spread the word about the celebration, and how Chicken of the Sea is giving back, and this giveaway, please do! US addresses only please, no PO Boxes.

Good luck to everyone! I truly can’t wait to read your stories!

This promotion is created and owned by From Val’s Kitchen, who is entirely responsible for rules and all legal considerations. Chicken of the Sea provides award money only.

57 comments

What's That Smell? ~ Kim March 14, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Wow! What an amazing campaign they are doing.

I have just started a project for my community. We have been planning it since November.

My kids and I are going to run a “Little Library Project” this summer at our local Farmers Market to make books more accessible to our local kids. (http://littlefreelibrary.org/)

We are in the stage where we are collecting books right now and designing plans so my husband can build the “Library” which is a box or cart to house the books.

The Farmer’s Market was looking for a way to engage the children that come to the market with their parents and when I read about the Little Library Project I felt that something like that would make a great addition to the children’s area. So many kids (and adults) don’t have access to books or don’t bother to read anymore. With my kids help, we hope that more kids will be able to experience the joy of reading.

If I won, the money will go to build the “Library” and purchase books if we cannot get enough donated.

Thank you for the opportunity!

Liz Grinkin March 14, 2014 - 1:57 pm

My daughter Kaitlyn(16 years old), and I serve in Beyond Limits. Beyond Limits is part of our Children’s Ministry at Calvary Chapel in Old Bridge, NJ. We spend time with children with special needs while their parents or care givers attend the church services. We are assigned a ‘Best Buddy’ and build a relationship with him/her over time. I usually oversee or teach, and Kaitlyn gets assigned to one person. Kaitlyn’s Best Buddy is a young man with Autism. I think he loves her. I know she loves him.

We have been serving in this ministry for about 1 year.

We serve there because we are called to do so. Kaitlyn has the most gentle heart and loving spirit. She loves to teach too, but this is so much different. We leave crying some days, because one of our kids has a bad day, but most days smiling because of how much joy they bring to us by the most simple things.

Kaitlyn is planning on attending a college to earn dual degrees in Music and Special Education. I would save the money is awarded, and put towards her education expenses.

Sky March 14, 2014 - 2:19 pm

As a librarian, I’m passionate about my local public library. While I’m in the academic library field, I make it a point to stay involved on the public side. Currently, I am a member of the North Platte Public Library Foundation Board, and I’ve been involved with it for over 5 years. Our board recognizes the importance of a public library and we are building for the future. Every year we host fundraisers to with the goal of reaching 1,000,000 that will officially kick off a new campaign to build a new library for our community. Our current library is old, small and they’ve grown out of it. While they make do with what they have, I believe that the value of a community can be determined by visiting a public library. Some of our fundraisers include a yearly Cemetery Tour (really cool!), Puzzle Tournament and the Foundation makes Book Gift baskets (from donated books) to sell. We have a small, but dedicated group of volunteers who are just as passionate about the library as I am!

If I were to win, I’d donate the money to be used to offset any event costs. For example, our Cemetery Tour gives small booklets that detail where graves are and include a short synopsis about the person being portrayed. The library copy machine isn’t equipped to handle the load, so a local copy center prints the booklets for us. This money would come in handy to offset those costs, which would bring in even more money for the Foundation.

Thanks for the chance!

Julie A. Kennedy March 14, 2014 - 5:24 pm

Thanks Val for all that you do!
I am a member of the Gigi’s Playhouse Central NJ start up committee. I have been involved for about the last month since I heard about it. My son Logan is 4 1/2 and starting to transition to kindergarten. Expenses with therapy and tutors are beginning to mount. Gigi’s playhouse sets up tutoring, math programs, etc for adults and kids with Down Syndrome, in addition to the other things they do.
I would donate the money, or have you donate the money from Val and/or JSDSA to Gigi’s to get us toward the goal of $100,000.00 for the first year’s operating expenses.
Thanks Val!

cathy budis March 14, 2014 - 6:55 pm

This awesome Val! I have been involved with gifts from the heart for downs for the last couple of years.. The founder Kim Adams works so hard to grant wishes for children and adults with down syndrome.. Some wishes are very expensive and really could use this money.. To see the smiles are priceless..

Shelbie Johnston March 14, 2014 - 8:07 pm

I am involved in animal rescue, tray neuter returns,and fostering, I have been doing this over 15 years. I have always been animal lover since I can remember, so now I put my passion, which is animal advocacy to work.It’s really bot something I choose to do, it’s something I have to do, it’s what drives me, I also take care of, feeding etc 2 feral colonies, all this out of my own pocket plus utilizing ASPCA programs that help with clost of spaying and neutering. I would use this money for food and care for strays and ferals. I pay it back daily by doing what I do, and I love every minute of it!

Danielle Royalegacy March 14, 2014 - 8:07 pm

I don’t have too much community around me since I live 17 miles from the nearest town and my neighbor is around 1/3 of a mile away. What I do do is help the wildlife in our desert area since we moved here over 20 years ago and to clean up what other people dump out here. Since we are a big off-roading area, we tell them to be careful of the wildlife, and to respect our desert. Many people also consider the wild desert a good place to dump old appliances and tires. We pick these things up and take them to the appropriate place. As for the money, it will go to the upkeep of the big truck we have that we use to keep the desert clean. It is a big expense to keep it licensed every year.

Danielle Royalegacy March 15, 2014 - 11:09 am

My husband just took a large pile of trash to the dump yesterday that contained an old sofa, an old television, tires, rugs and the padding that went under it.

brett March 14, 2014 - 10:11 pm

I’ve been a girl scout leader for 3 years now, and will be again in the fall for year four. I’ll also add a second troop to my life- my younger daughter’s daisy scouts.
It started out because there weren’t parents willing to step up to BE a leader, but I loved it the moment I started and have so much fun introducing the kids to new experiences and learning all about scouting with them!! It’s as good for me as it is for them.

If I won, I’d do a small part of the money to buy supplies to start my Daisy troop off, and the rest of the money would be donated to help families afford the costs of scouting so that no one is excluded for any reason.

Beth Leff March 15, 2014 - 12:06 pm

Good

Megan Cromes March 15, 2014 - 12:10 pm

i would donate money to a local pregnancy resource in my area.

Debbie Jackson March 15, 2014 - 2:59 pm

I am a high school science teacher and my inspiration is sharing my love of learning and the natural world with young people. I have been teaching for for 27 years and plan to continue even though I could retire. If I were chosen I would pay it forward by purchasing additional resources for our classroom. Students love to explore and make meaningful connections and this would be wonderful for our district.

Deb K March 15, 2014 - 9:18 pm

My granddaughter works at a Women’s Shelter,and we donate all the clothes and toys that we can get.

ellen beck March 16, 2014 - 12:55 am

I do out of pocket rescue and TNR (trap/nuter/release) in our community for feral cats. I have been doing this for almost 20 years now. It benefits our community because by spaying/neutering there are far fewer animals being destroyed or becoming ill in our neighborhood. TNR is the only way to coontrol the cat population. By putting the cats back into thier own territories after they are fixed new cats are less likely to move in and to repopulate.
I teach the neighborhood about the benefits of having feral cats (that have been fixed) and encourage them to to be kind to them. I tell them the cats help control rodents and although they cant be pets they are a very valuable part of the town.
I became involved with this when I moved to this neighborhood and saw so many cats being abandoned by careless owners. I live in an economically depressed area where animals are secondaary to their own survival. One day after we first moved in a cat who was obviously in pain and at one time had been a housecat headbumped me while I was outside planting in the garden. This big brown cat who had been left, been abused, been mistreated by humans put his trust in a human one more time for help. He got neutered, and taken care of. He was my inspiration.
If I won, I would use the money to spay a female that has wandered up during this last winter. Spaying is expensive and I have been saving up for it, but winning would mean I could apply it to more vetting and food for all of these poor wandering souls who through no fault of their own are abndoned and alone.
What I do can be heartbreaking but it is also joyous. To find a cat a forever home, to know they wont be alone or lost, I wouldnt have it any other way.
Thanks for the chance Chicken of the Sea, I cant tell you how many times your product was used to help trap cats , its rather fitting you are sponsoring. The cats love you (and I do too) !

debbie March 16, 2014 - 8:15 am

I do something for my neighborhood. We have/had almost a dozen seniors living around us. My son has several special needs and major health issues. My family won’t have much to do with him. So we “adopted” our senior neighbors. We check on them, take them to appointments, I taught my son how to mow lawns, so he could mow for them. He also rakes leaves and shovels snow when he can. I got to know all of them, and they are like family.Te best thing one of them said to me, was that thanks to my son and I, she got to live the last 7 years of her life in her home. She knew someone cared about her. I was the last person she talked to, and I found her the day she passed away.
They have taught my son, that he is loved and appreciated. Something that my own family wouldn’t do. I feel so much better for helping them.
If I am chosen, I would do something special for my neighbors. This year the heating bills are going to be very high, so they will be short money to buy necessities, like paper products, etc. They are all on tight fixed incomes. I know this would help them so much.

shana March 16, 2014 - 8:56 am

After reading what others do, it seems silly to even enter. I “retired” on disability 2 years ago & the hubby told me I needed to start getting out of the house again, so I work at the Food Bank once a week.
I did crochet cancer caps & I want to work on stuff for an organization that use items for premie’s & deceased babies for burials. I really haven’t done this yet because I’ve been busy with medical stuff & helping my in-laws because my father-in-law has dementia. I’m trying to help my dad with my 101 year old Grandma too, but I don’t feel I’m doing enough. So really, all I do is mostly personal for my family.
I guess I could use the money to buy yarn & flannel for blankets & hats & postage to mail them. I could always use gas money for running into town.(I live in the country)
My dad & my aunt have used tuna to trap feral cats too!

Kathleen Kennedy-Leon March 16, 2014 - 9:07 am

I have always been involved in Girl Scouts. I was a Girl Scout for many years myself. Then when I had my two daughters, I knew my love for Girl Scouting would continue with them.

I have been a Girl Scout co-leader & medical mom for both of my daughter’s troops. I have been involved in this capacity for over twelve years. I have taught girls skills such as cooking, project management, giving back, paying it forward, the value of community and that if they believe in themselves they can do anything. One person’s actions can make a difference.

I have led the girls in all sorts of community services, from coats/ hats & gloves at Christmas time with the giving tree, numerous food drives and community clean up projects.

Our most recent project which we used to achieve our Silver Award was to start a lending library specifically aimed for children and teens at a family shelter / soup kitchen so that the kids would have access to books. This project really helped the girls see that even though some places we asked to participate didn’t want to, it didn’t matter, because other places that we didn’t expect to help did. Good work and paying it forward ripples outward. We originally had requested 12 local schools and businesses be collection points and ended up with 18. The troop collected close to 1500 books. Box load after box load was picked up and brought to the shelter. It was quite eye opening to girls to be at the shelter and see a very long line of people waiting to get in on a cold day to have a meal.

Not only did they help others, they helped themselves as it was a huge reminder of the many blessings we have and take for granted.

I am very excited to see what lies ahead for these girls. The Girl Scout Gold award is the highest award available and I have no doubt that most if not all of our troop will go for the gold!

My way of paying it forward to use the money for the troop and have the girls decide what we would use the funds for-(not a trip or craft) but something community related to help others. I’m sure it would be something worth while as I’ve never been disappointed by kindness of our girls.

If we were awarded one of the prizes, I would be happy to blog about what we used the funds for and link back to you and the sponsor so everyone would know where this great prize was used.

thank you for your consideration!

Jeana March 16, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Its so awesome when companies create ways to give back. I’ve always tried to volunteer in one way or another. I have done everything from build houses with Habitat for Humanity to volunteering at local soup kitchens to being a “Chemo Angel” to children battling cancer.

I currently encourage my 4 year old son to give back by donating half his birthday and christmas presents to local shelters. I also use my social media presence and blog to share at least 2 social good stories a month. I have partnered with Save the Children, WaterAid and Shot@Life. Last year I traveled to Washington DC to lobby in person for 3 days at Capitol Hill on behalf of Shot@Life!

To be honest, I’m not really sure why I do it. There was no “thing” that happened to me, it’s just been a natural instinct ever since I can remember. I always wanted to be a Doctor without Borders and since I chose to not pursue medicine (in favor of having children instead), doing what I do still fulfills the “need” in me 🙂

If I won $250, I would give it all to my 4 year old son. Half of it would go towards his college fund, and the other half I would let him choose a charitable way to use it locally. Preferably something we could do together in person!

Petro Neagu March 16, 2014 - 5:50 pm

What a great post Valerie. And not to mention the amazing campaign! This is something way too rare and I must applaud.
To answer your questions, I need to warn you it’s all about the food with us. Why? Because lots of people around here are very poor and they cannot afford a proper meal so that’s the best gift for them.

*What do you do? Give food to charity.
*How long have I been doing this? Ever since I was a child, it’s a family tradition.
*What is the reason I do it? It got more striking to me what poverty and starvation means when I got to the point of not being able to make any money and haven’t eaten for 3 days then I could only afford pita bread for 10 days.
*How will I pay it forward? Food for the kids at the orphanage around the corner.

I hope one day starvation will be completely erased, this is such a heartbreaker to me.

hterry March 17, 2014 - 9:01 am

I donate all my old clothes and household items, including old computers that still work to the Kidney Foundation. I also take our pediatric kidney patients every year to a camp in Tennessee. This camp is specifically for kidney transplant and patients who are on dialysis awaiting a kidney transplant. I have been taking the kids going on my 6th year now but have been doing the paperwork for about 15 years as one of the other nurses would always take them.

Sometimes the kids do not think they fit in when they are coming to the hospital or clinic often due to their disease as well as taking all the medications. On dialysis it can be an overnight thing or a 3 x a week deal for up to 4 hours which can take a toll on them emotionally as well as physically and are not up to doing things that normal kids can do on an everyday basis. This camp helps them do the things they can do at the pace they can and meet other children around the country going through the same things they are. After one week you would be surprised at how fast they become friends.

Honestly, if I won the money I would put it towards my school tuition as I am trying to finish off a Bachelor’s and money is very tight.

This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone and I applaud you for hosting this.

Ronda Patrick March 18, 2014 - 6:06 am

Wow, where to start. I was a victim of the 2008 depression. My husband was laid off, I fell and broke both arms and crushed my spine becoming permanently disabled about a month after that. Our home was taken and we were forced into bankruptcy with nothing but the shirts on our backs. We received our food from the food bank (and a few friends because it wasn’t enough to feed a family of 5). My husband couldn’t look for another job as he was caring for myself and our 3 children. We had one of the roughest 2 years in our 20 years together as we faced these problems while going through my multiple surgeries. Now, we are climbing back out of that hole. Although they were unable to fix any of my problems, my husband is now working. We enter sweepstakes, giveaways and donate the winning toys/items for people that are in a situation similar to ours and are unable to fend for themselves. We donate money to soup kitchens (as I am unable to donate time to help out) and donate money to food banks as well. Our clothes are donated to the goodwill to help with those who are unable to afford much more. We have also donated our gently used appliances to needy families that request on a free website that are unable to afford to purchase them when in an emergency. Although we are not rich by any means. We live modestly and give to others every possible chance as a way of saying thank you and paying it forward for helping us out in our desperate time of need. 🙂

Melissa Mazzur March 18, 2014 - 6:14 am

My family cooks meals and takes them to the homeless shelter where we serve the meals. While there, my older daughter overheard the need for more funding. She started a book drive, collecting over 1500 books which were sold at a book sale. With her books and the books collected at the rescue mission, they raised $6000 to help the mens shelter!

patricia Marsden March 18, 2014 - 7:19 am

I am part of a Legion family involved in volunteering and helping vets and their families. For over a quarter of a century I have worked beside my husband and children manning the New Jersey POW-MIA Watchfire to remind everyone that many who served our country are still out there unaccounted for and tragically forgotten by too many.
I do it because it is the right thing. The men and women who put their lives on hold and on the line for American freedom deserve to be brought back home. I remember my fears as a parent when my youngest was serving in the “sand box” war zone. I remember how the gestures of kindness and consideration helped .
I would use it for donations to CWF, a program that doesn’t take its administrative costs from donations. Rather, it uses its own funding so 100% goies to needy programs.

David March 18, 2014 - 4:20 pm

My wife and I own a children’s clothing store in our local mall. We were in business in Washington State for the last nine years and are now in Nebraska. Every year we donate our excess inventory(after the season, of course) to local churches and organizations so they can distribute them in the fall to those who need them.

It all started in our first year when we noticed we were selling tons of clearance merchandise to people who were donating it to various groups. We decided that after we had sold all we could, we would just donate the rest. Had it not been for the people buying from us to donate, we likely would have never considered it.

In our new town we have yet to connect with local organizations, so we are going to have to find different churches and other similar groups to take it from us. We are still a few weeks away from the time frame when we would normally donate, but we will find them.

I will pay it forward by putting this money towards our Toys for Tots fund, which we4 also do every year.

ashley cossette March 18, 2014 - 6:58 pm

My dad has been a police officer for 18 years and a few years ago he ran into a special case where he found a little boy in a really bad situation. His family was very poor, his parents were never around, and they weren’t very helpful to him even when they were. My dad caught wind that he had his bike stolen, and had been a wreck because of it. My dad (who never cries, almost as though you become numb to the profession) came home a mess. He was determined to do something so my mom and I started calling around to the local stores. Being Christmas time he was determined to get something together for this little boy. After calling a bunch of places our local walmart finally offered to donate a bike to the little boy. That gesture ended up setting a wild fire behind my parents and I. Over the past three years we have taken a small bike donation and turned it into a huge Toys for Tots drive. My brother being a marine is was drove us to get them involved. Last year alone we helped over 500 children in our community. I’ve never had the feeling that you get when I see a mom walk into the police station with hundred of toys spread all over the place and she just starts crying, Thanking us after we tell her to take a few presents for each of her children, and telling us, while crying, that her kids will be able to have a christmas because of us. If I win the money I will definitely be giving a lot of it to the toy drive. we put so much into it and eventually would like it to grow even more!

Dawn Lopez March 18, 2014 - 7:16 pm

What a wonderful chance to win. I have been donating holiday gifts and food to our local human services department. I finally started last year, mainly to share the feeling of doing good and being selfless with my son. We really learned about the immense need in our town, prior to that, I didn’t realize just how much was needed. It’s been a heartwarming and wonderful experience. If I win, I will definitely pay it forward by donating more food to our local pantry. Thanks again for the opportunity!

albert ruiz March 19, 2014 - 10:46 pm

I serve at my church in the food pantry and have been doing it for about 2 months. I bag groceries, set up chairs and greet people when they enter. I also help carry groceries to the cars of those that have trouble carrying them. I really wanted to grow closer to CHRIST. That was my first motivation but as I helped more and more and saw how GOD was not only providing for food needs of the people. HE was also providing spiritual food. People are coming for food but also prayer and are receiving healing. For example a few weeks ago a man came barely able to walk with a cane. He asked for prayer and GOD healed him. He threw his cane in the parking lot and drove away. Another time a person got up from a wheelchair and didnt need it anymore. Thats what I want to be around. If I win the $250 I want to put that into the food pantry ministry. We always need bags and many times are in need of food for products that dont match. For example, we were able to get spaghetti sauce but didnt have pasta. We are on a strict budget of only $150 per week so any amount would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and GOD bless.

Tiffany Dover March 20, 2014 - 12:59 am

My husband and I volunteer at our local women’s shelter and compassion center! We’ve been going this for about 3 years now and love every bit of it! The reason we volunteer at the Dorcas house (our local women’s shelter) is because when I was younger, they were the only place I had to go to get away from and out of an abusive relationship. I had nothing and they helped me get on my feet so it’s so rewarding to be able to give back and help the women that are there now. We volunteer at the compassion center because my husband was homeless for some time as a young adult…well before we knew each other. He was drugged out and alone and his local compassion center was able to bring him in, give him shelter and food and help him change his like around! If I won, I would donate the money…half to the dorcas house and half to the compassion center. Both places can use it and would use it wisely!

Sarah Young March 20, 2014 - 4:21 pm

What do you do? I am an administrative assistant to the head of mortgage for a regional bank here in Sioux Falls and I also serve the head of marketing for the bank ( I can and would name it if you wanted me to do that).

How long have you been doing it? I have been in my present position for coming up on five years now but I have done similar work for the past 30 plus years as we moved around the country for a while.

What is the reason or inspiration for why you do it? I do it to pull my wait for the family and to make a difference to them and to our community. The additional income allows us to do more good in our community for those less fortunate than us.

How will you pay it forward if you win, meaning what will you do with the money if you win? I would most definitely spread the wealth…that’s the true fun in really winning anything…to simply pass it along or spread it around. Some times I will keep part of the prize as a treat but I love sharing with others and do that each and every time I can. It;s that simple for me and my family. We have plenty of worthy causes, agencies and those in need here in our community so it will not be hard to pick one out and make sure they have a special day that they may not have been expecting.

LyndaS March 20, 2014 - 7:15 pm

I volunteer at a free clinic. (I draw blood specimens.) I have been going there about once a week for approximately 4 years. My inspiration is my mother who has been volunteering there as an RN for about 13 years. If I win, I will donate the funds to the clinic. Even with the Affordable Care Act, not everyone will be able to get insurance and there will still be a need for free clinics.

Jennifer H March 20, 2014 - 8:23 pm

What a great opportunity. I enjoy teaching my kids how to give back. We pick out items to donate to a womens/childrens shelter. It’s important of our children to understand and be humbled. It makes me feel good to give back. If I win, I’ll enjoy a fun shopping spree w/the kids to pick up even more items for our local shelter.

dan williams March 21, 2014 - 8:29 pm

twitted this today, 21/03

Cynthia R March 22, 2014 - 8:48 am

I’ve been helping a local family raise awareness and funds for the daughter’s treatment of Lyme Disease. Website for more information. http://www.gofundme.com/TreatingKarynsLyme

Karyn has been sick for about six years but she was misdiagnosed several times before concluding she has Lyme disease. The Centers of Disease control does not recognize Lyme disease as occuring in North Carolina despite many cases and a heavy deer population (lyme is from deer ticks). Her Lyme disease is so advanced she requires IV antibiotics. Because NC does not recognize lyme disease insurance will not pay for any of her medications or her doctor visits. Her medications per month is $3500 and her doctor visits are $500 a month.

The family is going broke paying for this, they are hardworking family, but they have exhausted their savings and credit options.

We have had two fundraisers so far as well as the website. I helped by donating several of my blog winnings, asking business people to donate an item or service, attended and paid for some silent auction materials.

Also this past Christmas, my parents and sister decided to donate rather than get each other gifts.

I guess I have been helping for about 6 months now.

If I won this gift card, I would put it towards costs for the next fundraiser, perhaps a walk or a bbq dinner plate.

THank you!

trisha March 22, 2014 - 9:38 pm

What do you do?

When it comes to giving back, its something that has been engrained in my being as long as I have been alive. I can remember my dad always stopping on the street to strangers. One particular moment was when I was a teenager and he stopped and purchased about 100 pens from a man. I stood there puzzled and my dad told me that the man was TRYING and by buying his pens rather than leaving him a donation, he left him with pride. I carried that with me my entire life and from giving forward at places like the store, passing out food on the streets, donating time to the animal shelter (and bringing my kids so they can see) and doing what we can to serve the community, in a small way I try to leave the world a better place with me in it.

If I win? My first inclination is to donate it to our local kill shelter to sponsor some animals and hopefully get them adopted. Its my first love and passion aside from animal awareness (spay/neuter/abuse), but the reality is that my grandmother, recovering from cancer, could use it. She hasn’t been able to work in nearly a year, my grandfather died without insurance and left her with bills and she only has a minimal amount of social security every month. While we do what we can, its a struggle for her just to buy milk some months. She lives along in a trailer and I know she is really depressed. Maybe in some small way it would help some of the burden.

I am sure whomever is the lucky recipient is perfect. So many people are struggling right now.

jeannine s March 23, 2014 - 8:18 am

We like to go to the park and help clean it up in the spring and plant flowers. We have been doing it for 7 yrs (since we moved here) and love doing it. My kids love playing at the park but we noticed it was getting dingy and had lots of garbage around from teenagers. If I win I will put it towards flowers at the park.

Jill O. March 23, 2014 - 8:39 am

For the past 5 years I’ve been performing improv with a local comedy club. It’s a hobby and I don’t get paid to do it. While we have shows approximately every other month for charity, our big annual charity event is for St. Baldrick’s (fighting childrens cancer). We held our event on St. Patrick’s day this year and raised nearly $25,000 for the charity!! The majority of the money raised is from fellow improvisers like myself, so I would use the money to double my donation. It always feels good to give back…especially when you can have fun doing it.

angela March 23, 2014 - 3:47 pm

Prior to my relocation I volunteered as a sexual assault counselor. I did this for three years. There was a lot that went into this volunteer position. There was 48 hrs of training before being certified. Then there was a shadowing period and such. The hours I would volunteer was on call from 8pm to 8am weekend shift. A sexual assault counselor works as a first responder to the hospital with the police and forensic nurse, when a report is made. I found it to be very important because it is a traumatizing event and it could be overwhelming to a survivor. It is really too hard to put into words everything that goes into the position as a sexual assault counselor.

Once I relocated I picked to do a less heavier volunteer position. Although being a sexual assault counselor is important I did need time to decompress from what I saw. When I relocated to start working with a new company I decided to sit on their Charitable Contributions Committee. Being on the CCC I get to examine many local charities. We elect charities that we will contribute to as monetary funds, item drives or activities. Yesterday we served lunch to low income seniors. So far this year we have had two item drives, we did a diaper drive for a local charity. We ended up donating 67 cartons of diapers, a new crib and 46 Costco containers of diaper wipes. Currently we are doing a drive for women’s interview clothing and accessories. We also do fundraiser events to improve moral at work and raise funds such as pizza sales, bake sales and such. This gives us the ability to purchase items to donate for the drives or adds on to our annual monetary donations that we give to the community (our site alone gives 26,000 of corporate funds to charities in San Diego.) I have had the joy of sitting on the CCC for 3 years. I have gotten to meet great people and see charities to grow. One of the charities we made a monetary donation to even had one of their students won an Oscar. Check out the documentary Innocente.

One thing that I will do with the winnings is I always donate some raffle prizes for the big event that we do.

Ellie W March 24, 2014 - 11:27 am

When my mom broke her hip she had to spend 3 months in a rehab/nursing home. I would visit her everyday bringing treats for her to eat, because she wouldn’t always eat the food they prepared. I noticed there was a small rolling cart with books in the lobby. So I started bringing books from home and got some more friends to donate books. I would read to my mom since she wasn’t able to see very well at the time. She and her roommate really enjoyed it. After my mom was released I would go back and read to her roommate who was still there. My mom has since passed away, but I still try to visit the rehab several times a week and bring books and read to some of the many friends we made there. Sometimes they are just lonely and appreciate someone taking the time to listen to them, and sometimes they just want to sit and listen to me read, or just talk to them. Many feel forgotten in places like that. I also bring little treats to those that are allowed to eat sweets. And when allowed I bring my dog, Paisley, for special visit. She is always a big hit!
I’ve doing this for about 8 years now and it’s as rewarding for me as it is for those I visit.

Neiddy March 30, 2014 - 5:01 pm

We always tell our children that we are Blessed to be Blessing, we teach them to be givers and to spread Love to all those around us.That is why when my son started kindergarten on 2012 we chose a school that shared the same values and principles we were teaching them at home.The School has some amazing programs designed to Demonstrate God’s Love, Share Jesus Christ,and Serve Others. The ones we participate in are:
Christian Service – Small everyday acts of kindness that teach kids to lend a helping hand whenever possible.
Offering Projects – Every Quarter we give donations towards an specific project or organization. This Quarter our offerings are going to support the Lutheran Outdoor Ministry of Texas and Camp Lone Star.
Stock the Cart – Monthly food collection that gets donated to the local food bank. This month we are collecting Breakfast Items.
If I win, I would use the money to support the programs mentioned above (Give a donation to the offering project and buy food for stock the cart)

Nicole Brady March 30, 2014 - 9:51 pm

I love hearing all the amazing things people do. Makes me feel like my contributions are small!
What do you do? – We donate to the local animal shelter and have even instilled that into our kids. Last year for Christmas, my daughter asked for gifts for the animals at the shelter.
How long have you been doing it? – We started animal rescue in the late 1990’s.
What is the reason or inspiration for why you do it? – Before the kids were born, we did animal rescue and rehabilitation. We did that until I had a soft heart and couldn’t part with them any more and ended up at our county quota of 3. Our last of those 3 dogs passed away a few years ago and I haven’t had the heart to replace them.
How will you pay it forward if you win, meaning what will you do with the money if you win? If I win, I think I would take the kids, purchase some things for the animal shelter and go visit and donate both goods and some money.

crystal bechard March 30, 2014 - 10:23 pm

Hi There!
I’m a mom of 2 boys, and one little on the way; a business student, a business owner, a T-Ball Mom, and a school program coordinator 😀

I love all of what I do, but one of the most important things for me is my work at the summer & before and after school program I work at. We are based at an elementary school and are working so hard to fundraise right now for the field trips, clubs, and more for the kids. We give kids a safe, fun, and educational place to be at while parents finish work, run errands, etc. before and after school, and summers too of course!

We have a HUGE Carnival planned that is coming up, I’d love to be able to put $500 towards that to help make it what we want it to be for the kids as well as everyday equipment. I will tell you, some people overlook us and the talent we have. We are an amazing crew with an even more amazing drive and ambition to make the best for the students at our ACES Program. I have only been at this program for 6 months, it is our first year, but we are growing and it’s been an eye opening experience.

The other half I’d put towards our down payment for our home that we are working hard on getting. The little on the way puts our 2 bedroom apartment on the smaller side! 😀

Thank you so much for this opportunity!

Lindley A March 30, 2014 - 11:19 pm

I have been known as “The Box Tops Lady” at my son’s school for the past 3 years. He attends a great school that just happens to be in one of the poorest districts in the state, so the PTO volunteers have worked extra hard to earn money in as many creative ways as possible. We have jumped wholeheartedly into the Box Tops for Education program and I have been the volunteer coordinator for our school for several years. With a little hard work (clipping, counting and sorting of over 125,000 Box Tops) and some great dedication from the community, we have been ranked in the top 3 for the state of Colorado for the past 2 years and have earned between $3500-$5000 each year to spend on much-needed technology and supplies for our school. I love helping the kids and the teachers because education is so important to the future of our children and our country. Also, being the Box Tops Lady is a great way to get to know the students and teachers while visiting their classrooms. I’d love to use any money I received to bid on our upcoming Silent Auction fundraiser, so I could help out even more in supporting our children and educators.

debbie April 13, 2014 - 8:19 am

Just wondering who the winners were.

valmg April 13, 2014 - 11:40 am

Debbie, I made my selections and winners will be notified tomorrow.

valmg April 13, 2014 - 9:52 am

Dan, thanks so much for your support and spreading the word every day about this!

dan williams April 13, 2014 - 6:49 pm

twitted this today, 14/04

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twitted this today, 03/05

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twitted this today,04/05

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twitted this today, 07/05

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twitted this today, 08/05

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twitted this today, 10/05

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twitted this today, 11/05

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twitted this today,12/05

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