Artemis, huntress of the moon, make my aim true. Give me goals to seek and the constant determination to achieve them... Allow me the strength and wisdom to be my own mistress, not defined by the expectations of others. (from a prayer to Artemis)
If I could save the world, I would. (I would also stop this relentless rain.) I wouldn't do it for praise, or out of responsibility for human kind. I would do it because it is in my nature to do so.
But I cannot do it all.
Everywhere around me, people are flooded in, losing their homes, losing their businesses. It's total devastation. I am trying to help where I can. It began with helping Sergio & Co. Italian Specialties. Their loss was unfathomable, and they did not have flood insurance. Yes, other shops have had major losses, but Sergio's has always been a home away from home for me, and apparently the 1,500+ other people who have liked the page I created, Save Sergio & Co. The page has a bunch of fundraisers going and, last I checked, the account had many deposits. I did what my heart told me to do, and with the help of my friend Fara Aliotta, we created an donation account to help Sergio get back on his feet again.
After opening a fund and the page, I found out that the town of Denville (where my boyfriend lives, I live in a neighboring town) just started another fund, The Township of Denville Hurricane Irene Relief Fund. Ward and I decided that we could do more to help, so we created a postcard to sell, and are donating 50% of the proceeds to that group.
In addition, I have just secured a space for my acupuncturist and her colleague to do free acupuncture for people who have had stress due to Hurricane Irene. It was their idea, Acupuncture Without Borders; I just found space and got it donated, so that the acupuncturists are donating their services. Follow the blog for details -- I will post them as they become available.
I am trying to get another amazing (crossing fingers for TG) fundraiser together, but for now, that's what we've got in the works.
Alas, there have been naysayers. There have been people judging my efforts, asking why I started a fund for just one shop and not the whole town. The answer isn't easy but I'll try. I could not figure a way to find out who lost how much, and who needed more than who. I am no accountant. I also knew that Sergio had a huge following. I knew that people wanted him to stay in town, and would put their money where their mouths were. I figured if we got $5,000 or even $10,000 and split it amongst all the stores in need, well, it wouldn't do much for anybody. But if it all went to one beloved place, then we'd have a chance. Sergio's brought a ton of business to town. There was a line out the door there, every single day that they were open for lunch. Forget holiday time, there was always a line. Not just because of the great food, but because of the people who worked there. Go see the page and read all of the testimonials. It is truly unbelievable.
I am one person, a single mother, trying to sustain a solid family life, keep things stable, and make hot dinners for my family. I volunteer to do the bulletin board at school, and I am on the Lakers Green Team, which works to make the school a "greener" place. I am doing all that I can, while also working for two family businesses.
For those who judge me for not doing more, or doing it to their standards, I welcome you start your own fundraisers. Create pages to help. Raise money. Do what you can, in the ways that you choose. But please, don't criticize my process. I am doing the very best that I can.
I love Denville. I don't live there, but I eat there, I shop there, and I send my friends there to do the same. I have been to nearly every store that's reopened, and have dined in Denville literally every day since the flood waters cleared. I vote with my dollars and always spend a little more to support those independently owned businesses. I am a supporter of those businesses and believe in grassroots movements. My intentions are all good. Truly. I appreciate the support of all who are working with me to raise money and help those in need.
Keep posted for more information on upcoming fundraisers, and thank you for all of your support.