Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lots still happening in Beanie World. While we are busy mailing beanies, and YOU are busy mailing beanies, we are sneaking around and planning events behind your back. There will be cookouts and Thanksgiving packages, and Christmas gifts. We'll be at festivals, in schools, and...hey, we'll show up wherever you want us to be.

Next up on the calendar:

September 7 & 8, Virginia Theater

The News-Gazette is hosting a collection/drive to benefit Toys for Troops during The News-Gazette Film Series at the next movie, M*A*S*H next Friday and Saturday at the Virginia Theater.

Stop by and see us, and bring your beanies, soccer balls, and care-package items. The movie plays at 7:00 Friday night, and at 1:00 and 7:00 Saturday, and we'll be there before and after.

With the holidays fast approaching, we hope to expand our focus to care packages for the soldiers at Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition to beanies, we're going to send each soldier on our list a box filled with some basic necessities, and a few gifts and luxuries. If you'd like to donate towards care packages, feel free to bring any of the following items:

  • wet wipes, beef jerky, energy bars, sunflower seeds, trail mix, Powdered Gatorade, and powdered drink mixes
  • koozies to keep bottles and cans cool
  • long socks (boot length, black, green, or white), brown or tan t-shirts
  • AA batteries
  • magazines & books
  • zip-lock bags
  • books
  • eye drops, aspirin, foot creams
  • toiletries, such as deodorant, foot creams, eye drops, lip balm, q-tips
  • sunscreen
  • writing materials
  • CDs, playing cards, dice
...or any other item that you think would make a soldier's day a little bit nicer.

At any rate, come and see the movie, and stop and say hello!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Spaghetti Dinner Wrap Up

Better late than never, I guess, but I do have some spaghetti dinner updates for you. I spent as much time as I could in the last week with Brian, before he shipped back out to Iraq. As I write, he's in Atlanta, waiting to board a plane to Germany. From there, Kuwait, Baghdad, and as he put it, "home."

Meanwhile, I owe an update. The spaghetti dinner evening was a phenomenal success. The Spaghetti Shop in Savoy gave us a great break on the price of Spaghetti for 200. Spaghetti for 200, by the way, pretty much fills up the back of a small SUV.

It is 10 days later, and I'm still blown away by the community's response. A dozen volunteers were at the ready by 3:30 in the afternoon, some of whom I'd never met before.

20 businesses and individuals donated over $1000 worth of door prizes. We had a 50/50 raffle also, and the tickets just sold themselves. Literally; we put the tickets and some cans on the pool table, and people just bought what they wanted.

Friends, family, people I've met, and people I'd never met, showed up throughout the evening. The Mayor and his wife graced us with their presence. So many people stopped to shake Brian's hand, and tell him thank you for what he does...I wish we could send this message back with every soldier that's heading back. Every single one. I'm going to have to figure out how to do that.

By Sunday evening's end, we had over $2000 in cash, added to nearly $1000 in PayPal donations the week before. Several people took boxes already packed and addressed to a soldier, and mailed them theirselves the week after.

Spaghetti, drinks, and laughter was had, and we walked away with enough money to send all we have, by now nearly 10,000 beanies. With a few corporate sponsors up our sleeves, we'll focus our efforts on soccer balls and care packages also.

A HUGE thanks to everyone that showed up, brought desserts, helped set up, helped do dishes, and to everyone that just said "you can do it, I know you can!"

You really were the wind beneath our wings.


To see more photos of the evening, click HERE.

And special thanks to these sponsors:

The Esquire Lounge, providing us with space and staff for the evening.
Dean's Blueprints

And for donations:

Body & Soul, Savoy
Boomerang, Urbana
Chilli's, Champaign
Courier Cafe, Urbana
Hairbenders Salon, Urbana
JM Jones, Urbana
Julen's Optical, Champaign
Lyn Oleson: Mia Bella Candles
Old Time Meat & Deli, Champaign
Outback Steakhouse, Champaign
Papa Del's, Champaign
Triple T Lube & Car Wash, Champaign
Silvercreek Restaurant, Urbana
Spa Envy & Salon, Champaign
Chris Lyke: Popcorn & movies
Lindsay Roseman, Mary Kaye basket
Laurie Anderson, Texas Blogger extraordinair
Dona Abel, friend, donated Best Buy gift certificate

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gaining Momentum!

The Spaghetti Dinner's Updates

I'm not fixing it all myself, this time around; I couldn't figure out how to bring 90 crockpots of spaghetti sauce into the Esquire, all by myself. I wanted to. I really wanted to. At any rate, there will be spaghetti, with meat sauce, and without.

Door Prizes: Goodness, everyone has been so nice, donating doorprizes. We have oil changes, and candles, and Mary Kaye baskets, and car washes, and gift certificates, and pizzas and pedicures, and a bunch of other stuff I don't even know yet.

50/50 Drawing. Well, I bought the tickets for that, and I'm recruiting sunny pushy personalities to sell them on Sunday night.

I'm already amazed and excited about the community response to the idea. Financial donations are already rolling in from around the state, to help out with the dinner, and the cause.

If you volunteered to help out and you haven't heard from me, please e-mail me, and I'll catch you up further.

(French, for Respond So Very Promptly,
according to Laverne, on
Laverne & Shirley)

I know it will be a vague headcount, but if you're coming for sure, can you comment here, or send me a quick note, at It's difficult to know how much spaghetti to bring, will there be 40 or 400 at the party? Oooo, I hope it's 400, I want to meet each and every one of you!

Ok. Off to work. See you Sunday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

WIXY Interview

My first radio interview! Steve & Melissa of WIXY invited me in yesterday morning.

To hear how it went, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

VBS: Paxton Church of Christ

The kids at the Vacation Bible School at the Church of Christ in Paxton, Illinois, rallied for a week for Toys for Troops. They had one week to bring animals to their ranch: Beanie Animals.

Last week, they mailed 352 Beanies to 3 separate soldiers in Iraq.

Hey. I love you guys!

A few photos

As little as I've touched base here, you'd think that we've slowed down. Nothing could be further from the truth, we're busier than we've ever been.

Brian is home for 18 days. We've done TV, radio, and newspaper interviews. We're planning a fundraising spaghetti dinner, are talking to sponsors and shopping, and getting ready to mail at least half of our beanies, which now total 8000.