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Chez, I hope you'll be able to give us the final chapter(s) of the story: How'd the negotiations with the grocers go. And, how does Bookgrrl's fundraiser help the kitchen ..... We'll be waiting for the end of the story.

Hi Donna ~ Merry Christmas.

I can add a few things. First of all, the board generosity doesn't end! I got a few frantic "I don't know how I missed this, is it too late, can I still send a check" emails in the last 18 hours since I posted, so now our board total is up to: $1435!!

I offered to cover the donations with my check so that the funds could get to Chicago asap. And that's exactly what I did.

Bookgrrl and I emailed fast and furiously over the last 18 hours as well. The TMF community beyond our board has risen to the cause and individual checks and donations have abounded. Thus, bookgrrl has been swamped with TMF donations of toys, cash and merchandise... and has more than a few things to do to get ready.

(Her latest challenges have been to 1. find a truck to rent/borrow to deliver all the turkeys and 2. find willing and able bodies in the Chicago area to help her with the actual work and ultimately deliveries on Christmas Eve.)

The woman is amazing.

In any case, we decided that I would have a conversation with Cynthia (the outreach director, don't know if that's her title, but it's what she does) at the Paul Hall Center of the UCC Church. I did that this afternoon. Now you may think I'm a tough, crusty business-world type (right??), but within 5 minutes of talking to this woman, I could barely get through a sentence, I was so choked up. Her goodness and gratitude were overwhelming. I just kept rambling on, something like "but you're the ones that are doing the hard work, we just banded together to share something with our fellow brothers and sisters that have less. No one should go hungry, but you're doing the real work..." and blathered on and on. I just kept thanking her for what she does. She, in tears, said "I just can't believe what you people are doing for us, this is so wonderful".

So dear QHeads, you're not buying turkeys. What Cynthia said is that these children never get really fresh food. So she is taking the funds that I'm overnighting and, in addition to the turkeys and goods that bookgrrl delivers, she is buying fresh fruits and produce for the holiday meals they provide for upwards of 3000 people.

I am so very humbled by that thought.

I hope you are all ok with this. Somehow, the mental vision I have of these kids with fresh crunchy apples, succulent oranges and healthy fresh veggies along side the roasted turkeys - well, to my mind it's a beautiful picture.

I am continually in awe of the Power of Love. As I told one donor in an email, it never fails to amaze me how I learn one lesson over and over:

It is, indeed, so much more rewarding to give.

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