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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Picnic with a Purpose

30

April

A home for runaway girls in Virginia Beach. An abused women’s shelter in Atlanta. A soup kitchen in Detroit. A resort for terminally ill children in Orlando.

A boy’s home in Safety Harbor.

These are just some of the small charitable organizations around the country that are benefiting from Mom_picnicblog Hebrew National's “Picnics with a Purpose” this summer.

Actually, our Picnic with a Purpose actually had a dual one: to kick off the summer with a family barbecue with our friends, but also to benefit Attention Home -- a local group home for disabled boys and young men. For almost 30 years, they have taken in some of the victims of Florida’s worst cases of child abuse, giving them not just safe shelter, but a loving home.

My family and I have worked with Attention Home for almost 10 years now. Once we heard their stories and met the boys, turning away wasn’t an option. We have helped organize toy drives every year since, but their need truly knows no season. On Sunday, we gathered with our friends for food, family fun and games, but instead of asking our guests to bring the potato salad, we asked them to bring a new summer toy to donate to the home. Nothing expensive -- a pack of sidewalk chalk or a new playground ball. We also got a park bench that we decorated, and invited some of the boys over to enjoy the day with us -- playing games and making crafts.

It wasn’t a benefit gala or a silent auction raising millions, but supporting a charity doesn’t have to be on that scale in order to be hugely effective. Small local community events like a simple outdoor picnic can be the most meaningful way to support a charity that is important to you and your family. We’ve compiled a kit of all of our party instructions, games and recipes to host your own “Picnic with a Purpose” on this site, but you could certainly get creative with your own. Couple a Sunday barbecue with a summer toy drive or Memorial Day with a canned food collection. And the next Girl’s Night Out could be an opportunity to donate toiletries for your local homeless shelter.

The gestures don’t have to be large to make a huge impact, especially now.

We had a really wonderful day together enjoying the simplest of summer’s pleasures. This year will not be defined as what we give up, but rather what we give back.

-- Tracey Henry, Suburban Diva

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:00am]

    

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