Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Who will hear their cries?

This video is a reminder of why we do what we do. My favorite line of the whole video is "Each one has a name" - these children are real. My daughter, who I adore and love with my whole being, was one of these children. Please pray about how you can get involved and hear the cries of these children. Together, we can be their voices!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Two Homes One Heart Get Together

There will be a get together at my house on Monday, July 30th to talk about plans, ideas, fundraisers, direction and all that fun stuff for Two Homes One Heart. There are many things happening and we would love to include more people in the planning of projects and events. If you would like to come, please join us! The more people we have the more fresh and creative ideas and the more fun we can have together. Munchies will be provided. If you are not sure where we live, please email me at tammymackinnon@pei.sympatico.ca and I'll give you directions!!
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In Memory of Julia

My sister and her boyfriend, Jody suffered an indescribable tragedy last Wednesday. My sister's stepdaughter - Jody's daughter, Julia died suddenly. She was only 9 years old. Below are some pictures of Julia showing how fun, happy and loveable she was. She was loved by everyone who knew her and will be missed so much.

Julia (with the dark hair)

Julia (with the dark hair) and her sister, Elizabeth

Julia LOVED to dance and sing. Here she is dancing with some of her cousins to her favorite song!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Not too much to tell...

I am still waiting to hear about my visit to Alyssa's orphanage. I haven't heard anything yet from the Director - I'm hoping to hear something by Monday or Tuesday. The playground equipment is being ordered and prepared and will be installed at the orphange in about 1 month. I wish I could be there to see it go in and see the nannies and the children using it. Hopefully our contact in China can take lots of pictures for us!!

We are hosting a few BBQs in the next month and I will post the dates soon. Our kids will be setting up their lemonade stand at some of the sports fields around Cornwall and Ch'town. There is soccer and baseball most nights of the week so we are going to set up and see how we do.

We are having a Two Homes One Heart planning session on Monday, July 30 at my house and after that meeting we should have more details on our fundraisers. One thing we are working on is creating a website that will be easier to promote our projects (Alyssa's orphanage, Ethiopian orphanage, Heart to Heart project and the baby formula project) and to give better descriptions of each project. We are also going to be doing a monthly newsletter - probably through email unless people request snail mail - it will keep everyone up to date on fundraising events, meetings and work being done in the orphanages.

I am still working on somehow being able to issue tax receipts. To get more support from businesses and individuals we really need to be able to do this. Unfortunately, it takes about 18 months -2 years to become a registered charity in Canada and it takes a lot of legal stuff that I don't know much about. We are looking at some possibilities in the meantime!

Coming up in the very near future: BBQs, Lemonade Stands, Chinese Cooking classes with Wendy Dei.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Nickelback - If Everyone Cared (video)

Click on this link to watch.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-QfLJbEN3k

When I started seriously thinking about Two Homes One Heart and our family decided to commit to supporting Alyssa's orphanage I had many responses from people. Most were very encouraging but some people told me I was thinking too big and had too much passion- it would need to be reigned in. I found this discouraging but perhaps they were thinking I was getting in over my head. This video is proof that "ordinary" people can make big differences. God uses people to change the world - people like me and people like you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

So much is happening with Two Homes One Heart. It's hard to believe how quickly we are moving along with projects and with fundraising activities. We are forming a committee to help with the planning of projects, distributing funds and planning the fundraising events. We have a small group of 5 people right now but each one brings special gifts and talents and ALL of them have a heart for Jesus and love for the children!! We are always open to more people joining us - you can always email me if you want to be part of our group. Besides being part of a great mission, there is LOTS of fun in getting together, sharing ideas and building friendships with each other!

Two Homes One Heart is expanding its projects and we now have 4 different outreach projects on the go:

1. Supporting Fenghuangyuan Orphanage – this is where Alyssa lived for 15 months and we want to continue providing financial resources to the orphanage for baby formula, clothes, cribs, toys, surgeries as there are many children with medical needs and most importantly – foster care for all the children. We are in the process of getting started with this. Our last project was the playground and it is ordered and will be installed in the next month!

2. We are adding another orphanage to Two Homes One Heart. We will provide support to this orphanage the same as we do with Alyssa’s orphanage. Right now, we are praying about an orphanage in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and one in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There will be more to come later on why we are praying about these 2 specific orphanages.

3. A new project called “Heart to Heart” is being done under Two Homes One Heart. This is a project initiated by a foster child we know who is 12. She has been wanting to help other foster children for quite awhile and she approached her social worker and I about an idea she had. She is going to collect backpacks, teddy bears, soft blankets, toothbrushes, hair brushes, books, journal and pens. She will put all these together in the kitbags and will give one to each foster child coming into care. She is also writing a personal note with each one telling the child they are not alone and someone cares for them. Her goal right now is to raise enough money or have people/businesses donate enough supplies for 150 backpack treasures. She eventually would like to do this for other provinces in Canada as well.

4. For 2 years, my friend, Peggy and I have initiated a Baby formula drive for the local PEI Food Bank. We would like to continue on with this and provide baby formula, diapers and baby food to the food bank. The Food Bank has told us we are the only ones who give baby supplies to the Food Bank so this is another local area we can really help with.

As you can see there is LOTS happening - our family is really excited about the different projects and coming up with ideas to help out.

The kids have a whole list of ways they are helping this summer/fall and would be thrilled to see you at any or all of the events:

*Lemonade Stand - Caleb has named this project "Lemonade of Hope" - we are in the process of booking locations for their lemonade stand. They will be selling lemonade, pop, water, homemade chocolate chip cookies and caramel popcorn. The kids will be hosting at least one lemonade sale a week for the next few months. I will post their locations when we have them finalized.

*The kids and I will be going to the Farmer's Market to sell the rest of the homemade blankets we have. We are always looking for more handmade blankets and will collect these anywhere on the Island.

*Family Yard Sale - the kids have been busy picking out toys, clothes and sports items that they will sell. Our whole family and a few friends will be having a big yard sale - date to be announced.

I love that the kids want to be involved and they come up with fun ideas to help out. Being able to support the children living at Alyssa's orphanage is a great way for us to keep in contact with Alyssa's nannies, the orphanage and her birth land. The kids and I pray every night for the nannies and for all the children. I love that the kids are able to think about others and realize there are ways we can reach out and make a small difference in someone's life.

There are 6 other fundraising projects our group is in the process of organizing. Can I just say they are going to be a BLAST!!!!! They are really fantastic and everyone will find one or more they can enjoy and participate in. I'll save them for my next post since this one is already pretty long!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy Canada Day!

I still haven't heard back from the Director of the orphanage yet. I'm starting to get a little worried but this is all in God's hands now so really, what should I be worried about?!
I am working on a couple of other fundraisers which are going to be a lot of fun! It's hard to raise money in a small city because there are SO MANY worthy causes and SO MANY groups/people trying to raise money. I like to think of different things to do to raise money so people can feel like they are helping but are also getting something in return. My friend, Mari Lynn, is very good at coming up with ideas! We have 3 in the making right now but until we get a few more details, I don't want to say a whole lot about them. Hopefully in the next week or so we can start advertising with dates and events. We are trying to maintain a steady flow of financial help to the orphanage as they have ongoing necessities like food, formula, seasonal clothing, etc... I am also talking with the Director and my contact about a foster family program with the orphanage. If we can find loving foster families for the children it will give them such a sense of belonging, love and nuture. Keep this in mind because when it starts we will be looking for families to sponsor a child for about $35 a month.
Also...as Two Homes One Heart keeps moving forward, I find it is a lot of work on my own. I would love to form a group of people who meet on a regular basis and who can help with fundraising. Chris and I have been praying and talking about adding another orphanage and supporting the children who live there so Two Homes One Heart would need on-going support with fundraising initiatives and finding coporate sponsors. You can email me privately if you would like to help out in any way - even if it's just planning one fundraising event or if you have contacts I might be able to tap into. (tammymackinnon@pei.sympatico.ca)
Have a great day!!!!! Please continue to pray for the children who don't have families and who need to know the love of Jesus!