Week #11 – There is no (i) in “Generous”

#50 (Photo credit: Grace Church)

#50 (Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #11 – There is no (i) in “Generous”

Someone wrote the word “GENEROUS” on Rob’s word board.  Whoever it was wrote it really big.  And it’s had me thinking…what exactly did that person mean?

Generous can mean a lot of things: benevolent, big, charitable, considerate, good, helpful, honest, hospitable, thoughtful, tolerant, unselfish, and willing.

But deep down, the word “generous” comes from the Latin root “genus” — meaning family (race, stock, kind, birth, descent, origin).  Rob definitely had a way of making anyone who was speaking with him feel like family.  He gave his time and attention to people — sometimes people he hardly knew — and they felt a kinship with him immediately.  Everywhere he went, he made himself at home…and he has often been referred to by various friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even the clerk at the food store…as “like family.”

In the weeks during Rob’s treatment (when we were still able to talk)…he would often tell me, “Grace, if I get out of this…I want to help people.”  After Rob’s death I immediately began thinking about his legacy and wondering how best to carry his torch forward.  I wrote this on September 8th:

“His life was like a shooting star…burning bright but moving fast.  For those of us who were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of his generous light…it is now our turn to reflect it generously back to others as well!”  Shortly after, SpreadHappyness was born — a little dose of Rob each week, and a little challenge to carry his happy light forward to anyone lucky enough to cross YOUR path!

So why no (i) in “generous”…?  Because it takes “U”!

This week’s assignment:  One of Rob’s greatest joys was donating toys to Toys for Tots each year.  I’m calling on “U” — Rob’s Happyness Family — to “Spread the Wealth!”  I would like to propose a virtual toy drive on his behalf.  Together WE can carry out his holiday tradition!  You choose your gift and your location (Rob chose Toys for Tots, but there are many other options in your community — a church, local foodbank, Salvation Army, or other organization).  Just let us know what you donated and where…and maybe even post a photo!  I’ll tally up the info — number, types of toys, locations — and post a running total each week, with a grand total at the end of the month.  If I have enough photos, I’ll post a collage!

My initial thought is 50 — for #50.  Whattya think Team Happyness?  Are you in?!

Spread Happyness…Spread the Wealth and donate a “game or toy” in Rob’s honor this year!  (Then tell us about it — post a comment, send a photo, or share this challenge with others!)

(And PS: Happy Thanksgiving, Happyness Tribe!  I am so grateful for you all!)

11/28/14 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

UPDATE 12/5/14: Saturday’s event has been canceled due to weather — and Sunday’s event has been moved to Hackettstown!  Amy Wood-Oblen (classmate of Rob’s) is holding a Monster Truck Rides for Toys event to benefit local families on Sunday, December 7th — now at Highview Farms — 416 Sand Shore Road on the border of Hackettstown/Budd Lake next to Sand Shore School.  Free monster truck rides to anyone who donates an unwrapped new toy at these events!  Check Amy Wood-Oblen’s FB page for details!

AS OF 12/23/14:
1. Thomas the Tank Activity Toy was donated at Dollar General in Netcong, NJ.
2. Two Lego sets and a Lincoln Log set were donated at Toys for Tots in Stockholm, NJ.
3. Two Operation Christmas Child boxes, Baby Chicks, a Bible, and money to fund Thanksgiving baskets were donated at various locations near Succasunna, NJ.
4. Two Hallmark Jingle Bell Stuffed Animals will be donated in Flanders, NJ.
5. CLUE game will be donated in Flanders, NJ.
6. Hot Wheels Assortment was donated near Stanhope, NJ.
7. Donation made to EFA (Endometriosis Foundation of America) in Robert’s memory.
8. Barbie VW beetle donated to Community Hope’s SSVF Program (supportive services for veteran families)
9. A baby doll with a pacifier and crib, a doc mc stuffin gift pack, and home made loom bracelets were donated to the Hackettstown Police Department in Hackettstown, NJ.
10. 2 stuffed horses, a Crayola creation set and a remote control car were donated to Toys for Tots in Parsippany, NJ.
11. Four wigs (along with bandanas) were donated to Carol G. Simon Cancer Center in Summit, NJ.
12. Five gifts — Mega Blocks, a play xylophone, a Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack, a baby doll, and a plush puppy dog — were donated for a sweet little girl through Angel Tree in Tampa, FL.
13. A monetary donation was made to Toys for Tots near Flanders, NJ.
14. A donation was made to Mylestone Horse Rescue in Rob’s name.
15. Two very generous donations were made in Hopatcong, NJ: Gift #1 — 2 sweaters, 2 mulitmedia pads, a color wheel, and 126 mulitmedia art set. Gift #2 — tie dye kit, package of white tee shirts, cross stitch kit, crewel kit, soap making kit, nail kit, 2 bottles of nail polish, nail treatment, nail oil, base coat and top coat, and lots of socks!
16. A donation was made in Rob’s memory to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
17. Donations were made at Toys for Tots and Bergen County animal shelter in New Jersey.
18. A donation was made in Rob’s name to Eleventh Hour Animal Rescue.
19. A $50 donation was made in Rob’s name to United Methodist Global Aviation Ministry.


13 thoughts on “Week #11 – There is no (i) in “Generous”

  1. Gina Buongiorno

    Grace, we are so connected it’s scary. Was just talking about this yesterday and how I wanted to do what Rob and I used to do. We’d pull off 2 wish lists from the tree at the mall, usually he’d choose a boy and I a girl, and we’d really do it up. We did this for many years in addition to his Toys For Tots donation. So yes, I’m definitely in….twofold!

    1. Grace Church Post author

      Hey Gina! Thanks for jumping in on this! I’m so glad we are all on the same page. Please keep me posted on the details so I can include your toy info in the tally! We’re off to a good start!

  2. Marlo

    Great idea Grace, we wil be donating to Toys for Tots and making a monetary dontation to the childrens tumor foundation as well. One week before he died we were at radiaiton therapy together, and with tears in his eyes he told me the same thing, “Mar, If i live through this i’m gonna help people” and he meant it!

    1. Grace Church Post author

      Hey Marlo! Thanks for backing up my memory of this…I worry that I’m going to remember things wrong or make them up! As with G…keep me posted on the details and I’ll be sure to include your info in the tally! We are already about 8 or 10 toys on our way to my initial goal of 50! Thanks for jumping on board!

  3. Vickey Finn


    Toys For Tots…. (as well as BARKS, Last Chance Ranch, Antler Ridge Rescue)

    REMEMBER our FURRY FRIENDS…they have to be taken care of too…..drop some change in an animal rescue collection, make a donation to a local shelter…the critters appreciate it.

    Spread The Wealth… Fa La La La La…and Deck The Halls!

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Renee Costanzo

      Vicky – Robert and I always made donations together at local shelters. Either a blanket, toy or some food for the animals at the shelter. We love the furry friends!!! xo

  4. Renee Costanzo

    My entire company donates to Toys for Tots nationwide every year at Christmas time. As my sweet guy Robert knew I donated along with thousands of others. I will as well this year. It starts next week. It is a beautiful thing to see how many toys from stuffed animals, to cars, to bicycles are donated. I also donated to EFA this week in his name since it was #givingtuesday . Robert and I also donated to the local animal shelter often.

    1. Grace Church Post author

      Hey Renee! Thanks for your post and for the update on your donation activity (and your company — that sounds great!). I’ll add these to the list — and really appreciate you taking the time to comment here! XOXO

  5. anne wright

    Grace, your post was a beautiful picture of the man we called Rob. Perfect imperfection. He would always make me feel ‘special’ like a favorite Aunt or someone he liked to spend time. That was his gift. There is an ‘I’ in generous. ‘I’ need to consider the feelings of others. ‘I’ need to consider what that single mom is struggling with then ask myself what can ‘I’ do during this holiday season and beyond to make life easier. ‘I’ need to be generous with love, compassion and understanding. Christmas Eve is very special to me. Shamefully it is reserved for ‘family’. When asked a few years back if Rob could join us, my beautiful sister who died last year, my husband Robert, Jamie and Grace the answer was a joyous “yes”…he was family and I loved him.


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