Week #65 – Three Weeks to Happyness: SPREAD THE WARMTH! (Happyness in Action with Aubrey McCarrick)

126 Blankets and Counting! (photo credit: Aubrey McCarrick)

126 and Counting! (photo credit: Aubrey McCarrick)

Week #65 – Three Weeks to Happyness: SPREAD THE WARMTH!
(Happyness in Action with Aubrey McCarrick)

Greetings Happyness Tribe!

Thanks to all who visited and liked Kindness for Christopher’s Facebook Page!  They are only 920 “Likes” away from their six-month goal of 10,000!  Their pajama drive is still underway and they have new projects planned for 2016.  Click “Like” on their page to follow along!

And…our 50-for-50 Virtual Toy Drive continues for the month of December.  You choose your gift and your location.  Just let us know what you donated and where…and maybe even post a photo!  As of today, we are closing in on the first ten gifts!  Keep ’em coming!

Today we are celebrating our fourth nomination for Happyness in Action: Sixteen-year-old Aubrey McCarrick of Hopatcong, NJ — for her third-annual “Spread the Warmth” Blanket Drive.  Three years ago (as a high school Freshman), Aubrey was given the opportunity to volunteer after Hurricane Sandy — and she realized just how much she enjoyed helping others.  On a trip into the city on a cold winter day, Aubrey once again saw people suffering — and tried to come up with ways to help.  Spread the Warmth was born!  That first year she collected 15 blankets to give to the homeless.  The second year…23.  This year she set a goal of 40 blankets.  To date she’s collected 126 — and she’s still counting!!!

Aubrey’s mom (and Rob’s classmate) Jennifer McCarrick gave me permission to interview her daughter — and I’m so glad she did!  Aubrey is a busy young lady — active in her high school’s music and drama programs, interning at a recording studio, and preparing to be sworn in to the United States Marine Corps in May!  (Oh…and did I mention she just made the school’s Varsity Wrestling team?!)  I feel pretty lucky to have caught up with her at all!

But first: Why blankets?

“Blankets are very comforting objects,” says Aubrey.  “I figured with the cold, giving someone less fortunate a blanket will let them know someone does think of them.”  Aubrey took her original idea to her mom, who was excited and helped her design a flyer for advertising.  Aubrey then took the flyer to her high school’s athletic director (who’s in charge of all posters) and explained her initial idea and goal.  They set up a collection center at the high school, and the first collection was underway!

But fear moved in quickly.  “One of the challenges I was most worried about was collecting blankets in general.  My fear was running short and having to say to someone I’m sorry, but I ran out of blankets.”

Having a clear mission, and knowing an entire community was behind her, gave Aubrey the confidence to keep going.

“We can do this, if we work together.”

What Aubrey found was that people are very generous.  Many have donated brand new blankets.  Others have given her their entire linen closet!  “The easiest part was spreading the word.  The hardest part was finding room in my house for all the donations!”

This year, Aubrey set a goal of 40 blankets.  Her drive ended on November 23rd — and to date, she has beyond exceeded her goal: 126 blankets and still counting!

What’s the next step?

“The next step is to sort all the usable blankets, wash them, and start making care packages with the essentials.”  Each package will include a blanket or two, peanut butter, other small snacks, toiletries, etc. — to be distributed to those who need it in January (Aubrey’s birthday month).

Aubrey’s formula for Happyness?  “Find something you’re passionate about…and do what makes you smile at the end of the day.  For me, it’s helping others.”

So what about you Happyness Tribe?  Are you ready to help spread the warmth?!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: TWO WAYS to SPREAD THE WARMTH!!!

  1. This year’s blanket drive is over…but Aubrey still needs help assembling the care packages that go along with them.  Basic toiletries (like shampoo, soap, band-aids) and small snacks like peanut butter and granola bars are needed to make care packages enough to go with each blanket.  (To learn more about Aubrey’s Spread the Warmth campaign, contact her directly at aubreyjoanne@aol.com.)
  2. Aubrey poses a second challenge during this busy time of year: “disconnect as much as you can (from devices) and enjoy your company. Read a book, laugh at your favorite TV shows, or share coffee with a friend.”  In short…be a blanket of comfort to someone else!

“Be the person that you’d want to be friends with.” (Aubrey McCarrick)

Spread Happyness — Spread the Warmth!  Donate blankets or toiletries to those who need it — or be a virtual comfort to someone else!  (And don’t forget to tell us about in the comments!)

12/11/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

(Thanks to Aubrey McCarrick for taking the time out of her busy High School schedule to share her story.  And thanks to Jennifer McCarrick for permission to do so!  To learn more about Aubrey or her Spread the Warmth campaign, contact her directly at aubreyjoanne@aol.com.)

50 for #50 Toy Drive Update  (AS OF 12/12/15):
1. A football, Hot Wheels set, Loom activity set, 500-piece puzzle, toy construction vehicle, mini construction vehicle set, and a tea party set were donated to Toys for Tots.
2. Lego Friends toy donated at Turtleback Zoo Toy Drive.
3. Donation was made to Teterboro Animal Shelter
4. Donation was made to Endometriosis Foundation of America

Keep ’em coming!!!

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