Please meet Shara Lawrence-Weiss
Connie Goldin ©2010, Mom to Madre
Shara Lawrence –Weiss is a woman who wears many hats-literally and figuratively. Not only is she a media marvel who manages seven websites for her various businesses, she is also the wife of Rick Weiss and mommy to three children. Shara is the force behind the very successful on-line business, Mommy Perks, and has a very strong presence on Facebook and Twitter.
A year ago Shara created a fundraiser called Twitter Hats for Charity. A fun idea of changing hats on her Twitter profile picture became a sought after fundraising opportunity. People paid her to wear their product as a “hat” on her Twitter picture, which raised funds for charities. Brilliant and stylish!
Recently Shara cut her long hair and donated the 12-inch long ponytail to kids experiencing hair loss from cancer treatments. Obviously this had been a project long in the making. This year she also found the energy to join Stacey Kannenberg‘s new blog for women, called Her Insight Media, featuring outstanding authors, bloggers, and professionals.
No wonder so many people follow Shara. She is a powerhouse who has an amazing ability to connect people and get things done. She also writes about family life and early childhood education. Here is a very nice look at the simple act of making cupcakes. All moms who lovingly make or have made baked goods for the classroom will find this significant. Shara has graciously let us post her article on our website. Mom to Madre takes off our hat to Shara Lawrence-Weiss!
Sucky cupcakes – but it’s all good in the end.
Some of you know that I love to bake cupcakes for my son’s classmates. Every year I try to come up with something special. The kids love it and although my son pretends to be humiliated, he knows that some of the kids in his room need this. Quite a few of them go without food at home – not to mention attention, nurturing, etc. I say this because I know, for a fact, after having visited their homes or having had them at my own house for sleepovers, meals and so on.
A while back I wrote to the DOLE PR company. I’ve worked with them in the past and I explained our town situation: small town, high rate of poverty, low government funding, etc. They don’t usually approve private donations but this time, they made an exception. They sent me some “free fruit bowl” coupons along with one $25 AMEX card. I stocked up on DOLE mandarin oranges and put them away, for the ‘right time.’
Today – my mom, dad and husband helped me get cupcakes ready to take to the school. I stopped by our local market to pick up candy corns so that I could make Turkey Cupcakes again. SOLD OUT. So I grabbed some frosting and Junior Mints. We made the cupcakes, topped them with orange frosting and added a Junior Mint to each one.
I thought: “These suck. These are sucky cupcakes. Lame.”
I know, from talking with the school, that several kids go hungry over the long weekends. Our local Senior Center runs a free Thanksgiving Dinner but other than that, some of them will go without food until school resumes on Monday. I hate that thought. Man – I hate that thought. Food is such a basic need and without it, how can these kids hope to climb the ladder on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – to reach a potential status of self actualization where they will feel ready to be all they are meant to be?
As a mother, these things worry me. They sadden me. I look at my children and I think: “Kids need love and affection. They
need food and shelter, clothing and self esteem. They need someone to make it clear that they matter in this world so they will grow up to care about others, empathize with human needs and exhibit social-emotional understanding.” Without these skills, neglected children are more likely to become angry, bitter, resentful adults. People then dislike them but really – it all began in early childhood. Everything begins in early childhood.
As I thought about all of this earlier, I went to the pantry and pulled more food out. My mother said, “Um. I like those chips.” I replied, “You’ll get over it. I can buy more.” LOL.
My husband and I walked into the school with cupcakes, a big bag of single-pack chips, a large container full of kiwi fruit and the DOLE fruit bowls. I told the teacher: “If the kids don’t take the fruit, it’s okay. I’ll pick it back up. I’m just hoping some of them might eat it…along with the sweets. Or take some home in their backpacks.”
We returned later to find…nothing left. GONE. Everything GONE. My son said, “All of the kids grabbed the fruit really quickly, mom!”
So – I’ve learned a valuable lesson today. Although they liked my fancy cupcakes last year, they still happily ate the sucky ones this year ALONG with fresh fruit. Come Christmas time, I’ll figure out a way to donate a large selection of fruit that the kids can stick inside their backpacks…
I told my husband: “You know. I realize that feeding them this small amount of food isn’t going to fix the hunger problem. But I know, from research, that brain chemistry is modified when a person knows that someone cares about them. So even if my sucky cupcakes and kiwi fruit don’t keep them full all weekend, I hope the knowledge that someone cares will fill them with hope. And maybe that matters just as much as the food.”
I really hope so. I can’t prove that another mother caring about someone’s children helps, but I hope so…
P.S. December 16 Shara filled 150+ goodie bags filled with snacks and treats for the needy school kids in her town!
The cupcake photo in the thumbprint is the property of Mommy Perks.