Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Updates and Donations!

My parents from Oregon are coming on this trip with us, and are excited to be bringing some suitcases with them as well. They've done some shopping on their own, and have received a donation of school supplies from their good friends Eric and LeeAnn. Thanks so much!

If that news wasn't exciting enough, there has been lots of other news to report.

  • This blog received it's 600th hit on August 28, 2012. 
  • The Facebook page received it's 50th "like" on August 29, 2012.
  • A fellow runner who owns a page called Run Sally Run shared Soleful Suitcases with her readership, and now more we have offers of shoes to gather!!
  • The Olathe Jazzercise West location continues to receive donations at the drop box located there.
  • I am working on getting the suitcases ready for departure, including painting the outsides so everyone knows where they are coming from.
  • We have an event scheduled at The Scrapbook Page in Shawnee, KS for October 6, 2012. Plan to come in, make a great card, say hello, shop, and have a fun afternoon. More details to come.
  • We got a video projector!!

Thank you all for your continued support and encouraging words. I can't say that enough.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Big Dreams Thank You

You may remember back on July 18 I asked if anyone out there had a video projector that they would be willing to donate to Servite Primary School in Brown's Town. I really threw it out there thinking I could ask all I wanted, but needed to be realistic about things, and that item would have to remain on the "Think Big, Dream Big" list I have in my head.
Well folks, it is time to cross one off the list!
That weekend I'd opened my mouth while running with some great ladies at the KC Express weekly long run. I remember standing in line at the bagel shop next to Alisa Mueller, and telling her what Mrs. Crawford had requested for the school. I remember clearly thinking that I would never be able to bring this big request to her, and that Mrs. Crawford and the kids would have to be happy with pencils and crayons. Alisa said she would make some calls and ask around and see if she could locate one.
Alisa came through! This past Saturday after our long run, while enjoying some yummy breakfast food, she gave me a case, and in it held a video projector, just like the one that Mrs. Crawford is hoping for. I'm not going to tell Mrs. Crawford it is coming; I'm going to let her be surprised. I'm going to let Mrs. Crawford, and her Big Dream of providing quality education for the kids at Servite Primary School come true.

Thank you Alisa Mueller. You are the reason this Big Dream is coming true.

Thank you Cultura Technologies, Alisa's employer, for the donation of the video projector. Your generosity will enable 700+ children this year, and many more years to come, to be able to receive an education like they haven't received before. They will get to see lessons that their teachers have just been talking about. Their lessons will come to life.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

50 Pairs of Shoes!!

Yesterday, (Friday) I picked up 7 more pairs of women's shoes from the drop box at Olathe Jazzercise West. That makes 50 pairs of donated shoes! Wow! Wow! Wow! I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to bring these to Jamaica. The people there are going to be so thankful.

Thank you Olathe West Jazzercise for all your donations! You can find them on facebook too!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What $40 Shopping Trip Looks Like

Last week Pinnacle Gymnastics agreed to sponsor the checked baggage fees for one suitcase, AND fill it with school supplies. So, lucky me, I had to go shopping! Using a few coupons, some sales, and overall smart shopper-ness (yes, that is a word!) I was able to purchase the following items for Servite Primary School. I can't wait to give it all to them, and let them know Pinnacle Gymnastics is the reason they have it.

Thank you Pinnacle Gymnastics! Be sure to find them on facebook as well!

Picture Includes:
8 boxes of 24 count crayons
8 boxes of 12 count colored pencils
5 spiral notebooks
4 wooden rulers
24 blue ink pens
24 glue sticks
2 sets of flash cards
3 sets of watercolor paints
4 sets of 600+ "good job" stickers
3 large teacher wall charts
6 medium size teacher wall charts

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thank You Olathe West Jazzercise Center

Wow! Thank you Olathe West Jazzercise Center and Tina Stueve, the owner, for allowing a drop box to be placed in the center. I picked up 12 pairs of shoes, some school supplies, and 8 pairs of women's socks. Amazing! Just amazing!

When I told Tina about this project, she was on board from the start. She has so kindly allowed a drop box to be placed in the center and has informed everyone to attends the center about what is going on, why, and who will be helped out. I've been Jazzercising with Tina off and on in between kids and life for almost 10 years. Tina is encouraging, energetic, and joyful. She wants to help you succeed, and you can see that from the minute you meet her. Tina pushes you to do your best.

Tina owns two Jazzercise Centers in Olathe. You should check them out. Tell them Soleful Suitcases sent you, and you certainly won't be sorry.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

500 Hits!?!

500 hits, or views to this blog. 500! That is the number we crossed this evening, and the day isn't even over yet.
I am amazed and humbled daily by the support and generosity of kind people that continue to give to those in need. I feel as though I am constantly giving a "Thank You" to someone, and I love doing that. I love that I have been able to reach so many people (500!) with the message that I'm sending out; share the shoes, share the love, share the world. 

So thank you for being a part of this journey with me. Thank you for sharing your shoes, socks, and school supplies with the people of Jamaica. Thank you for sharing your love, one little token at a time.

More Shoes

The ladies of KC Express donated two more pairs of shoes! Thank you!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Huge Thank You!

What a day Soleful Suitcases had yesterday. From start to finish, it just did not disappoint. I started out the day trying to get more "likes" on our facebook page and find some businesses who'd be interested in sponsoring a suitcase. Then I emailed my friend from high school, Shelbi Wescott-Sherman, about having her design a business card size tag that I can attach to the shoes for easy identification of shoe size. Shelbi got back to me late last night with a design, and a donation - enough to cover the baggage fees for a suitcase! YAHOO!

So, let me introduce you to Shelbi Sherman, and her business, Printable Parties, Inc.

Shelbi and I went to high school together in West Linn, OR. We graduated in 1998 and went our own ways. My path led me to Kansas, and her's took her all the way to Japan to teach English. She has since come home, married Matt, whom we also went to high school with, become a high school English and Yearbook teacher, and has two adorable little boys. Shelbi launched her business, Printable Parties, Inc earlier this year on Etsy and facebook after successfully hosting some great parties and having everyone ask her were her great decorations came from. Now she shares those great decorations, which come personalized for your event, for incredibly low costs available on Etsy or direct contact via facebook. Shelbi did the decorations for my son's 4th birthday just this past July. He had a Batman/Superhero party and after talking with her just for a few minutes about what I wanted, she came back with banners, water bottle/juice box wrappers, cup cake toppers, buffet food tents, party invites, thank you notes, and wall decorations. They all matched and she made any kind of tweeks I wanted. I was so pleased with them, and received a ton of compliments on them. For your next event - birthday party, bridal or baby shower, end of summer bash, or holiday party, consider using Shelbi and Printable Parties, Inc for your needs. You won't be disappointed. She can be reached via email as well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pinnacle Gymnastics - Huge Thanks!

Wow, what a day for Soleful Suitcases.

I've started to email and message businesses asking for their support in sponsoring the baggage fees or filling the insides of a suitcase. I am offering what I can in return; a huge thank you, links from this blog and our facebook page back to them, public thank yous on facebook and here, word of mouth, and the chance to have people from Jamaica say thank you as well. Today, someone decided to help me out.

Pinnacle Gymnastics, LLC, located at 83rd and K-7 in Shawnee has offered to sponsor the baggage fees AND fill a suitcase with supplies. THANK YOU!

My son Jax has been a student at Pinnacle for over a year now learning all that a 4 year old can learn, and loving it. His coaches have been fantastic, the support staff wonderful, and the owner, Morgan Kuchynka, a good friend. When I sent her an email today outlining the basics of what we are doing, and how I'm trying to accomplish that, she sent back an email shortly asking how she could help. It was just that quick. And then came her offer to sponsor the baggage fees AND fill a suitcase with school supplies. I am learning to never take for granted the kindness that others are showing me with this project.

So, if you've got a kid or two that is interested in gymnastics, check out Pinnacle. They offer a free trial class,  classes for all ages (include adult ones!), a great pre-school program that Jax participated in over the summer, parents night out, summer camps, open gym time, and more. They have two locations in the Johnson County area. Be sure to let them know Soleful Suitcases sent you.

Shawnee Location
23803 W 83rd Terrace
Shawnee, KS 66227
P: (913) 422-0161
Overland Park Location
12505 Hemlock Dr.
Overland Park, KS 66213
P: (913) 239-0031

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Looking for a few good companies

Are you a small business owner looking for a way to make a big impact with your advertising dollars? Want to help out a great cause at the same time? Do you work for a large company willing to help out the small projects? Well, look no further.

I'm looking for a few companies to sponsor a suitcase and pay the baggage fees to get it all the way to Jamaica. For as little as $25 you would get shout outs on Facebook and this blog. You would get a link/ad on this blog. You would get word of mouth from me to everyone I tell about your good deed. You would get signage on the actual suitcase you sponsor.

You would get the thanks of 700+ school children who would have new school supplies because you helped get them there.

Please consider helping out, or contacting your HR department to see if they would. Right now I have enough donations to fill 3 suitcases, but as long as I keep getting donations, I'm going to figure out how to get them to Jamaica. Where there is a will, there is a way, and I have the will.

$25 (first 3 companies or people to commit and donate) sponsors a suitcase baggage fees, and includes all the advertising and shout-outs I can give you.

$40 fills a suitcase full of school supplies and socks, and I do the shopping for you. Also includes every kind of link I can throw your way.

$50 each suitcase after the first 3 will cover the baggage fees, and gets you lots of shout outs and links.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fun News!

My running group, KC Express, has put up some information and links to here and the facebook page. I'm excited! Thanks KC Express!

The blog has received over 400 hits now. Wow. Just wow. I'm so pleased that my "little project" has been so well received by everyone I tell, and that people have generously opened their hearts to give to people they've never met. Thanks!

And, big news is coming. I'm waiting till I have "product in hand", but lemme tell ya, big news people. B.I.G.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pair #29

Thank you Kim Garber for pair #29 in our shoe donation drive! Kim has been waxing my eyebrows for over 3 years now, and when I told her what I was doing, she thought it was a pretty cool idea. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Another pair of shoes!

I received another pair of shoes today from Kerri Hutchinson at KC Express! Thanks so much.

Her son was just in Kingston on a mission trip. He took 2 full suitcases of items to donate to the people there. Each person on his mission trip did that. Way to go!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oregon Is Collecting Too

Hey Oregon followers!

If you are in the Prineville/Redmond/Bend area and want to help out by adding to this growing pile of items going to Jamaica, let me know! Or, if you're in Portland or some other place in Oregon and want to help out, lemme know that too. We have at least two Soleful Suitcases traveling to Jamaica, and there is room in them for lots of donations. Check out the start of the suitcases, and please add to them.