We Look to the Light

For some, 2016 is a year many would like to forget. Between a crazy election year, violence across the globe, and a plethora of celebrity deaths, it’s been enough for many to easily say, “Thanks for nothin’, 2016.” We’ve had our own share of challenges on the homefront too. I can’t say this has been the best year ever.

BUT it bears mentioning that there have been some really exciting reasons to celebrate at CJSTUF this year.

10kmealfairies

This year, we hit a grand milestone: 10,000 served in our Meal Fairies program in just this year alone. That includes our programs at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, UVA Health Systems, and the Ronald McDonald House programs in Charlottesville and Richmond.

We also received TWO grants from Rite-Aid’s Kid-Cents program, one for $7500 in January and another for $5000 in December. Thanks to everyone who registered for the Kid-Cents program. If you missed it, you can still sign up. Every little bit counts.

For the third year in a row, Goddard Schools of Richmond partnered with CJSTUF for some amazing Fall and Winter fundraisers. While the totals are still rolling in, we know that we have received over $6000 from the area Goddard School programs. They held fundraisers ranging from spaghetti dinners to art auctions in honor of our organization. We are so grateful for this ongoing commitment from a great group of business owners.

Finally, we started our Mile of Fives campaign with a goal of collecting enough $5 donations that would, when stacked end to end, equal one mile. This would total about $50,000. Our goal for this year was to reach a little over $9,000 but I’m pretty sure we exceeded that goal. Stay tuned in January for an update on our progress.

All of these milestones give me hope. They are small lights that add up over time to create a beacon in the darkness. They keep me focused on the future instead of moping about the past (or the present). Thanks to you, our loyal supporters, we will go into 2017 with strength and courage to continue the work of our mission. We are ready to keep the Meal Fairies going strong…with even the possibility of expansion in the near future.

982e1-regalcj-bmpWith these words of thanks, I would like to remind everyone to make your own #Light4CJSTUF in honor of CJSTUF’s 7th anniversary, which coincides with the anniversary of Charlotte’s death. For the third year in a row, we invite you on January 7 to light a candle, take a picture, and post it to social media with the hashtag #Light4CJSTUF. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but you can post anywhere you like. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, you can tag @cjstuf as well. This has become a beautiful tradition that we (CJ’s family) cherishes each year. Thank you for helping us honor her memory in such a tangible way.

If you’re looking for more ways to make an impact, consider the following for your family’s goals for 2017:

  • Becoming a sustaining donor to CJSTUF with a monthly commitment to our organization. A donation of $10 per month helps us feed over 30 people in our Meal Fairies program.
  • Sign up to make a meal during one of our Ronald McDonald House volunteer dates. This is open to families with children, service organizations, or anyone interested in giving back.
  • Celebrate for CJ in 2017. Run a race in her honor. Ask for donations to CJSTUF in lieu of presents for a wedding, anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion. Host a butterfly social. It’s an easy way to contribute and every little bit makes a difference.

With great thanks,

Rachel Reynolds
CJ’s Mama

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