Evenings With Emmalyn: Episode 2

Featuring a local Cape Cod woman giving back to those who have been isolating for medical reasons with a fun outdoor activity, a Quincy Police Officer who surprised a local family with a very special pizza delivery, and of course your weekly motivation with JT’s Positive 5!

Headbands for Heroes: Local Business Owner Helps Those Who Help Us

BOSTON- When Shop The Cue owner Lindsay Reilly watched a heartbreaking video of a New York nurse taking off her mask to reveal raw and bleeding her ears after wearing protective equipment all day long, she knew she had to do something to help. As Reilly saw the nurse fashion a homemade headband after a long, 12 hour shift, she had one thought. “There was a nurse spending their time when they get home after a 12 hour shift to put buttons on a headband to solve their problems. We should be able to do that, especially since I had a sewing background and a sewing machine,” explains Reilly.

Quickly, Reilly and her team at Shop The Cue got to work on headbands that could be used to protect the ears of those wearing masks by holding them together with buttons. “We had such a powerful network platform, I just asked myself: How can we use that to make a difference in the most impactful way with these headbands?” Once the word of her good work got out, the response grew overwhelmingly as nearly 600 orders flew in within a matter of days. Despite the positive reaction, this meant a bit of a struggle for Reilly. “I’d order fabric or buttons and it wasn’t coming as expected so the need got bigger. We got bombarded with orders,” she explains. It didn’t take long for the shop owner to realize she was going to need an extra hand in getting them together. “There was no way we could keep up.”

As a small business, Lindsay says it’s been a whole new ball game working in a situation where the products are newly developed and an immediate need. “Normally, you develop a product, market it, produce it and we have time to do that. In this case, one of my girls is going through all of the emails of people who are really in crucial need of these.” Watching the order numbers go up as their material stock and the ability to fulfill orders quickly went down, Shop The Cue’s network made a plea for help on social media that brought in an outpouring of support from the community. “Everyone in the community reached out, small businesses or friendly neighbors or Cue supporters to help build kits. We created kits for people to pick up on the curbside to help sew them within a matter of days.” One gentleman named Chris of Custom Sports Sleeves in Worcester approached Lindsay and her team with a generous offer that would help her not only reach her goal to fill current orders, but keep production going strong for the new ones flowing in. “He said ‘Hey, I have the material, we’re local and we can do this for you in a day. What do you think?’ Immediately I just said ‘You are an angel, and yes!'” Other businesses like Christa Hagearty of Dependable Cleaners and a local salon owner in Quincy also stepped up to help out. “It’s really the small businesses that are coming together, and that’s where the impact that’s being made the most.”

Looking closely at every order coming in, she began to notice urgent requests for headbands are now coming from outside the healthcare field as well. “The last few days, I would say we’re noticing that it’s not just the nurses. We’re having people from police stations, a local bakery who needed headbands baking all week for Easter weekend, we have one restaurant that just bought 50 of them because workers for takeout are wearing the masks as well.”

Yet the response from those that have received their headbands reminds her every day that their hard work is worth every minute. “They send us before and afters of their ears of how much it was helping them, how they love seeing the small businesses come together. It’s the little things, and being a small business I can see if there is any sort of problem and fix it that day.” The only problem Lindsay says she’s encountered: trying to get to everyone as quickly as she can, without those in the most dire need paying a dime. “We’ve had to do completed -or not completed-at least 2,000 headbands just after week one,” she explained. “We have a fund that people donated to so nurses don’t spend a dollar, but if you’re reaching out to buy one for a friend or family member you can do that as well.”

Are you or is someone you love in need of a headband? Head on over to Shop The Cue to get yours or request one for a front-line worker here: https://shopthecue.com/collections/giveback

Camping With A Cause: The Story of Camp Hale

SANDWICH, NH- Nestled on the peaceful shores of Squam Lake in New Hampshire, the Camp Hale grounds serve as more than just a getaway from the hustle & bustle of Boston. First incorporated in 1900 and now one of the oldest camps in the country, its mission is to offer children from Boston neighborhoods that may not otherwise have the opportunity a “refreshing, enlightening and meaningful camping experience.”

“It’s been a lifesaver for a lot of people and taught them about love, community, diversity and how to deal with it,” says Aaron Dushku, Vice President of the Camp Hale Alumni Association who recalls many years he worked summers at the Camp. “The friendships that you make in those situations.. there’s 8 kids in a cabin together, they don’t know each other when they show up yet they create lifelong bonds because they go back year after year.” Today, the Camp is attended mostly by children from the South End and lower Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston. Though the camp may have brought in children from many different areas of the city and of all ethnicities over the years, some things remain the same. “The camp program has songs and activities, of course time on the lake. You see the way things change like the telephone game over the years, but you also see a lot of traditions that stay the same.”

For Aaron, serving on the Camp Hale Board was a family tradition that he was proud to be a part of. “Our family gains so much from Camp because of what it gave to my dad. He grew up in a rough neighborhood. People who grew up in these neighborhoods came from difficult circumstances.” Aaron’s father, who was an active member of the organization, decided to also his own children to Camp Hale. There was only one problem: since it was a dedicated boys’ camp, his daughter was not able to attend. “My little sister is an actress (Eliza Dushku) and she watched as her three older brothers went to camp every summer and was bummed she couldn’t go. Over the years, she saw how dedicated our family was to the camp.”

This inspired the actress to use her talents to help give back to the organization in a special way that would forever change the future of Camp Hale. In a 2009 celebrity basketball shootout, Eliza was able to raise $60,000 in heels as she dominated a game of Horse that she used to fund the beginning of a girls’ program at the Camp. She didn’t just stop there, however. “She also auctioned off clothes from different television shows she’d been in and got some of her friends to donate in Hollywood,” explains her brother Aaron. Eliza’s efforts transformed Camp Hale from being strictly a boys’ camp to offering a program that would be welcoming young women as well.

Overall, Aaron estimates the Camp Hale Alumni Association has raised several million dollars to sponsor inner-city youth to go to camp, and it’s an organization shows no signs of stopping. “The alumni just keep coming back, and we have a really active situation,” says Aaron.

Unfortunately, the organization’s most anticipated charity event of the year that was slated for this spring had to be put on hold until November due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Yet that doesn’t mean this year’s coveted Casino night will be anything short of spectacular. “This is our big one,” says Aaron, describing the catered event by Chilacates that emanates an old-Boston feel in a setting surrounded by gaming tables provided by Boston Charity Casinos. Given the current circumstances, “Every single one of our vendors have been wonderful,” says Aaron.

With so many events being rescheduled, there’s quite a bit we can fill our calendar up with for the fall. Personally, I’m making sure Camp Hale Alumni Association’s Casino Night is one I don’t miss! If you can’t make it there yourself, no worries. Look forward to a video coming on the big event this fall!

Helping From Home: Miss Pink Organization Asks For Cards

It’s the reason why places like Hallmark make so much money: a simple card is a quick and easy way to say everything from I love you, to happy birthday, or even just a ‘Hey, I’m thinking of you.’ The thing we forget from time to time as we rush between soccer practices and parties or back and forth to the grocery store for toilet paper is that ultimately, it’s the thought that counts. Which is why I’m encouraging you to grab whatever you have on hand regardless of if that is a stack of blank cards, construction paper and markers, the whole family or a friend over FaceTime to get started on making someone’s day just a little bit brighter.

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, we all know that people around the world are struggling in many different ways. At the Miss Pink Organization, they understand the everyday struggle of those who have had or are currently battling cancer to both avoid the virus at all costs to protect their weakened immune systems while still receiving chemotherapy treatments. “Right now, anybody going to a hospital to have chemotherapy or anything relating to fighting cancer- you’re going in by yourself. Most of the time that’s a 5, 6, 7, 8 hour day hooked up to a machine. At this point, I don’t even know if they’re letting them walk around in the hospital. They’re just there with nobody to hold their hand, nobody to talk to,” says Fabianna Marie, Director of Pink Warrior Relations & Miss Pink 2017 who is a survivor herself. What originally started as an idea to set up a team to FaceTime the warriors blossomed into a major mission: collecting handwritten cards from as many people as possible to help bring a smile to those going through treatment. Fabianna told me about one of the warriors she recently spoke to, and why she believes these cards will make such a big impact. “She’s 28 years old with a one year old child. When she was going for her infusion she was all alone. For her, me FaceTiming helped- it just made the difference between sitting there and feeling so bad for yourself hooked up to a machine where you know you’re going to be sick afterwards and then let’s put the pandemic on top of it all.”

The pandemic has added a never-before-seen level of stress for many of the warriors Fabianna has gotten to know through the Miss Pink organization, including herself. “When someone is immunocompromised, it changes everything,” she explains. “You don’t look immunocompromised on the outside, so nobody understands that I’m still going through it if I go outside the house. It’s a huge deal to stay home and be proactive with your own health when lot of people aren’t worried that .” Her own family has had some very difficult decisions to make in recent weeks. “My husband has been a Boston foreman on a construction site, and was the only one going outside the house. His major concern was, nobody else could bring (the virus) into our home other than him. So for him, it was the push and pull of: Do I go to my job and make money for my family, or do I stay home and take that worry off our plate? Until the government put that ban into place, he had planned to tell his boss that he would prefer to be laid off. He was scared,” she admits. Yet through this struggle, Fabianna is well aware that she is far from alone. “Anybody that’s going through that, we’re all scared. There is no other way to put it because we don’t know about tomorrow. We don’t know where this is going at this point.”

HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: There IS something you can do about it! Just making a card with sweet notes of encouragement can bring a moment of peace to those who need it most. It’s a simple action that can not only help you pass the time during your quarantine (BIG SHOUT OUT TO YOU if you are staying home to protect others!!!!) but also serve as a fun activity to do with the kids, your significant other, or your best friends over video chat. If you have a bit extra to spare, you can even go the extra mile of chipping in a gas or grocery card for your warriors to help them make it through this time financially as well.

To see mine, check out the video I made below! (Please be kind as I test out a new editing tool this week working solely from my smartphone.):

More about The Miss Pink Organization: Our mission is to relieve stress of the financial burden that can occur during cancer treatment. This can be due to leave of absence from work, lost income or fixed income. We offer support through meals, childcare, cleaning services, gas and grocery cards, and other special circumstances that can interrupt the effectiveness of treatment on a case by case basis.