Thanksgiving season is here! And while the turkeys and pumpkins are awesome….so is the GIVING and the THANKS!!!
Shortly after Jake was born, Paul and I started looking for an experience we could do as a family around Thanksgiving to help him experience how good it feels to GIVE and help other people. We looked into a few things, but most things either weren’t “kid friendly” or quite honestly, they just weren’t a safe environment for kids.
So, we decided to create our own charity! Using the amazing model given to us by our friend and mentor Tony Robbins from his International Basket Brigade, Paul and I founded the Philly Basket Brigade!
What we love about the Basket Brigade approach is that it is NOT a handout, it’s a GIFT!
Paul and I are parents and we have small kids, and we know how kids are about food and liking things the way they are used to having them. I know my own kids won’t even eat waffles anywhere out because they aren’t like the waffles we make at home.
Actually, when we first started talking about doing this, I had a vision of a mama on the food line with her kids and the littlest one pulling on her in tears because someone put gravy on her potatoes and she doesn’t like gravy on her potatoes, but the mom knows she can only get one plate of food and can’t do anything about that for her little child.
I’ve never actually told anyone about that vision, except Paul. But every time Basket Brigade season starts and I begin to excite, inspire, and engage everyone possible to help feed more families, it’s that little girl’s tear-stained face looking at the gravy on her mashed potatoes that I see in my mind.
I just want that little girl to be in her OWN home on Thanksgiving Morning! I want her to mix the batter for the cake that SHE is helping her mama to make! I want her to smell her grandma’s sweet potatoes in the oven and have her turkey on HER OWN favorite plate, with NO gravy and an extra buttered corn muffin exactly the way she likes it!
And there are thousands of these little girls…and boys….waiting to find out if they will be lucky enough to receive one of the Philly Basket Brigade GIFTS this year for Thanksgiving!
But the Philly Basket Brigade is not just for the kids who receive the baskets full of groceries!
The Philly Basket Brigade is a by KIDS, for KIDS charity. All our baskets are decorated (like a present) by kids (ages 4 months to high school)! All our baskets are packed by kids at our Big Fun Philly Basket Brigade Event on the Sunday before Thanksgiving!
As all the kids come into the event that day, Paul gathers them and tells them all about how POWERFUL they are! How much they can make a difference! At their young age, they can change someone’s life today by creating a GIFT for them for Thanksgiving! He tells them about the KIDS who are waiting for their baskets and all about how the kids love to look at all the decorations on every box! He talks to them about feeling that GREAT feeling inside knowing how much good they are doing for other kids today and to ENJOY that feeling!
See, for Paul and I, the Philly Basket Brigade is as much for the children who do the GIVING as it is for the children who get to RECEIVE!
The Brigade Day Event is one of the most amazing experiences! More than 100 volunteers and all the kids come in, the kids decorate all the boxes with stickers and turkeys and color them with markers and write Happy Thanksgiving on every box! Then all the kids take their places along the assembly line – some at mashed potatoes, some at canned corn, and some lucky ones who get their early and get their spot at the marshmallows or cake mix! With the help of their parents, the kids pack every box that goes through…with groceries and with love!
Then the parents start loading all the boxes into the cars, and with their kids, drive out to our food bank distribution centers. Some of the kids even get to see the receiving families come and get their baskets…with big smiles and lots of excitement, these kids get to see what it looks like when someone receives the gift you have created for them!
Last year we fed 500 families! It was really magical!
This year, our goal is to feed 1,000 families! And our kids are really excited to do it!!!
What are your kids excited about doing for Thanksgiving? And how can you create a safe and fun giving experience for them that becomes a tradition?
We welcome you to join in our tradition! Join the Philly Basket Brigade!!! Take your kids to the website: www.PhillyBasketBrigade.com. Donate to feed a family (or 3 families).
Then ask your kids….”how many families do YOU want to feed this year?” Help them to set their own GIVING goal and start getting excited! Help them to email friends and family (we have pre-written emails), let them go out and collect to GIVE to others! And if you are local, sign up to volunteer at the Philly Basket Brigade Event on the Sunday before Thanksgiving!
We hope you will join us and give your kids the joyful fulfillment of GIVING this Thanksgiving….and every year to come!