Handing one of the boxes of Zhu Zhu Pets off to the Hometown Christmas chairperson Kay Marshall!
About a month ago I was informed that I was chosen by Cepia (the amazing company who makes the ever popular Zhu Zhu Pets) as one of the bloggers to participate in their “Random Acts of Zhu”. Random Acts of Zhu was established last year by Cepia as a way to provide toys to children in need. Each blogger chosen received 104 Zhu Zhu Pet toys to donate to a charity of his or her choice. Perhaps the best thing about the Random Acts of Zhu is the fact that it allows the chosen bloggers to make an impact at the local level and I was very excited about that!
One of the children who attended our Hometown Christmas celebration proudly displaying her new Zhu Zhu Pet!The town that I live in is a very small, country town (it's actually, officially called a village) we have one stop light, 2 nationally recognizable restaurants, 3 gas stations, and a Dollar General Store; no grocery stores, no Wal Mart...nothing. I was born and raised here and have lived within a one block radius nearly my entire life. I live on the same street that my mother grew up on, two houses down from my the house my great grandparents lived in when I was a baby...this town has history for me. From the time I was very little I always dreamed of having my own children one day and raising them here, but our town has gone downhill fast and is only a shadow of what it was when I was younger. Drugs have taken hold of our town in the worst way; from having friends that I've known since I was in diapers OD on drugs to seeing people that I went to school with wasting away from drugs...it's gotten extremely bad. Add to that the fact that the majority of the residents in our town have an income well below the poverty line and you start to see the picture I see daily. Though the situations that the adults find themselves in are sad what's worse are the children who are subjected to all of the things that go on here on a daily basis, it breaks my heart to look at a child and know that his or her life is pure hell.
When I found out that I would be participating in Random Acts of Zhu I knew exactly where my donation would go, to our town's annual Hometown Christmas celebration! For the past 20 years Kay Marshall has been orchestrating our Hometown Christmas and bringing holiday happiness to so many deserving families in not only our town, but the surrounding towns as well. Aberdeen's Hometown Christmas is held annually, usually the second Saturday in December, and is a much anticipated highlight for the children of our town. Each person in attendance is asked to bring a canned food donated for our local food bank, but no one is turned away for being unable to contribute. In addition to the lighting of the town Christmas tree and carols there is a chili supper complete with chili, hot dogs, cookies, and drinks all generously donated and free to everyone. One of the highlights of the evening is the visit from Santa, children (and their parents) line up eagerly anticipating their visit with Santa. After having a chance to talk to Santa each child is given a bag of goodies (usually including some fruits and candy) and a toy or two (all donated by local businesses and individuals). While Santa is for sure a big cause of excitement the undisputed highlight of the night for the kids is the opportunity to receive a toy or two. Sadly our Hometown Christmas is as close as some of the children in attendance get to a real Christmas, and knowing that through my blog I helped to bring smiles to so many little faces that night warmed my heart! Thanks to Cepia I was able to donate 104 Zhu Zhu Pet toys to our Hometown Christmas celebration, having the chance to bring a little Christmas joy to so many deserving children is what the holidays are all about to me. I hope that by being there and seeing all of the little faces light up with their new toys, my own children were inspired to give and give big whenever possible!
I'd like to take this chance to thank Cepia on behalf of the children of Aberdeen, you have no idea how much of a difference you made with a few small toys...thank you!