BEAR Some Gifts This Holiday Season

Mission Statement
BEAR…BE A Resource for CPS Kids is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides hope and help for abused and neglected children and the caseworkers who protect them within Harris County.

Hey everyone, I’m back! Yay! And I’ve missed this. I have to say that I’m disappointed in myself for the lack of volunteering and posting I’ve done in the last 3 months, but I’m ready to pick up where I’ve left off. There were some things I had to resolve and I’m feeling like myself again now. This post won’t necessarily be a volunteer spotlight (ok maybe a little), but rather an idea to maybe inspire you this holiday season!

Last year, I hosted my first Annual BEAR a Gift Party. It was a lot of fun and so worth all of the prepping and time spent on getting everything ready. Everyone loves a good themed party, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to do some good while we’re at it!

The point of the party was to provide toys for kids that may not otherwise get anything. My dad’s work with at-risk juveniles has always been inspiring to me, which is largely why I chose BEAR as the organization I wanted to contribute to. The toys were donated to youth in the CPS system; which includes approximately 17,000 children in Harris County alone. These are kids that have seen it all — and being provided with a new toy that is 100% their own gives them a sense of hope and comfort. Anybody could come to my party, but in order to get in, you’d have to bring one unwrapped toy valued at $10 or more. The turnout was pretty good and some people went above and beyond and brought more than one toy! One of my favorite parts of the night was listening to people explain why they picked the toy that they did.

These aren’t the best pictures (who knew 11 months ago that I would be posting this on my future blog lol), but hopefully it gives you some ideas if you’d like to host a “toy drive party” of your own. I made special holiday themed drinks, snacks, and had a backdrop for photo ops!



Overall, we ended up with around 40 toys to donate. How awesome is that! I can’t wait to host my second Annual BEAR a Gift Party this year and I hope to surpass the number of toys we collected last year! If you’d like to come, purchase a toy to bring and mark your calendars for December 10th!

Side note, I’ll also be volunteering on Thanksgiving Day with Operation Turkey as a driver, so if you’d like to help out an awesome cause and get some Thanksgiving meals out to the homeless in Houston, sign up here! If I don’t see you there, then I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We truly have a lot to be thankful for. 🙂

*To report a suspected case of child abuse, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at (800) 252-5400. The hotline is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reports can also be made here.

Volunteer with BE A Resource

More info on the BEARing Gifts Program

Celebrate Everything,

Turnip for June’s Charity Spotlight: Recipe for Success


Mission Statement
Recipe for Success Foundation is dedicated to combating childhood obesity by changing the way our children understand, appreciate and eat their food, and by educating and mobilizing the community to provide healthier diets for children.

This is an organization that I was really excited to come across while doing my research for new-to-me local charities. I was overweight as a child and have battled EDNOS from the age of 12. I fully believe that healthy habits should be taught from a young age and I love the ideals behind Recipe for Success.

In order to volunteer, I first had to attend an orientation. I feel so lucky that two people wanted to join me this month – my aunt and a friend! We went to the orientation, which lasts about an hour, and learned all about the foundation and different ways that we could help.

One thing that really stuck out to me is that Recipe for Success is in the process of breaking ground on a new project, Hope Farms. According to their website, they have 7.58 acres dedicated to farming fresh, affordable produce in Sunnyside – one of Houston’s largest food deserts. What is a food desert? It can be defined as a geographic area where fresh, nutritious food options are scarce, and there can sometimes be an absence of large grocery stores as well. It gets better. Hope Farms will also provide jobs and internships for youth in Sunnyside, as well as provide jobs to United States Veterans. It really is an amazing concept and I cannot wait to volunteer there once it “opens.”

Going onto another program, I have also always considered myself to be entrepreneurial, so another one of Recipe for Success’ curriculum’s interested me: Farmers MarKIDS. This program teaches kids all about business. They first have to harvest their own produce (kids love seeing the fruits of their labor…literally!). Next, they have to promote their produce stand by marketing and advertising. Lastly, they have to operate their stand. Setting the prices and dealing with money is the tip of the iceberg {lettuce}. It really gives kids full control and results in new skills that can be applied throughout their life.

It doesn’t stop there. Recipe for Success also implements food programs into schools around Houston, gives healthy culinary lessons, and holds a summer camp for kids. This is how I spent my June 13th.


My aunt and I volunteered at the summer camp and got to assist in teaching the kids about gardens, healthy eating, and cooking. The theme this week is Marco Polo and a different country will be explored each day. Yesterday’s country was Italy. What was on the menu? Linguine with oven roasted tomatoes and kale. For dessert we whipped up a banana, strawberry, and mango sorbet. Yum!


It was so much fun and the kids were engaged the entire 6 hours. Besides getting to cook our meal from scratch (yes, even the pasta – see below!), they participated in a scavenger hunt in a community garden and taste tested celery and carrots with soy sauce, clover honey, salt, cocoa powder, and lemon, ultimately figuring out what combinations they liked best.


I had a great time volunteering for Recipe for Success and will be working the summer camp on Friday, June 17th as well. If you would like to volunteer with me in July and help me showcase a different charity, please head over to my Contact page and send me a message!

Recipe for Success Homepage

Donate to Hope Farms

Volunteer for Recipe for Success

Celebrate Everything,