Moms in Training

Disclaimer: I was asked to share the information below with you. My personal connection to the fight against Cancer was enough of a reason to say yes.

Moms In Training

If you are a busy mom (aren’t we all?) looking for a reason to run, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Western PA and West Virginia has a program for you. The Moms in Training program is designed to give moms the training they need and help to find a cure for blood cancer at the same time.

This is a modified version of the LLS ‘Team in Training’ program, designed specifically for moms. Currently, the LLS of Western PA and West Virginia is recruiting moms who want to train to run or walk a 5k (or further), meet other moms, and raise money for this cause. Moms in Training meets every Saturday at 9 AM at Pittsburgh parks (such as Schenley Park) for 75-90 minutes.

With the Pittsburgh Marathon coming up, this is a perfect opportunity for moms in the area. Marathon not for you? Consider the Half, Relay, or 5k. Busy that day? No worries – I already committed to run for another charity, but am able to join the program and train for an event later in the year. We all have to start somewhere, so why not here?

The commitment: Raise $500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Western PA and West Virginia by the day of your event. You don’t have to do this alone! I met up with Jordan and Sara, our local LLS Fundraising gurus, and they have plenty of ideas to help you achieve this goal. 

What you get in return: Training Schedule (run with the other Moms in Training on Saturdays, with a plan), Coaching (from certified coach Kim Bell), Workshops on topics like nutrition and stretching, Socializing (Moms have to have fun, too!), Team Environment (training is easier with a friend!).

As a mom, the Moms in Training team knows it’s not easy to work out with kids. If your child can remain in the stroller, they’re welcome to join you. If your kids are older and can run along with you, they can come along.

And dads? You’re welcome, too.

If you’d like more information on this opportunity, please check out their Facebook Page and ask for more information.

Super Hero Cape

Tonight we were taking some photos to send over to The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project for a special video montage. Arianna asked if her tote bag was a super hero cape.

Well, let me think about that one.

If super heroes come up with amazing ideas to begin a Project that helps our neighbors carry food from the pantry to the bus to home using reusable grocery tote bags, then yes, it is a super hero cape (and has been evidenced at PodCamp!)

If super heroes find a way to turn one tote bag into 153 plus way more a year later and then into joining the Steering Committee of that Project, then yes, a tote bag is a Super Hero Cape.

If super heroes find ways to coupon for food pantries and share those processes with others through the Tote Bag Project, then yes, a tote bag is a Super Hero Cape. 

If super heroes are ‘lil girls and boys who give up their toy room space to hold boxes of tote bags, food, and feminine products or ‘lil boys and girls who gather toys for Stuff a Bus instead of asking for birthday presents, then yes, a tote bag is a Super Hero Cape.

Arianna, may you continue to show adults how to give and to be a super hero. Your caring heart brings tears of joy to my eyes–I am so proud of the ‘lil lady that you are. Always remember that even if you don’t have much, there is always someone else who has less than you–thank you for reminding us of this, and thank you for being a Super Hero.

Thirty Days of Thankful and NaBloPoMo Day 29: Raising Givers

Today, I am thankful for people (yes, ourselves included) who raise givers. There are so many people in this world who take, take, take and are selfish. I hope that our kids are different.

Last year, we started a tradition to ask for people to bring gifts in tote bags for birthday parties, supporting The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project.

This year, Arianna asked if she could help us get ready for our Stuff A Bus tradition and she asked people to bring gifts for Stuff a Bus instead of for her.

Both kids know of the Food Bank and the Tote Bag Project, volunteering by helping us with couponing, tote gathering, and drop offs.

They are givers, no doubt, and we are giving them a good start.


The other night, we took a Durango full of toys (almost all couponed for + Black and Gold Bucks purchased) to 96.1 Kiss FM’s Stuff a Bus and the kids were so excited. They’ve been listening all week to Bob and Mikey updating the bus count (“a bus! a bus! a bus is full!”, they yell), which is right now at 21. They were so proud to drop toys into the bus, especially a short of creepy doll that Arianna named Arianna (and she hopes a ‘lil girl will get her and put a blankey on her to keep her warm). All smiles and giggles, they kept talking about “Christmas Magic”. Below are some of the photos we took, you can see more on Flickr.

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This post is part of NaBloPoMo.

NaBloPoMo November 2012

That Time of Year: Giving to Others (Food)

When you work for a food retailer, it’s very easy to forget that people are living in hunger. What a humbling thought, right? In my job, the focus is on selling groceries, so when you get an email with (essentially) that message, it really makes you stop and think.

While my family and I are able to have a hot meal every night, we are no strangers to hunger. Holidays are coming, winter will soon be settling in. We all have neighbors out there who are going hungry, and if you are lucky enough to have, this is a good time to consider giving to others. Here are a few ways you can help out over the next few weeks:

·         As part of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Fall FoodShare Food Drive, from October 25 to November 21, shoppers at participating Giant Eagle supermarkets will have a chance to stop and think about giving to others. Food (suggested lists are available) and cash will be collected at these locations and then distributed to food banks in the store’s county. (More information on the drive can be found on GPCFB website.)

·         Going to this Sunday’s Steelers game? Participate in the Steelers Food Drive at Heinz Field or consider donating online.

·         Buy a City Dining Card from GPCFB. (Cost is $20, 5% of sales go to the Food Bank. You get $10 off each $30 bill at select Pittsburgh restaurants.)

·         Visit the Food Bank’s website and find ways you can volunteer (

I know that just doing the things we do, my family is never going to be able to eliminate hunger on our own. It truly takes a community, and I hope you’ll take a moment to consider helping out this fall/winter.

(Note: This post is not affiliated with or sponsored by any company. It is from the bottom of my heavy heart, asking for your help for our neighbors in need.)

TwEAT OUT for #NoKidHungry

Hopefully you enjoyed my earlier post about the #BlogMob #Hunger at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. This whole month is dedicated to fighting hunger, and I am excited to share with you one more way you can help out.

From September 16 to 22, you can visit participating restaurants and dine out for No Kid Hungry. What does that mean? That means that when you and your family have dinner this week, you can help Share Our Strength with programs to end childhood hunger.

Share Our Strength is an organization that I was introduced to through buying cookies at a Tastefully Simple party. They have nutrition programs (school breakfasts, summer lunch meals) that I have myself benefited from (and seen great benefits as a teacher), so this is near and dear to my heart. Money raised through this week will help keep these programs going.

If you are in the Pittsburgh Area, our options (which you can find on the map) are:

  • Denny’s ($3+ = coupon book worth $5)
  • Arby’s ($1 donation = coupon for free Value Menu with the purchase of a sandwich)
  • Joe’s Crab Shack ($1 donation = free Key Lime Pie, $5 = Crab Nachos, $10 = Classic Steampot)
  • Bruegger’s ($3+ = $20 coupon book)
  • Buffalo Wild Wings ($0.50 is donated to the campaign for anything you order from the Tablegating Sampler menu)
  • First Watch Restaurants ($0.25 donated for every Kid’s Meal purchased)
  • Tic Toc (select menu items = a $1 donation to No Kid Hungry)
  • Pita Pit ($1+ donation = $1 off next pita)
  • Round Corner Cantina (50% proceeds of chips and salsa menu)

Here’s how you can help spread the word, even if you are unable to dine out this week:

  • Follow @Dine_Out and @NoKidHungry on Twitter and retweet their messages. Use the hashtag #NoKidHungry when you are talking about this!
  • Share this tweet (copy and paste): I’m dining out for #NoKidHungry this week. Join me by finding a participating restaurant in your area: Finder
  • “Like” No Kid Hungry on Facebook
  • Share this blog post with your friends and family.

Are You #Brave Enough to Help Out and Fight Hunger?

This weekend, the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will be hosting a tote/food drive at the premiere of “Brave” in the South Side. If you are a Burgher and can make it out, you definitely should. The ‘lil Burghers just might even be there (we’re still working out details).

Here is the press release, or you can check out the blog post on the Tote Bag Project’s page.

School’s Out – Watch Out for Hungry Kids!
Food Bank and Pittsburgh Totebag Project Plan Drive at Movie Premiere

Pittsburgh, PA (June 19, 2012) Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and The Pittsburgh Totebag Project will hold a food and totebag drive called “School’s Out – Watch for Hungry Kids.” The drive will take place this weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 22-24, times below) at the opening of Disney’s new movie Brave at South Side Works Cinema.

Summer means fun for most children – vacations, camp, or just playing all day. But for children who depend on school breakfast or lunch for the most nutritious meal of the day, and for their parents who have to find ways to put more food on the table, summer can be a trying time.

Sue Kerr, Founder and Co-Chair of the Pittsburgh Totebag Project saw a connection between kids going hungry and Brave, and initiated this drive with assistance from the Food Bank. “Adding tote bags and backpacks to the drives to fight child hunger gives all children a chance to help by donating their gently used backpacks. It adds dignity to the process of giving and to the experience of families receiving help.”

Collections will take place on Friday (June 22) from 6:00-9:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday (June 23 & 24) from noon till 8:00 pm, only at the South Side Works Cinema. People are asked to donate a bag of nonperishable items, packed in a reusable grocery “totebag” or backpack if possible. The first 50 families that make a donation will receive a family pass to the ToonSeum, downtown Pittsburgh’s museum devoted to cartoons. Popcorn vouchers will also be available.

The title of the drive is a takeoff on the old public safety campaign that said, “School’s Out! Watch Out for Kids!”? It meant drive more carefully because more kids would be out playing outside in the summer. In the same way more children are at risk of hunger in the summer as well.

Power…of Simple Things

Thanks to Pittsburgh Cares and the Tote Bag Project, we got to attend our first Pittsburgh Power game.  Plus, my brother and cousin were there as VIP, seated in the first row of the end zone. Jack got a ball after a kickoff, and he made this ‘lil girl’s night. (Ok, that and the monkeys riding dogs and dancing on the jumbotron, but having a real game ball wins!)


Somehow, I got it out of her hands before a very late bedtime…but she has big plans to play in the yard first thing in the morning!

Team Tote Bag

Greg and I have made the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project and food banks (such as the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank) as our main community organizations to support. Yesterday, we had the chance to walk in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community as Team Tote Bag, raising money for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and spreading awareness of the Tote Bag Project. Greg even got Highmark to donate a box of totes!


This was supposed to be a walk, but we had a few traffic issues. Coming from 28 in the North, we couldn’t get to the North Shore via 28, so we had to detour downtown. Another event (which we’ll write about later) had roads blocked and we couldn’t get to the ideal garage downtown, resulting in a detour back to 279, luckily toward the North Shore. By the time we parked, we had to start the 5k walk with the people doing the 1 mile fun walk. After about 5 minutes of walking, Greg asked if I would be ok running to catch up with everyone else who was walking. I agreed, and next thing I knew, we ran 95% of the event. The only unfortunate thing is that I forgot to track the entire run on Runtastic…but what I did learn from results of the run is that I ran the fastest miles EVER (14:54…shhhh, I know that’s SLOW but at least I am running) AND that I ran the furthest from start to finish that I’ve ran since spraining my MCL. Victory!


Celebration of #SisterSupplies

Remember how The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project was collecting supplies for Women’s History Month and I posted a challenge to gather some supplies? Well, I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed that Mr. Burgher was the only one to pull in supplies in my effort to fill up the car, but I was super excited that he gathered up 250 supplies (filling 5 tote bags) for us to take to the end of the month celebration at our favorite restaurant, Las Velas.

But, those totes added to others who took on the challenge, and celebrate we did! There were cookies, totes, authentic Mexican dishes, raffles, and of course, Sister Supplies! The kids were a fun time, ‘lil Man dancing from the moment we stepped in the door (and only stopping when he was eating some chips and salsa) and A drawing the raffle tickets. Both highly enjoyed Burgh Baby’s (not) Eat n’ Park Cookies, each eating at least 3, then screaming in laughter all the way home.

All in all, it was a successful evening for The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project and On the Spot, as well as a fun time for our family. It’s one of the ways we “minister” to our community, our “Unless”.

Take Time for “The Time” #SisterSupplies #BlogSwarm

Friends, there is a harsh reality in the world around us. People living in poverty, unable to provide clothing, food, or shelter (basic needs) for their families. This shouldn’t be news to any of us, but today, I want to call attention to a special situation that is the harsh reality of poverty. Today, I am teaming up with a number of other local bloggers in a #BlogSwarm and we are going to bring it to you. This isn’t your typical ‘lil Burghers topic, but I urge you to listen.

As you know, my family and I strive to give back when we can, and we are involved in the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project‘s efforts to provide food pantry patrons with sturdy tote bags to carry their food home in. Each month, the Project has been focusing on a partnership with causes, and this month is no different. This month, Women’s History Month, the Tote Bag Project has teamed up with On the Spot for a drive of (Tote Bags) and menstrual products for women across our county, and you can read more about it here.

Did you know?
* We’ve all seen it–people laughing at the embarrassed dad or brother who has to go and get the “time of the month” supplies from the local pharmacy. Guess what? It’s real and it happens. And, it doesn’t happen. It’s not a laughing matter.
* Some families cannot afford to purchase menstrual supplies such as pads and tampons because their what money they have goes to covering the bills. SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) benefits have to go elsewhere (like…buying food) and do not cover for these basic need products.
* One tote bag of menstrual products will last a woman 6 months.
* This impacts your neighbors…and who knows. One day it could impact you.

You might wonder, why in the world would I want to dedicate a blog post to this cause? Well, let me tell you, I’ve seen it all first hand. When my dad was a pastor in Fayette County, we all volunteered at the Food Bank and I got to see the impact of women getting supplies such as pads and tampons–and these women were grateful that their needs were met. Come to think of it, being a pastor isn’t the world’s highest paying job, and I am pretty certain that my first few years of supplies were “made possible by” the Food Bank, too. (There are some things you don’t realize as a kid–I was too busy understanding that I had lights, heat, and a full belly to understand that my parents had to work hard to make those ends meet and that really, I didn’t have much more than the people I was “serving”. Isn’t God awesome how he makes us see only what we need to?)

Today, I urge you to do what you can to help this cause. Because Mr. Burgher and I love to coupon, we’ve been building up quite a stash of pads, liners, and tampons. But, we’d love to add more to the cause. Consider this–go to your local store of choice and pick up a pack (or two) of each. Drop them by our house, at my desk, or at my Grandma’s. We’ll gather them up and deliver them to the Tote Bag Project and On the Spot on your behalf. Or–let me know if you’d like us to do the shopping for you. While you’re at it, send over a few totes you aren’t using. (The Project could really use them.)

I really want to fill the car up with Sister Supplies for this worthy cause, but I can’t do it alone. Are you with me?