By: Moira Bundschuh
A few days after the blizzard, taking advantage of my extra week off, my husband, older daughter and I piled into the car to head to the lower Cape to interview the first volunteer mom and organization nominated for our Cape Cod Mommies Volunteer Mom series. A few months ago I had asked women on a few Facebook pages to nominate moms in their community who were passionate about volunteering right here on Cape. The first nomination came in quickly about a mom who volunteered at the Cape Cod Children’s Place in Eastham.
Tessa, living in Orleans with her husband, son, 12 chickens, yellow lab and two bunnies, knows first hand the importance of the work of the Cape Cod Children’s Place. Her son, aged 5, has attended the daycare since he was six months old. Due to the recession, throughout the last five years she has witnessed the devastating cuts to non-profit and early education programs and how that has affected CCCP and lower Cape families. Initially she wanted to help because her son was a part of the program but over the years that has grown into a passion for the mission of CCCP to provide “high-quality care, support, and advocacy for families with young children in order to sustain a healthy community for Cape Cod's future (http://capecodchildrensplace.com).”
Looking for ways to help replace some of the funding, she “decided with the help of another teacher to have a yard sale with all the proceeds going to CCCP. The first year (2010), we made $1078.21 and the money
was given to the three classrooms for enrichment.” Running another yard sale in 2011, she continued to help bring in money for enrichment programs. In August of 2011, she approached Dawson Farber, the CEO of Nauset Marine, and asked if Cape Cod Children’s Place could be one of the non-profits featured at their
50th anniversary charitable event, again helping bring in needed funding.
In addition to helping the organization as a whole, Tessa wanted to help families who may be struggling to make ends meet. “I had this idea of a free clothing swap so I started collecting clothes and storing them in my basement. The first swap I held was in November 2011 then another in May of 2012 and we just had our third one this past October. I collect clothes ranging in size from newborn to adult, men, women, teens, linens, etc…. I am always receiving clothing donations so I have to sort through that stuff on a weekly basis. Just recently we began accepting toys for the swap as well, so my basement is piling up with toys now too!” Clothing swaps, completely free, are held now, usually in April and October. She organizes clothing by size and type into totes in her basement for the swaps. As it has grown, this is a large part of her volunteer time. Many families rely on the swap to outfit their children in seasonally appropriate clothing. If Cape Cod Children’s Place hears of a family in need, she will also make a bag of clothing from the storage
throughout the year. Their next Clothing Swap is Saturday, April 27th from 9am-12pm, at their location 10 Ballwic Road off Nauset Road in Eastham. Donations may be dropped off prior to the event and all families are welcome to participate in the swap.
Through her volunteerism, Tessa’s heart for early childhood education has been rekindled. Having studied early childhood education in college, she didn’t really feel like that was what she wanted to do after she
graduated. But that has changed. Her work through the Children’s Place has sparked her to vote, she feels like she can make a difference, that this is a place where “women are supporting women.” She sits on the board of Cape Cod Children’s Place, volunteers in a variety of ways and now hopes to teach there one day. She says, “I’m committed here…it helps parents become advocates for their kids.” In emailing and meeting with her, it is clear to see that she is passionate for the center and the various programs that support local families. She recommends workshops, refers people to the Family Support Specialist and talks about upcoming events at the Cape Cod Children’s Place in her day-to-day interactions. It’s a part of her life and inspiring to see that one mom can make a big difference in the work of an organization supporting families here on Cape.
During the next few months, I’ll be talking to moms on Cape Cod who are serving others in their community. They’re moms like you and me who have decided that each small act of kindness can add up to real change. In addition, we’ll highlight some great local non-profits or charities that make an impact everyday
in the lives of people on Cape Cod.
If you have a volunteer mom friend to nominate, feel free to send their name, contact information and a brief
description of why you think they are a great volunteer mom to firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe & Moira Bundschuh
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Great and Small
How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment:
By: Moira Bundschuh
I remember many attributes of my mother. She had this funny, contagious, fully red-faced laugh that could fix my bad mood in a moment. She fit what seemed like 30 hours of things to do into each day. She carted me
to every club, craft, art lesson and activity I wanted to try next. But what I remember most about my mother is her desire to help people. She wasn’t a social worker or teacher, doctor or director of a non-profit. Instead, for most of her life, she ran a small local care-taking business with my father. It was what she did in her off time that sunk deep into my soul and shaped who I am today.
My mom, Cindy, helped people. Quiet, little things that many people never knew about and she didn’t talk much about. From the time I was a toddler, I remember her bringing me to the toy store and asking me to pick out a gift to give to a child whose parents couldn’t afford Christmas. Other times, we would make sandwiches to give to the Salvation Army for their bagged lunch programs. We’d sit at the kitchen table with piles of bread, condiments and meats making assorted sandwiches to hand out to people that needed something to eat. She’d make sure that we did it well because it was important that the sandwich look like something we would want to eat. When someone she knew, maybe a friend or a cousin, was short on the mortgage, car payment or utility bill, my mom would sit down at her desk with all of her bills and figure out a way to pay a little less of our bills that month and help the person whose home, car or lights were in jeopardy. Every once in a while she would say something to me like,“Everyone has a hard time in their life and it is important to help in some way.” It could be babysitting a child or taking them for a weekend so that parents could recharge. Every once in a while it was buying extra food and bringing it to a food pantry. She volunteered at nursing homes and, for the last ten years of her life, worked with people with dementia during their final days.
It was just a part of her life and became a part of mine. It was her very greatest gift to me. Now, as a mother, I think about all of the little things that she did for others and how she included me in those. It didn’t need to be a grand fundraising activity or personally saving an entire endangered species. Instead, my mother taught me about seeing the needs around me each day and having the courage to try to meet those needs if able. So, I bring my children to buy presents for others, just as my mom did with me. My four year old comes with me to help out with Homework at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center sometimes. This summer she walked a part of a few 5K races with me…she doesn’t know the charities and she doesn’t need to right now. We’re laying the groundwork. When she makes a beautiful picture, she asks if she can give it to a friend down the street. She’s starting to think about making the world a better place.
During the next few months, I’ll be talking to moms on Cape Cod who are serving others in their community. They’re moms like you and me who have decided that each small act of kindness can add up to real change. In addition, we’ll highlight some great local non-profits or charities that make an impact everyday in the lives of people on Cape Cod.
If you have a volunteer mom friend to nominate, feel free to send their name, contact information and a brief description of why you think they are a great volunteer mom to email@example.com
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