When we think back to what was happening with Made By Mary a year ago at this time, we were prepping for a taping of a segment about our group to air on WGN news and for the clip the Village of Mount Prospect was putting together for the Rising Stars Gala. It was all such a whirlwind. We were both thankful for the recognition and proud to have made an impact on our community.
In all honesty, at the beginning of 2019 we did not have enough forethought to set goals for Made By Mary. We didn’t know if our enthusiasm or community nominations would slow down after receiving such great initial support. Here we are a year later….still thriving….still inspired. We want to do it a little more thoughtfully in 2020 but, I’m not going to lie, it will still be a little bit chaotic and there will likely be a lot of late-night and early morning baking involved…..
I wanted to sit down with our entire family and talk about goals for Made By Mary as we all contribute to its success with our time and resources–my 9-year-old son has tagged along for many deliveries on his way to practices or games and my husband never complains about the pounds and pounds of sugar, butter, flour and chocolate chips being added to our grocery list.
Our eighth grader, Kelly, has been busy at work prepping two Bullet Journals for her personal 2020 goals (I seriously don’t know where this child’s ambition comes from) so the discussion about goal-setting wasn’t new.
Still, when I told Mary my objective for breakfast she replied with, “Why do we need to set goals?” I simply replied with, “So that we have something to say we achieved.” “But what if we don’t achieve them? Won’t it feel like a letdown?” she countered. True words every adult has felt and realized along the way. “Well, then you check in on your goals periodically and see if you need to either try harder or adjust them to something more realistic.” Of course, my husband and I realize that these conversations are lessons about things much bigger than Made By Mary.
Together–as a family–we decided upon these three 2020 goals:
2020 Goal #1: Coordinate at least 225 deliveries. (we are giving ourselves a head start and counting the six deliveries since Christmas towards the new year objective).
2020 Goal #2: Comprise at least eight blog updates. We put a lot of energy into the website/blog to get it off the ground before the WGN segment aired and, admittedly, have done NOTHING to it since then despite kind reminders from our amazing website administrator at Kredo Design that we should be posting some updates. Kelly is going to take the lead in updating the website’s blog and writing the entries. We hope the effort will align to her interest in someday becoming a literature teacher or editor/publisher.
2020 Goal #3: Publish photos of Made By Mary deliveries completed in ten different states or countries. Our hope for Made By Mary was always that ANYONE ANYWHERE could be a part of our efforts to expand kindness and compassion while minimizing loneliness. If you are interested in making a delivery to anyone you know (or maybe just a stranger’s story you’ve heard about) we will gladly share our logo and information for enclosures with you! You can contact us through this website or through a message on our Facebook page.
In addition to the 2020 goals already listed, we have a few really fun things planned in conjunction with some local businesses we can’t wait to share with you! Undoubtedly, our community has continued to inspire us to do bigger and better things each year.
Wish us luck on our 2020 goals and, most importantly, help us by nominating people you know that would appreciate a thank you for something special or need some cheer after going through something hard!
The team at Made By Mary has been beyond fortunate to receive so much positive coverage of our efforts and mission. We didn’t think that the WGN news story could be topped but then realized that an article would soon be published in the Daily Herald’s “Community In Action” section on Monday, January 28th– in every edition across Chicagoland!
As our luck would have it, a major snow and cold storm hit Chicago the night before the story would be released and I was worried about getting safely to Continental Bakery to snag multiple copies. Husband to the rescue! He left for work early Monday morning and picked up a copy of the Daily Herald at the Mount Prospect train station. We were so excited to see the first picture of the paper come in – albeit a little fuzzy – Made By Mary was on the FRONT PAGE! We were thrilled! I figured the column must have been directly below the picture and couldn’t wait to read a copy myself.
A minute or two later the second picture popped up on our phones at home ….we stood in awe of the full page spread on the cover of the Neighbor section of the Daily Herald. There were beautiful color images of me and the girls, their aprons made by Woodiesigns, the cupcakes Mary and our neighbor, Jeanne, made for the Veterans Day service at Dryden Elementary School, our logo and the website by Kredo Design and, of course, Kelly’s cards. What an honor! We never imagined that something as simplistic as the mission of Made By Mary – to bring compassion and kindness while minimizing loneliness through baking – would be celebrated by so many people in Mount Prospect and across Chicagoland as they were now reading the article too!
Well before we saw how wonderful the article was, the Made By Mary team coordinated a few of our bakers to make something special that we could drop off at the Daily Herald office located on Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights as a thank you for covering the story. The roads were less than stellar Monday morning after an overnight snowfall but the energy from the article made me excited to slowly navigate over! The women at the front desk were thrilled to receive the treats and bring them up to the newsroom. Later, after posting the picture of the delivered treats on Facebook, Melynda Shamie, a Daily Herald employee wrote, “I just had a s’mores cupcake, and wow. It was so delicious! Thank you so, so much for dropping off the treats; what a great surprise on a dreary day.” Mission accomplished.
The Made By Mary team wasn’t done with our Daily Herald adventure just yet! In conversations I had with the article’s author, Eileen Daday, I learned that between the time we initially were interviewed and the time the article was published, her mother had suddenly passed away. She had been consumed with the details of her services and, of course, the emotional exhaustion that comes from saying goodbye to your mom. We were happy to make a personal Made By Mary delivery to Eileen and included a quote from Pulitzer Prize winning author Thorton Wilder, “The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude”. We were sorry to hear about your mom, Eileen. We are thankful, however, that her passing provided us an opportunity to serve you. We are so immensely thankful for all that you did to bring light to our mission at Made By Mary.
Enjoy the article published in the Daily Herald’s “Community In Action” section!
In August of 1995, I headed down to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spent almost 8 hours unpacking and then quickly prepped for my first day of sorority rush. Twenty-One sorority house visits later I knew right away the place I wanted to be–Alpha Delta Pi. I still had to go through three rounds of rush but my decision never wavered and, sure enough, I was initiated into the Sisterhood that year.
My sophomore year I took advantage of the leadership opportunities available at Sigma Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi and became President. To date–twenty years later–my parents would tell you that being an ADPi and the experience I gained there changed the trajectory for my career path and passion for leadership and volunteerism. A resume of Executive Board positions within the chapter weren’t the only thing I graduated with, however.
Alpha Delta Pi was the first time I believed in the possibility of life-long friendships.
Over the course of twenty years, some of the women of Alpha Delta Pi attended my wedding, welcomed my three children into the world, helped me network professionally and consistently supported the breadth of charitable causes I have aligned with–most recently, of course, Made By Mary.
Alpha Delta Pi sister, Michelle, was the very first person to nominate someone for a Made By Mary delivery. Leigh Ann, recommended Made By Mary to receive PR through the group Stand Out Kids. Erika purchased toys for a child nominated to Made By Mary because it was his 5th birthday and he otherwise wouldn’t have received anything. Shannon offered the name of a friend to receive a delivery and this week Molly will launch the third chapter of Made By Mary in her current hometown of Carmel, IN. These “big” actions on top of all the Facebook and webpage likes and shares across the country remind me that we truly do live for each other.
Sending Love and Violets to all you Alpha Delta Pi ladies. We would love to have you all on our Made By Mary team!
All across Mount Prospect there were DVRs set and WGN streaming on the televisions of many Made By Mary volunteers and fans. At the encouragement of a friend, the “original” Made By Mary team hosted a small gathering of people at our house to watch together. When we glimpsed the first image of pink cupcakes on the screen we all screamed with excitement and Mary yelled, “Hey! Those were the cupcakes we baked for my friends!” Soon, however, the room that was once cheering in anticipation was filled with tears as we all realized the impact small gestures of kindness can have on real people.
Erin Ivory placed a request Wednesday afternoon on the Made By Mary Facebook page for anyone who had been a recipient of our deliveries to reach out to her if they would be willing to do an on-camera interview. Two people responded: Steve and Brenda (Brenda is the person who reached out to Erin at WGN initially with her story about Made By Mary). As you can see in the segment, Steve received his delivery after the loss of his father and Brenda after her sister’s passing. There are dozens of other stories like Steve and Brenda’s and certainly they would have been equally compelling because, as Steve relayed in his interview, the simple fact that a stranger would take the time to serve a neighbor is memorable. Thank you, Steve and Brenda, for taking the time and courage to serve Made By Mary in this way!
Celebrating WGN Viewing Party
In the WGN segment you will also see Dana and her beautiful family who were the recipients of our filmed delivery of homemade whipped cream and organic berries. Dana is fighting breast cancer for the second time and kindly agreed to help us by being on camera (and home for the delivery!). Through Made By Mary and the filming process I’ve gotten to know Dana a little bit and her sarcastic optimism has provided me with tons of smiles and laughs at the perfect moments. Dana, we are cheering for you and, in the moments when the optimism subsides, please know that we are here.
Because we knew we were going to see Pat, the Mount Prospect resident who is also a WGN cameraman, and Erin Ivory the morning of the segment airing, I reached out to our baking team to see if anyone had the time to pull something together to send down to the newsroom. Big thanks to Lindsay, Jeanne, and Lisa (and of course Mary) for adding some goodies to the dessert table at WGN!
Yesterday was a day our household will remember for a lifetime. Thank you to everyone who has joined our team and to the neighbors who have nominated people that could use some TLC — ultimately, it is the names provided of friends and family that allow us to do what we do best — spread kindness and compassion.
By the end of the day the WGN piece aired, we had crashed our website. Twelve hours after a short segment about Made By Mary was posted on the WGN Facebook page it had 20,000 views.The concept is so easy to like. Let’s continue to think of people we can serve, bake for them, encourage them and do it all in the name of the TEAM at Made By Mary.
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The concept of Made By Mary is easy to embrace: nominate, bake, deliver. The results of our community baker’s efforts are immediately realized by either a kind smile or tears of gratitude at the door of the recipient, words of appreciation posted to the Facebook page and certainly in the conversations we have with friends and family about the impact of our deliveries. Many members of our community have become passionate about what we do and the people we are able to serve.
Our community supporters were kind enough to recognize our efforts by completing entries for the 2018 Rising Star Award for the Village of Mt. Prospect. These entries were reviewed and in December we were notified that we had received the award for “More People Ought to Be Like This”.
The announcement of our award was first published on the Mt. Prospect website and in the Daily Herald. We are honored to be recognized among all of the award recipients this year. Like them, we are passionate about our community and finding ways to make it better for everyone.
Later that month, after one of our Made By Mary cheerleaders reached out to the Daily Herald, Eileen Daday interviewed the original “team” for a story in her weekly “Good News” column. The girls and I both did phone interviews and truthfully we can credit Eileen for helping us derive our mission statement. She also provided us a great moment of laughter when I overheard her interviewing Mary and asking what she liked to bake the most. Her answer, “I like to bake cupcakes because they are fun to decorate. I also like to bake brownies but usually we end up baking whatever we have the ingredients for in the house at the time.” #truth
As it turns out, Eileen’s editor at the Daily Herald liked the story about Made By Mary so much that they will now be publishing the article in the “Communities In Action” section of the Daily Herald on January 28th, 2019—CIRCULATION WIDE. We are ecstatic that an article talking about Made By Mary and the simplicity of doing something for someone who needs a little encouragement will be seen in every edition of the Daily Herald and have the potential to be read by more than 90,000 people in the suburban Chicagoland area.
We would certainly appreciate if you would pick up a copy of the Daily Herald on January 28th (we will be buying significantly more than one) as a thank you to our local newspaper who is committed to covering the good things in our community and news. It is with great pride that we will be reading their coverage of Made By Mary in the Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights community.