University Bank FUNdraises for Hearts in a Box

posted Oct 14, 2019, 8:13 PM by Hearts in A Box   [ updated Nov 11, 2020, 8:19 AM by Jill Schultz ]

We want to offer up a big THANK YOU to University Bank and its employees for their generous support of Hearts in a Box (and our military!) during the month of September. They FUNdraised $265 during various events through the month and collected lots of great products ... all of which will help us stuff those care packages full of goodies and ship them next month.

We really appreciate this thoughtful and generous action and are thankful for everything University Bank and its employees do to support not only us, but so many other organizations in our community throughout the year. 

Our First Speakeasy Roaring Twenties Fundraiser Was The Berries!

posted Oct 14, 2019, 7:33 PM by Hearts in A Box

Was that a party or what?

Thank you to everyone who joined us for a night of fun, fringe, elegant food, Prohibition cocktails, and jazzy dancing ! This event was posilutely  the bee's knees! Our generous attendees raised over $3500 to help us send great things to our military men and women in November. Fun! Su
ccess! A win-win is always the berries!  

We especially want to thank Tim and Sheryl Taritas for generously hosting and catering this fabulous event with the help of Brewed Awakenings Cafe and Katherine's Catering. It was such a hit, we daresay it might be a theme to repeat on the 100th anniversary of the Roaring '20s!







Trading Fish for Flappers

posted Jul 28, 2019, 4:42 PM by Hearts in A Box

1920s Flapper couple dancingSockdollager: an event or action of great importance. 

That sounds about right!

Saturday, August 24th is the 2oth Anniversary of the Fish Party and for the first time ever, we're ready to roar with a different theme in honor of the milestone. The Fish Party, where Hearts in a Box was formulated years ago, is to be no more. The Taritas family sold their Kenai River fish camp in Alaska, and although we'll be fish-free, this year's event promises to be swell! The bee's knees! The cat's meow! 

We're trading fish for flappers and hoofing the night away with a Roaring '20s party, complete with food and drinks (illegally) popular during the time and dancing to Jazz Age classics like the Charleston and Makin' Whoopee. 

This private invitation-only fundraiser will charge a $20/person speakeasy cover charge which includes appetizers catered by Brewed Awakenings Cafe in Saline and dinner by Katherine's Catering in Ann Arbor, plus beer, wine, and soft drinks. Prohibition cocktails, like the Bee's Knees and the Mary Pickford, will be available at the cash bar.  

Our traditional product donation boxes will be also be on hand for toiletries and other items collected for our military and we will also be offering the Adopt-a-Box program again. All proceeds from the cover charge and other donations go 100% to fund our 2019 Hearts and Heroes program. That's no phonus balonus! 

We can't wait to post gangster and moll photos from our spiffy speakeasy. In the meantime, we'll be moving our getaway sticks, getting ready to make this the swankiest event of the season. 

Honest Abe Inspires Honest Reflection

posted Feb 23, 2019, 7:32 AM by Jill Schultz   [ updated Feb 23, 2019, 7:35 AM ]

"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it." 
President Abraham Lincoln

Process analysis with colorful sticky notes
I ran into this quotation in researching Presidents' Day wisdom for our social media posts. As I thought about it, I realized it's a perfect example of the exercises our Board and Advisory team are undertaking during the first quarter of 2019 to reflect on our first three years as a non-profit and examine how we want to proceed in the years to come.

For several weeks now, we've been reviewing our past efforts, our practices and processes, and yes, even ourselves to document what we do well and what we could do better. We've also identified a number of opportunities available to us that need to be prioritized and acted upon ... and most importantly, perhaps, outlining the obstacles to our success. No stone is being unturned and our ultimate goal is to formulate a fresh, challenging, yet successful plan for the coming year and well beyond. 

This plan will touch all aspects of what we do. Board processes. Volunteers. Development. Communications. Mission and goals. 

We look forward to the changes and challenges this effort brings and will be excited to present it to everyone as the details become firm. We know we do good work and we know from the many military men and women who've responded to us that we do make an impact. This will ensure that we can do even more, even better, for even longer well into our future. 

Hearts in a Box is thinking out of the box. Buckle up, folks! 

Jill Schultz

2018 Bigger and Better Than Ever!

posted Jan 2, 2019, 2:29 PM by Jill Schultz   [ updated Jan 2, 2019, 2:30 PM ]

Another year is in the books and we're thrilled to announce that it was better than ever! We can't thank our sponsors and volunteers enough for all the contributions they made throughout the year to make it possible.

stack of 218 care packages for soldiers
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we shipped 218 boxes weighing over 2300 lbs to units in all branches except the Coast Guard, which for the second year in a row did not have any units requesting support. In addition to shipments to the Middle East (Kuwait, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and UAE), our care packages went all over the world -- Djibouti, Niger, Japan, Poland, Norway, Cuba -- just to  name a few. 

It didn't take long to hear back from some of the recipients, who uniformly thanked everyone for making the holidays a little brighter for them while they serve so far from home. Here's one of our favorites:

"I want to thank for all the care packages that we received from your organization, you all made a difference in this holiday for us here in Poland. We all try to keep the American tradition of giving presents for Christmas and to have our Christmas spirit high. Thanks for everything; we really enjoyed everything. It is difficult to be away from our family and friends during this time of the year but people like you makes us feel better and like home. We all at certain point give to the people in need and we all share a passion for what we do. It is important for us to nurture the good seeds in us and with a lot of love each of you remind us to our families and friends back in the main
land, the home of the free. Thank you for all you do and your people will be in my prayers always."

And THAT is what we're all about. Why we do what we do. And why we are so grateful for the support we receive from all of YOU that helps us support all of THEM! 

Happy New Year ... looking forward to a 2019 that exceeds all of our expectations again!

Box Month is in Full Gear

posted Nov 15, 2018, 9:32 PM by Hearts in A Box   [ updated Nov 18, 2018, 8:08 AM by Jill Schultz ]

Yes, we know you haven't heard from us in a while. Sorry about that, but it's been for a very good reason. Since the Fish Party in August, we've been busy little bees getting ready for the big shipment near Thanksgiving. This year is shaping up well! Here's just a few of the things we've been up to!

Girly Bags

During September and early October, we collected hundreds (thousands?) of small toiletries and trinkets to build over 300 "Girly Bags" full of things our female military personnel can't always find on ship or operating in a forward area. This is one of our favorite feel-good activities each year.
Sheryl and Pam pick toiletries for Girly Bags

Sheryl and Pam organize toiletry sets .

Holiday Crackers

Once Girly Bags are completed and our tables are free for the next project, we begin collecting Halloween Candy to build Holiday Crackers. These pretty little treats not only have lots of candy in them, we also include useful little items, including personal care, drink mixes or hot sauce, and fun things like jokes, riddles, or balloons. This year we made 1200 crackers, including hundreds of non-chocolate varieties for those deployed to hot environments.  Thank you to all the individuals, schools, and clubs who donated leftover Halloween candy and to Brewed Awakenings and Jafferson Computers for being our drop-off locations. We have A LOT of awesome candy!

 Volunteers fill and wrap Christmas Crackers  Volunteers fill and wrap Christmas Crackers
 L: Candy collected at Ann Arbor Skyline HS and Eberwhite Elementary.     C: Volunteers fill and wrap holiday crackers.               R: The lovely results!

Building the PX   

Finally, once the crackers were finished and our tables were empty yet again, we started inventorying all we'd collected in donations throughout the year and determined what initial items we'd need to buy based on historical purchases. Military needs are usually pretty predictable! Candy, healthy snacks, caffeine, toiletries, entertainment. 

The beginnings of our PX.

Next steps? Gather military names, review their wish lists, purchase special items, and start packing. This is where we are right now in the process. We'll update you with our shipment stats soon. This year's shipment will occur on 11/24.


Sponsor-a-Box Program Takes Off

posted Aug 26, 2018, 7:24 PM by Hearts in A Box   [ updated Aug 26, 2018, 7:25 PM ]

We're pleased to announce our newest program - Sponsor-a-Box!

Last year, we shipped ONE TON of food, personal care items, and entertainment to Americans deployed globally in all branches of the military. That equated to 208 boxes and about $3500 in shipping costs alone– and in 2018, we want to beat that total!  This year, the cost to ship just one care package is approaching $20 … and this is where we need your help.

To offset our greatest expense – shipping – so that we can focus on what goes into the care packages, we are having an ongoing Sponsor-a-Box fundraiser.  For a donation of just $20 per box, we will fill and send a care package to an American military unit in time for the December holiday season. Basically, you pay shipping, we pay to fill it with goodies, and we do the heavy lifting! It’s a simple way to show your support of our military, while letting us take care of the details. 

If you choose, we'll include a personalized note from you in all boxes you sponsor and we'll keep you posted on the packages journey, including where it's going (if provided by the unit) and will let you know about any feedback we get from your unit. For those of you doing this for your organization, we can provide photos and results of our 2018 efforts for your own website and communications. Corporate sponsors will be also belisted and linked on our website’s Sponsors page.

If you'd like to participate, you can download the attached Word form, fill in your information, and return it to us with your donation via the instructions on the form. 

Thank you!

3rd Annual HIAB Fish Party Nets Major Support!

posted Aug 26, 2018, 5:23 PM by Hearts in A Box   [ updated Aug 26, 2018, 7:49 PM ]

Smiling grizzly bears image
Our third Fish Party since becoming Hearts in a Box is in the books and we want to thank everyone who helped make this our most successful event yet! Shout out to those who helped plan and set up the event, to those who brought delicious dishes and beverages to share, and especially to those who attended and helped gather 100s of awesome box-filling products and - are you ready - raise OVER $2800 to help fill and ship our care packages this fall. 

The party was held on Saturday, August 25, under cloudy, threatening skies, but Mother Nature cooperated in the end and just a spritz of rain came.  Over 70 family members and friends, old and new, enjoyed the summer evening and a non-traditional Fish Party meal of brisket and pulled pork BBQ.  We introduced a new program at the party - Sponsor-a-Box ... and we were so happy with the reception it received! For $20, individuals or families can sponsor a box, and if they choose, our team will contact them to include the sponsor's personal message for the recipients and will also share any feedback we receive from their sponsored unit. 

This year marks a transition for this long time tradition. While the Fish Party will always be an important part of our history, next year as our Alaska fishing crew considers selling their fish camp, we will be saying goodbye to fish and hello to a new theme. If this year is any indication, no one will starve.

For supporters who sponsored a box, we will be in contact with you in September or October regarding your box so that you have time to prepare a card or letter to include as the first thing they see when they open the box. We will be running the Sponsor-a-Box program indefinitely, so if you'd like to get involved, click HERE.

Our New Kroger Community Rewards Number

posted Aug 18, 2018, 10:42 AM by Hearts in A Box   [ updated Aug 18, 2018, 10:42 AM ]

Hey Kroger Shoppers!

We were notified recently by Kroger that our NPO number for Community Rewards has changed to FK138.  For those of you who are already signed up under our old number, there's nothing you need to do. Kroger is permanently cross-referencing the old and new numbers for your convenience.

Find us on kroger rewards under account FK138
If you haven't signed up for this program yet and you shop Kroger regularly using your Plus Card, you can sign up easily at Look for us by name or by NPO number FK138. 

Afterward, when you shop at Kroger using your Plus Card, Kroger donates a percentage of the value of your purchases to Hearts in a Box. What an easy, care-free way to help us provide our military men and women hundreds of care packages full of goodies during the holiday season. 
The contributions we received from Kroger last year helped us ship extra boxes over our original goal.


Golf League Fundraiser is a Winning Round

posted Aug 15, 2018, 11:45 AM by Hearts in A Box   [ updated Aug 15, 2018, 11:46 AM ]

On August 1, the Wednesday Night Tee Party Golf League held their annual charity golf outing and this year, Hearts in a Box was their chosen beneficiary. The ladies league plays weekly during the summer at Rolling Meadows Golf Course in Whitmore Lake and every year, they select a non-profit based on nominations submitted by their members. Their committee then reviews information provided by each non-profit and the general membership votes to pick ultimate designee. We were honored and excited to learn that they chose our organization!

Several HIAB board members and volunteers attended and enjoyed seeing the excitement and passion everyone has for supporting our military men and women. These generous and welcoming women raised over $2000 for our program ... an incredible effort that will make a huge difference in helping us meet our goals for shipping this year!

On behalf of our board and the Americans we support, thank you to everyone involved with the league who made this successful evening possible! 

Hearts in a Box display table
 Golf carts ready to go

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