February 14, 2013. Valentine's Day. For most people, it was just the typical annual excuse to eat candy and to make sure to tell those you love that they are loved. Valentine's Day should be an oooey-gooey sappy day of unabashed sentiment. A happy day... or at least it should be. This year, February 14 meant something completely different to Newtown, Connecticut. It was the second month after the Sandy Hook school shooting that left Newtown residents forever changed... a day too horrible to even imagine.
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to do things that make others happy. Back in the depth of winter, a selfless woman named Vikki Grodner invited me to assist her wonderful organization, Life is Precious, in throwing a Valentine's Day party for Newtown. She called it a "heartwarming event" and invited first responders, families, and the community of Newtown to come out and forget their grief for a few hours. She did not do this for press or for pay. She organized this event (from Alabama, I might add) for no other reason than the sheer goodwill of the gesture.
One thing I know for certain is this... a cupcake is one sure way to make someone smile. Try it! Show someone a cupcake and see if they don't bust out a smile for you even before they take a bite. That was the thought behind this event... cupcakes do seem to simply make life better, if only for a few bites. It was a day that will stick with me for a very long time. I'd like to thank everyone who contributed but especially my very good friends at ORIENTAL TRADING COMPANY who came to my rescue just a few days before the event. They sent in all of the beautiful decorations I used to make the cafeteria look festive including: cupcake stands, tissue garlands, paper lanterns, tablecloths, pennants, and tons of arts and craft supplies so the kids and families could make valentines... and lots of good memories.
Back home in Alabama, the great folks at CROWDER GULF pitched in to help and did not ask for one thing in return. THANK YOU Ashley & Crowder Gulf for donating to this party that made a difference for so many. Thanks to my sweet castmate and ultimate cake baking guru, Linkie Marais from Food Network Star who drove 3 hours each way to come help me. You are an angel.
Life is precious. Amen.
Visit LIFE IS PRECIOUS.com for information or to make a donation.