Eastern Canada Region
- Team “London Calling” visits the local Mental Health Association drop-in centre to serve hot soup.
- Western Front supports a major Interim Place Woman’s Shelter, offering clothing, cleaning the storage room of thousands of items, and repainting in the new year. This will involve the entire division.
2.2 Western Region
It the best time of the year when the men of the Western Region are engaged to produce the vision of MDI. It us at our best! It’s inspiring to see the men changing the world one women, child, one family at a time … It’s proof that one man does make a deference and those are MDI Men!
Sequoia Men’s Division
Every year, at the holiday time, the men of Sequoia Division of MDI Inc. support Operation ELF, which stands for Everyone Loves Families.
The purpose of this project is to bring hope, joy and the spirit of the holidays to deserving families. All cash and gift donations go directly to the families. In order to qualify, the families need to have financial hardship or have suffered a financial loss and are in need of the basic things like clothing, food, toys, small appliances or other things to run a household. We are currently in the process of fundraising and collecting donations. Our goal is to give each family a few toys, gifts, clothes, small household items, etc. We are also accepting items to help us fundraise, such as items for a raffle for a silent auction. This year the fundraising part of the project will be held locally to support families in need in our area. The gift-wrapping and delivering of gifts to the families will take place on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at a local venue. One of our other goals is to reach out and enroll our community in who we are and what we do.
Operation Elf in the North Bay http://www.operationelf-northbay.org/
For the third year in a row, OCB Men’s Division is working with the Parisi House on the Hill as our Operation Elf recipients. As a result of MDI’s commitment to end abuse in our communities, we have done numerous projects with the Parisi House in addition to the Operation Elf projects. The Parisi House is the only facility in Santa Clara County that allows women who enroll in their alcohol/drug recovery services to bring their children to this residential setting.
This year we have partnered with the Family of Women to produce our Operation Elf project, which has created more opportunities for community members to participate in the project. It has also enabled our whole division to participate together in all phases of Elf (fundraising, buying & wrapping gifts, and delivering the gifts to the families). We look forward to having our entire division involved in the project and giving the families of Parisi House the best Christmas ever.
This division is in service during the holidays to put smiles on the faces of children that may otherwise have a frown by getting in direct action around bringing Christmas cheer to their household. We do not do this to make ourselves look better than anyone else or to shame anyone for what they should or shouldn’t do or have done regarding their parenting. Razors Edge does this to fine tune our community leadership machine.
We do not do this to boast about it for the rest of the year. We do not do this in attempts to attain a higher social level or be recognized as better than those who don’t. We do this as a maintenance schedule to our division so we stay in tune logistically and socially, by engaging with others to support society’s greatest community offering: its children. We do this to grow the community service “gene” so that it stays vibrant. We do this as a social “huddle up” and so we can enjoy the company of people we have had the privilege to know in doing these kinds of service events. We do this for ourselves, so we can feel good about ourselves knowing we are the men who will get off the couch and rally on the behalf of the faceless child, whether we know the parents or not. It does not matter the religious denomination or ethnicity or choices of lifestyles. Razors Edge does this because we care, and we believe it is not enough to say we care but to be ready to stand tall and show it through our actions. We are Razors Edge.
West Bay Men’s Division
This division has a long history of service, and winter is high season. For over 15 years, these 20-or-so men have gone all out at holiday time to bring joy to underprivileged families and children through Operation ELF. Last year alone, the men raised close to $15,000 from late September through mid-December – enough to provide gifts and household basics to:
- 20 families in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties
- 20 additional children in a neighborhood program
- Two teen homes serving homeless teens and former foster youth
Another annual tradition, Black Cuisine, brings our division men to San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, where they spend the day serving food to hundreds of people who come from around the corner and around the Bay. Two years ago the men painted a large cafeteria space in an underfunded public school in San Francisco, and just last month they spent half a day at the Veteran’s Hospital in San Mateo preparing and serving BBQ for our veterans. These men are called to service because they know that each time they give, they get back tenfold.
For the past 14 years Legacy Men’s Division has been deeply devoted to ending abuse and being an example of how young and older men can be honorable, particularly to women and children who are battered and abused. This is only one example of how our men live the Code of Honor.
The division funds, creates and implements a holiday celebration for the visitors of the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center in Santa Cruz, California. We serve these women and children a home cooked meal as if they were patrons of a five star restaurant, complete with holiday decorations, music, entertainment and gifts. We serve around 150 guests per year. We have consistently proven that we are men who can be trusted and that there are examples of good, honorable men in the world and good role models to children.
Mud’s ELF event is about community and families. It’s about how we as a community give Christmas to families that do not have the financial means to have a holiday. Giving to those in need is what the Men of Mud do well. And this is because many of the Men of Mud have gone through difficult times and know what it’s like. They know what it feels like not to be able to provide all the things they would like to their children. And they work like demons to not let any family have to go through this.
2.3 New England Region
Operation ELF Holiday Celebration
Operation ELF (Everybody Loves Families) is an all-volunteer charitable not-for-profit organization serving children in Greater Boston, Eastern Massachusetts, Vermont, and Southern New Hampshire. ELF is designed to bring hope, joy, and the spirit of the holidays to children who are wards of the state or who find themselves in transitional living situations regardless of gender, race, religion, or nationality. A lot of men’s teams in New England will sponsor children to make sure they have a happy Christmas.
December 13, 2015; 1 – 4 p.m.
The Eagle’s Lodge, 55 Park St, Framingham, MA 01702
Contact Barbara or Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org
2.4 Western Canada Region
The Ray Lowry Project
The men of Head Smashed in Tribe (HSIT) of the Western Canadian Region are ready to embrace phase two of the annual Ray Lowry Project: giving needy families a hand up at Christmas. The call is out to uncover families in need within our community as well as the search for men who wish to step up and be their champions. Volunteers from HSIT and the Family of Women will be gift shopping on Tuesday, December 15, which will be followed by a community gathering on Tuesday, December 22 to wrap those presents. Also on that latter Tuesday, volunteers will shop for a week’s worth of food to accompany those presents. The successful 2016 fundraising efforts will allow us to offer 80 hampers of food and gifts to families in need.
2.5 Southeast Region
Festivus for the Rest of Us
The Southeast Region proudly participates in the “Festivus for the Rest of Us” Annual Holiday Party, the 4th Annual Toy Drive for the children of women who are undergoing recovery from substance abuse in the metro Atlanta area.
Saturday, December 12, at 7 p.m.
American Legion Post #29, 921 Gresham Avenue, Marietta, Ga
Contact: Kevin Mannthey 770-367-7304
2.6 Mid-Atlantic Region
Living Like a King Through Service
By Frank Tritini, Mid-Atlantic Region
A seasoned men’s team will have that fateful meeting at the beginning of every cycle. What will that team be committed to? Relationship, growth, standards, goals, fun? What do we need as men?
Chris Estevez, the captain of the Spartan Brotherhood in Central New Jersey asked this question of his men. Estevez got to know his men’s needs well, and saw that his men saw themselves as Kings and wanted to embody that way of being on their team. Estevez knew that a True King gives of his resources and time freely, because there is plenty for all. The team set an aggressive goal to take on three service projects for the cycle. These projects needed to make an impact in community, and when possible involve their families and other men from the division.
The men got to work and chose service projects that were near and dear to them. These projects needed to be a logical fit for the team to get involved considering the requirement for resources, time, and their ability to enroll others in their vision. Three initiatives floated to the top, and the men got to work.
The first initiative was “NJ Strides,” which is a walk-a-thon benefiting the American Cancer Society. As since many men and women in our lives are battling cancer or have lost loved ones to it, this felt like a cause that landed close to home. The team got to work and started enrolling those in their families, workplaces, and other teams to donate, come out and walk with them, or do both. The team had a strong showing from all fronts. Out of all the organizations that supported the event, The Spartan Brotherhood was able to place in the top 25% of donors. This is very impressive considering that the event raised over $650,000 total! The team has a huge and inspiring goal for next year – they will have a large showing again at the walk and will be the Number One donor at NJ Strides in 2016!
The next event was to support One Simple Wish, which is a not-for-profit dedicated to serving Foster Children across the country. OSW was featured as a CNN Hero and has been on NBC Nightly News. A major area where OSW is looking to make an impact is around those children who are “aging-out” of the foster care system after they turn 18. Many of these children have no support structure to turn to. One Simple Wish is committed to help provide that structure through housing, mentorship, and job placement. They are planning to do that through a new program called Millie’s Place. OSW was recently donated a house in Trenton NJ and plans to redevelop it into a home for aged-out foster children. The Spartan Brotherhood saw this project as a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference. The team has had several meetings with OSW and have made outreaches to their network. Teammate Matt Faircloth said, “Three of our teammates have so many contacts in the construction industry, it just made sense for us to enroll those in our community to get involved in such a worthy cause.” The team has been able to enroll several other key players into the project and are slated to have Millie’s Place open for business in mid-2016.
The last project was to support Hero’s On the Water. This very worthy not-for-profit supports the disabled veterans of the US Armed Forces. The chapter takes these vets out for a day of fishing and camaraderie with other vets. The local New Jersey Chapter is the largest in the country and supports hundreds of vets every year. The Spartan Brotherhood is slated to run production at a spring event and is laying the groundwork now for that to be a success.
It’s funny when men get in action. They want to stay in action. At the team’s offsite this past weekend, the men spent some well-earned time in the Poconos doing some hiking and “Deep Dive” exercises. The team didn’t feel complete to go away without finding some way to serve others so they did some searching and found a local food pantry, Five Loaves. They showed up early on Saturday morning with over $100 in food donations and got to work. They were able to bag groceries for over 240 needy families in just over an hour! They did, though, take a moment to pose for a picture (below).
There is no stopping the Spartan Brotherhood in 2016. Captain Chris Estevez is inspired. “It is very refreshing to lead a group of men that do what they say. These men formulate a vision and push forward!”