I Killed A Deer, And I Liked It. (No graphic images, just philosophy about hunting.)

Disclaimer: So I drafted this one a while ago.  And because of all the gun-related drama that’s been going on, I’ve been a little shy of publishing.  Is that lame?  Maybe.  But after careful thought and consideration, I’m okay with posting this and being who I am.  So, take it or leave it.  If you’d like to read about the philosophy of a self-titled “hippie hunter,” well then, read on.  And if you want to hear more about me twiddling my thumbs, read this.  Now, without further ado…

I Killed A Deer, And I Liked It.  

Yes, I went hunting this past fall.  And yes, I killed a deer.  And when I killed the deer, I liked it.

I was proud of myself (still am), and I was – for lack of a better word – happy about it.   And well, if you happen to know about some of my personal beliefs on animal testing, captivity, factory farming and how much I LOVE animals in general… this new hobby of mine probably seems a bit on the conflict-of-interest side.  But hear me out, I can explain… Continue reading

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Everyday Hero: Mike “Loco” Hoffman of Staten Island

If you were to ask Staten Island native Mike “Loco” Hoffman about his contributions to the ongoing Sandy Relief efforts, he’d tell you he’s just doing his part to help, that he’s nothing special.  But to the thousands of affected residents of New Dorp and Midland, this gentle giant is nothing less than a hero.

mike “loco” hoffman – a man who’s become a hero to many

I met Mike a couple weeks ago while I was downstate volunteering as a Sandy relief worker.  Here was this big imposing tough guy, smiling and giving hugs as he orchestrated volunteers and comforted storm survivors.   What really impressed me was the way he went about things.  Mike saw to it that everything was prioritized based on need and circumstance; a family with a seriously ill child would be higher on the list for generator access than a house of healthy young adults.    Working tirelessly since the superstorm came ashore, he’s a relief leader and morale coach for some of the island’s hardest hit neighborhoods.  Corralling labor volunteers, running area shelters, repairing homes, delivering supplies… Mike Hoffman ensures that no need – no matter how great or how small – goes unmet on his watch.

It’s Just Who He Is:

Known as “Loco” to his friends, Hoffman first made a name for himself as a high school football star at both Port Richmond and Curtis.  Destined for collegiate D-1 greatness, Mike’s dreams were cut short when his mother was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Choosing to care for her while placing his own ambition on hold wasn’t a choice for Mike, it was an instinct. Putting the needs of others far before his own is just who he is.

On the surface he seems like a normal guy: he and wife Amaury have been happily married for more than a decade, they have four beautiful children.  “Coach Hoffman,” as he’s known to many, has volunteered for the last seven years with Staten Island youth football and baseball teams.

But normal as we know it is long gone in the post-Sandy world of Staten Island.  Putting down a team roster and picking up a volunteer contact sheet, Mike does what he’s best at: stepping up to the plate to help those around him.

 

mike “loco” hoffman – doing a lot of heavy lifting, physically and emotionally, to help those around him

 

Rolling Up His Sleeves

Every single day he’s out there working hard.  Digging out homes in areas where flood waters reached heights of twelve feet, delivering donated generators to families in need, demo, ripouts, cleaning up the mud and muck left behind from the storm surge, collecting and distributing donated supplies – if it needs to be done, he’ll pitch in and make it happen.  He’s even gotten his whole family involved.  All of his kids have been out to volunteer with him, even his youngest, who made a huge impact on Midland residents. He’s been on the news and in the streets educating others of the many abounding risks, including: electrocution hazards, structurally unsound homes, debris and dust inhalation, infectious illness from unsanitary conditions, growing mold in waterlogged buildings, hypothermia, muscle-strain, violent looters, and even the ever-increasing issue of disaster-scams.

I so admire the work Mike has been doing, I wanted to get involved in any way I could.  Before I left Staten Island on my last day there, I made him an offer:  “when I get back home and I have Internet access, power, a fully charged cell phone – I’ll help you in anyway I can. ”

I’ve been back in Western New York for just over a week, and I’ve kept good on my promise.  (Little did I know what I was getting into!).   He jokingly calls me his PR-rep, but really I’m like his secretary or an assistant.  We’ve become a little team: he’s boots on the ground, and I’m the desk jockey.   As Mike does labor, canvasses neighborhoods, distributes supplies, I do the office work of calling elected officials, posting online requests for volunteers, tracking down people who can help, and so on.  I’m so happy to pitch in any way I can, and if my end of things makes Mike more effective – that’s a win for all of us.

loco, organizing volunteers and assigning work that needs to be done

 

 

In His Own Words:

This evening, I asked Mike what the biggest need is now:

“As of now, the biggest need is getting the word out.  It’s not a hot topic anymore, people have gotten tired of hearing about it.  The news coverage has dropped off and people are already forgetting about us, they’ve moved on.  Everyone came out and pitched in for a week or two – and while that was great, this thing is far from over for us.  We need volunteers, we need donations, we need help!  And this goes for people here too, if your house got worked on, go help your neighbors out.  There’s still so much work to do, we all need to rally now and keep going.”

 

Reflecting on how people are coping:

“A lot of people didn’t know what their neighbors’ names were before this thing happened, and now they’re checking in on each other.  I’ve heard plenty of stories about that, people didn’t even know who lived across the street, and now they’re checking in with one another all the time – ‘Hey Mr. Jenkins, I’m going down to get some hot food.  Do you need anything?’ – they’re working together now, we’re all in this thing together.”

 

Why he does what he does:

“When the landlord calls me, I’m disheartened.  When I see the bills piling up, it’s discouraging.  But then,  I look around and I’m motivated.   I won’t let my personal problems get in the way of what my heart is telling me to do.”

“I just want to lead by example.  My kids look up to me, I’m their role model, and I know they’re going to grow up to be good people – and that’s all I need.  All of my kids have been out there and pitched in, and that means so much to me.  My little nine year old came out and he was a saint – I was worried about his little lungs, so I had him all decked out in the mask and everything – and he was just a firecracker he had so much energy.  He was asking people what they needed, and he was so excited to get it.  He swept the whole street, it was amazing.  It made me feel good as a father.  And then when he wrote that message on the generator it just broke me down, I got emotional.”

the sweet message loco’s youngest son wrote on a generator: we are there for you! Johnny5 son of Mike Hoffman, a help for our nation.

 

Get Involved! 

If you want to get to know Mike for yourself, and keep up with all the great work he does, check him out on Facebook (Mike Loco Hoffman) and Twitter (@TheMikeLoco).   You can also contact him directly: 917.548.0523 or mikeloco@msn.com to see what his needs are on any given day.  Right now volunteers, specifically for labor, tools, and any supplies/gear that can help out labor crews are in big demand.  Hard hats, goggles, work gloves, dust masks, sledge hammers, axes, shovels, wheelbarrows, crowbars, pry bars – any of those items would be a huge help.

Acquiring tools is really very hard and hanging on to them seems to be even harder.  They’re expensive to pay for, so it takes a lot of money to get just a few things.  Luckily, donations of great tools have come in and Mike’s been able to get access to some.  They just don’t seem to last long, though.  Of course, many items are one-use only or get worn out quickly.  As far as the big and pricey tools, they’re constantly getting stolen.  Mike hasn’t been able to transport them all to his home every night where he can safeguard them – so this has been an ongoing problem.

Some donations have been rounded up, and we’ve been able to rent a truck for Mike!  It’s a U-Haul type truck that he can safely store the tools in and keep locked.  As of now, there were enough donations to cover the cost of the truck for a week.   We’re looking for help keeping it rented – or funding of some kind of storage container that securely locks.

Even if you just wish Mike well and give him some positivity and encouragement – that would be great!

As always, I want to thank you for reading!  I know it’s been a lot of Sandy talk lately, and that for some people hearing about the topic so much is tiresome.  For far too many people there is no escaping this topic though – they’re living it.  And it’s for them that I keep talking about it, and it’s for them that I ask you keep listening, reading, and spreading the word.  The more we all pitch in, the faster affected people can get their lives back in order.

 

XOXO, HHR

Photos of Sandy

Hi Readers!

a crew i worked with doing ripouts and demo on homes

I’m back in Western New York now.  And while I have so many stories to tell about what I’ve seen and experienced down state in the hardhit areas of Hurricane-Superstorm Sandy – I’m also super busy with work and real life.   I know I’ll carve out some time to publish some well-worded stories about my time there.  And I’d also love to report on the everyday heroics I witnessed, the amazing people I met, and I want to express to others around the nation and world just how serious the situation is there.

It’s BAD.

So much work is yet to be done.  So much help is still greatly needed.

taking a quick break one day in staten island

 

push it real good – going uphill with a cart full of supplies to be delivered to homes

 

I’m going to run for now.  But should you be interested in checking out my photos from Staten Island and Long Beach, I’ll post the links to the public albums.

Staten Island Facebook Album

Long Beach Facebook Album

Thanks for reading – and please keep the folks of NY and NJ in your hearts and prayers.  They need all the love and assistance we can muster.

XOXO, HHR

Sandy Relief: So You Wanna Help? Here’s How NOW…

Hi Everyone!

me, all strapped up to do work!

I’ve been here all week working and helping and it’s been a lot of things: crazy, intense, and amazing to see the strength and resilience of those who have been hit the hardest.  I don’t have time for a full-fledged update right now, but I wanted to make sure to get the word out about a few things.

Check out this post I published on Snoo.ws to read about what I’ve been doing. (I work for ICUC, and Snoo.ws is ICUC’s blog – it’s part of my job!).  Also, look for me on social media (www.facebook.com/rose.m.duggan and @RadRoseDuggan) to see pics!

If you want to help now, the needs have shifted from what originally was asked for.  Canned foods and clothing have rolled into NY and NJ in surplus amounts.  So hang on to your winter coat, there are other ways to help.

typical scene on staten island in hardhit areas

NEEDS:

People still do NOT have power.  Their needs are: generators, gas, extension cords, batteries of ALL sizes, flashlights, candles, lighters, head lamps.  Portable stoves or ways to cook without power is rad as well.  And can openers!  Cans everywhere and yet… no way to open them without making a mess.

Homes that have been flooded MUST be gutted, stripped and re-built.  Any TOOLS are needed, work gloves – I cannot stress enough the importance of work gloves and dust masks / respirators.  Shovels of all kinds, axes, sledge hammers, crowbars, the suits you can wear over your clothes to protect your skin from insulation fibers – WORK GLOVES, DUST MASKS.

The air is full of debris and dust from all the demo – it’s crazy.

Clean up: In homes where the storm surged flooded the entire basement and first floor, there is this black mucky mud everywhere you can see.  BLEACH is a needed item.  BLEACH, please send BLEACH!!!  There is also a profound need for cleaners of all kinds, rubber gloves, mops, brooms, scrub brushes, sponges, rags, towels, paper towels or shop towels. Buckets, mops, mops, mops. and BLEACH!

Moving stuff around: If it has wheels, it can be used.  Bags, backpacks, luggage – anything that people without access to cars and gas can use to get around and get supplies around. Wagons and wheelbarrows, bikes, etc. have become necessary entities.

SENDING MONEY:

Of course groups like The Red Cross and other big names have been helping.

If you’re looking for smaller, more direct organizations to get involved with, I would suggest looking for grass roots agents.  The people-driven, community based groups are having a profound impact.  Local restaurants have been donating food and coffee – you could call a locally owned coffee shop in a hardhit area and offer to sponsor coffee for a day to relief workers.

My favorites are:

192 Ebbitts Street, Staten Island NY.  You could send Home Depot, Walmart, K-mart, or Visa/Mastercard gift cards to this address, with “care of Gina” or “care of Frank” on the envelope, and people who can help will be able to get in touch.  Another great contact point for grassroots work is a man named Mike “Loco” Hoffman – find him on Fb or on Twitter @TheMikeLoco.

The Unitarian Church of Staten Island: 312 Fillmore Street  New York, NY 10301; (718) 447-2204 has also been amazing.  Check them out on Fb: https://www.facebook.com/uucsi?fref=ts

Occupy Sandy has been an incredible force in organizing people and dispatching volunteers to where it’s most needed.

And of course, FDNY and NYPD have been helping around the clock.  This Fb group, FDNY Incidents, has been helping people meet needs as well: https://www.facebook.com/FdnyIncidents?fref=ts

And finally… THE HOLIDAYS

I’ll be working on a grassroots project we’ve dubbed “Sandy Claus” working to bring Christmas, Hanukkah  and the holidays to kids/families who’ve been affected by Sandy.  We’ll be working out ways to connect donors to those who could use some cheer.  Stand by in the next week or so for info on that idea to develop!  I will let everyone know.

 

 

THANK YOU so much to all who’ve shown support, interest, love… all your kind thoughts, prayers, donations and LOVE have gone so far down here.

I’ll check back in soon with more pics and with stories I’ve been hearing all week. 

Sandy Relief: NYC-ready, Generosity of Others Has Helped Me Pack!

It’s official.  Any grown man who kindly chuckles when you refer to the industrial strength push brooms inside a Home Depot as, “elephant toothbrushes,” should probably be nominated for sainthood.  Or at least get some kind of Newbery Medal or something.  (Oh calm down, I know what the Newbery Medal is… and seriously, I believe that push-broom humor is way better than Across Five Aprils – just sayin’).

the only feasible use for such an item is cleaning the teeth of an elephant.

What the HECK am I rambling on about? The final hours of prep are behind me and I’m all but ready to hit the road and head down to NYC and pitch in where I can to help with any Sandy Relief efforts.  I’m a little bit loopy (last night’s all-nighter is catching up with me, yes) and a lot excited.  The past week has been a really amazing time for me… and for humankind.   In just a few short days my idea to help a little with the Sandy Relief efforts going on downstate have evolved into a full out movement, with support coming in from so many directions.  Strangers and loved ones alike have been digging deep to give all that they can, trusting me to make wise choices and do as much good as possible, the most humanitarian bang for their buck.   And here we are… it’s just about go time, and I’m simply dazzled by the goodness of people and the love all over this.

I mean, I know it’s not all rainbows and puppies, of course.  I have kept in mind why on earth I’m doing all this in the first place.  Hurricane Sandy was a whopper.  And while she was slamming the coast, and in her aftermath, there’s been the entire gamut of human emotion left in her wake.  We’ve heard some stories in the news, on social media, and through the grapevine about people being pretty nasty to one another (and well, it’s election day tomorrow – so we’ve been hearing about the worst of humanity in smear campaigns for months now)… but right now I want to pay attention to the shinier side of that coin.

Tonight friends, this is a story about hope. 

(And even if it’s kinda wordy and long, I think it’s really a good read.)

This is a story about the kindness and heart of people who want to help, and who mean well, and who are willing to do good.

I really had NO idea what I was getting myself into when I volunteered to start pooling together donations.  Truth be told, I thought I’d be shipping some boxes downstate and that would be that.  But now as I know I have a car chock full of love, a new friend for the journey, plenty more to meet before it’s all said and done, and a race against time and mother nature to do as much good as we can – I’m just honored to be a part of this.

Skip is the man I was talking about up top.  He’s a saint.  He just so happened to be working his usual post in our local Fredonia Home Depot tonight when I came in with a long list of ideas and very little clue about the specifics of what I needed.  When I was on the phone asking silly questions about the kinds of masks and what type of broom, Skip decided I needed some help.  He grabbed a cart, did all the heavy lifting, and walked back and forth across that Home Depot with me so many times.  And when I made my ridiculous jokes, he had the wonderful decency to laugh.  He downright chuckled a couple times, like when I suggested splurging on the hot pink duct tape and letting the homeowners deal with it.  Heh.

After Skip helped me to find the best deals, and explained to me the subtle differences between hand cleaners and crow bars, and plastic vs wood handles on tools – I had to sprint out to the parking lot.

skip, helping me shop with good natured patience

 

skip is the best!

 

Because, simultaneously, as I was getting goods at Home Depot to help in the hard labor (all covered through donations, mind you) – out in the parking lot I was meeting up with an Angel.  Kathy, from a local Catholic church in town, went so far out of her way to help me.  I called around to churched today to see if any places had stores of clothing or blankets, and while mane did not – a lady who happened to be working at one such place offered to do me one better.  “I can clean out my house when I get out of work tonight.”  She brought EIGHT  GARBAGE BAGS… yes, EIGHT full bags of winter clothing, boots, and more.  Kids sizes of all kinds, and stuff for teenagers and adults too.

Yup.  Kathy and her family are going down for Sainthood as well.

kathy, thank you so much! tell your kids we appreciate their work and generosity as well!

And this, she explained to me, was her just getting started!  She said she could do more with some extra time… (speaking of which, hold that thought, we have some ideas in the works for long-term projects to keep taking care of those hardest hit long after the media circus dies down and their lives are still left in pieces).

Skip and Kathy are just two of the amazing people who are making this journey possible.  The kind and generous owners, Edward W. Pagano, Jr. and his wife, of our Fredonia Sears hometown store – they’re sending me to Staten Island with 50 pairs of work gloves, and at least 30 dust masks, water bottles, and more.  Sears as a company already donated to Sandy, this is from two small-business owners in the community, just wanting to do their part to help.  The folks at Smith’s True Value in Irving donated a lot as well, gloves and masks too, plastic sheeting, and other supplies.

the first store to get into the spirit and donate to me

peeking into one of the bags from smith’s true value

 

My friends have been putting money into my paypal account, offering to help in any way they can.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE, Y’ALL.

And just being at the epicenter of so much love, hope, teamwork, and true humanity is honestly one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever experienced.  

I’m meeting a brand new friend tomorrow morning at about 6:00am.   Her name is Kate, and she’s going on this adventure with me! About forty miles from here she’s been experiencing the good of her own “village,” getting donations and all kinds of items ready to go as well.  She’s keeping me company on the ride down and then we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.

Others have called to talk about rides if I go again, or more items I can bring back next time.  I’ve been asked where to send things to, and people have just been WANTING to help.  It’s all so… AMAZING.

Don’t get me wrong.  Hurricane Sandy and the destruction she’s brought to this state, the coastline, and our nation is just jaw-droppingly devastating.  We didn’t stumble upon a gold mine of warm fuzzy feelings unprovoked;  I’m sure that tomorrow as I set eyes on the aftermath for myself, it’s going  to take all this positive energy that’s been percolating to keep me going.  I’m sure there will be tough times to come, and for so many of our fellow brothers and sisters living in the thick of it all right now – they are in some of their darkest days.

All together though, we’ll help brighten things up.

With the thoughtfulness of the Skip, and the encouragement of Eddie (another Home Depot worker who was really kind and helpful, wishing us the best), with the love and nurturing of Kathy, and the warmth from Mary (a local church lady who’s donated some gorgeous handmade blankets for me to bring down)… the resourcefulness of Edward Pagano, Jr., his wife, and the folks at Smith’s True Value for finding so many items they could afford to spare, with the planning of my pal MJ who’s organizing street teams in Staten Island to get the work done… with all these efforts combined, and added to the countless other acts of love, giving, help, thoughtfulness, support, and hard work we are able to create our own force of nature.

home depot = success!

 

from handmade blankets to gas cans, tools, water, boots, and more – the buick is packed full of donations to hand out

We’re leaving very early in the morning, so I’ll just end things on a fabulous and inspiring note for now.

To everyone who has pitched in: THANK YOU, it means so much to me, and I KNOW it will mean so much to the countless lives we’re going to help as best as we can once we’re down there.  If you’ve been hard hit by the storm and you’re at your wit’s end… know that we love you, we’re thinking of you, and there are so many people – people you’ll never know and will never meet – that are doing all they can for you, and will keep at it until your needs are met and life as it should be, is restored. 

and here i am tonight, whizzing out of home depot – an excited (and yes, very very blurry) bundle of happy energy

Still interested?  We haven’t even left yet – gas and other costs are certain to come up.  Just simply wire me some funds via paypal using happyhippierose@gmail.com.  Any donations are appreciated, and I’ll make sure to post about how the money is spent and how much we’re able to do once we get into the hardest-hit areas.

Good night, God Bless, and tune back in to find out more about how this project all plays out!  I’ll post better pictures of what we’re brining when it’s light out tmrw, and of course you can always track me down on Fb or Twitter!

XOXO, HHR 

Sandy Relief: How I’m helping, what you can do, lists, info, + more.

It’s been a busy weekend of emails, calls, and pulling things together.  My little mission to help out Sandy Survivors is actually coming together.  I’m pretty impressed with myself, not gonna lie.  I think that after living in Florida for two and a half decades, dealing with hurricanes is just in my blood, it’s a normal part of life to me.  And well, if you don’t know by now that I tend to be the take-action-do-gooder type, well then you hardly know me at all.

Generous hearts make the world go ’round.  And coming into contact with truly generous people who are so excited and happy to give is a truly humbling experience.

i’m so grateful to anyone and everyone who’s pitching in to help.

When I started the tiny idea to see what I could do to help the Sandy Relief efforts, I had no idea what to expect.  The call for supplies, donations, and any kind of help went out all over the Interwebs.  I’ve posted on Craig’s List Buffalo, reddit, Facebook, all kinds of organization’s Fb pages, Twitter, and more.  And well it hasn’t been a downpour of support, there’s been more than a trickle and it’s really exciting.

i stand by my cheesy lil’ logo!

A few people have chipped in some financial support, I have a pal for the car ride down who will be staying in the NYC-area long term to do clean up work wherever she’s needed, and I have a couple helpful people found out about my plans online and have been putting together donations that we can bring with us.

TWO AMAZING STORES have generously donated items to the effort as well:

Smith’s True Valu in Irving, NY and the Sears Hometown Store here in Fredonia (just down the street from where I live) have been super awesome.  Once we get this whole thing underway, we’ll give them official shout outs and post photos of the items they provided.  We’re hoping in the next day or so to find some more stores will to donate supplies, or at least cut us a break on the cost of items.

NEEDS LIST:

thanks to mj for the link to this awesome list!

The clean up efforts are paramount right now, and thus some things in huge demand are:

  • dust masks
  • gloves – rubber, work, leather, all kinds
  • mops, mops, mops
  • paper towels, regular towels, shop towels
  • tools of any kind, the smaller and more mobile – the better (and remember, power in nonexistent or limited), crowbars, screwdrivers, hammers
  • work boots in all sizes
  • contractor-style garbage bags
  • tarps, plastic sheeting
  • duct tape, rope, zip ties
  • garbage bags
  • gas cans
  • food, formula, water, snacks, OTC meds
  • winter clothing, blankets, bedding
  • and finally – stuff for kids to occupy the boredom and help life their spirits: toys, games, etc.

If you have any desire to get these items to me, I’m more than happy to take them to NYC for you.  There are plenty of grassroots efforts of people who I personally know can use and need these items right away – with zero overhead going to “operating costs,”  just straight from the shelves of stores into the hands of those who need them.  If you trust me, paypal some cash money my way: happyhippierose@gmail.com is my paypal handle!

If you’d like to send your own care packs, there are several places that you can ship stuff to:

Warehouse donated as in-take center

New York Container Terminal
Attn: Sandy Relief Warehouse
300 Western Avenue
Staten Island, NY  10303
or

Staten Island Recreational Association
599 Fr. Capodanno Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10305
Attn: Megan Delmar

….

she seemed so nice at first, but woah did she turn out to be a super bitch!

As many of you know, Duggs (my husband) grew up on Long Island.  His family and friends have been seriously impacted by this storm.  My brother-in-law, and mother-in-law are both still displaced, and unable to return home,  In fact, since we have so many loved ones from Long Beach it’s crazy to try and name everyone and explain the carious states of disarray their lives are in right now.   If you’d like to give money to the Long Beach recovery effort –  here’s a great group:

City of Long Beach Relief
One West Chester Street
Long Beach, NY 11561

There are TONS of groups using Facebook and Social Media to get the word out.  Some great resources to learn more are:

So. Whatever you end up doing – be it making a huge donation to the Red Cross or just sending well-wishes and prayers to those affected, every contribution is wonderful and they all work together and come together to help put things all back together.  Major disasters like this are so terrible, so many lives are just ripped apart, and millions of people are experiencing high levels of stress, sadness, anger, devastation, and more.

Yet… time and time again we see in the darkest of days the most startling displays of true beauty.  Strangers coming together to help each other out, true generosity and kindness, we see helping hands and warm hugs given out freely.   There’s no time machine or magic eraser that can un-do the tragedy… sadly, what’s done is done.  But when given the option of HOW to react, seeing everyday people pick the good, noble, wonderful choice – is an amazing thing to bear witness to.

For everyone who is suffering: you have my warmest thoughts and prayers, as well as my sincere encouragement.

For everyone who is helping:  you have my gratitude and thanks, you are awesome and inspiring.

For everyone who doesn’t know what to do: listen to your heart and you can’t go wrong.

Thanks for reading, y’all!  The donations, support, and well wishes my little caravan have been given are truly inspiring.  And my only hope is that we do some good and help out as many people as we possibly can.  Want to help?  Paypal me some moolah, and I promise it will go to great use:  happyhippierose@gmail.com 

XOXO, HHR

Buffalo’s Stampede of Love: Sandy Relief Effort (Yeah, I’m starting a relief project)

Hurricane Sandy sucks, downstate is a mess, and many of us with hearts and consciences want to do our part to help.  So rather than twiddling my thumbs and hoping someone else takes care of it, I’m stepping up.

Sandy, you tramp! You messed up so much stuff.

I’m starting a relief drive for people affected by Hurricane Sandy in NYC and Long Island.
The project is tentatively called, “Stampede of Love.”  Because it’s coming from Buffalo.  Get it?  I’m so witty.

Facade collapse on a building in Alphabet City – what a nightmare.

This ain’t a 501c3 and I’m not creating an official organization.  If you trust me at my word, and I hope you will, let’s do this and help out some folks who really really need it.   Money, nonperishable food, WINTER CLOTHES, and any and all transportable household items are welcome.  I’m willing to physically collect items people are interested in donating, I’m also willing to be the hub for fiscal donations and see to it that 100% of monies collected go to this effort.  The ONLY thing (other than handing it directly over to a reputable shelter and/or organization down state) that I’d use money collected on is potentially a U-haul or trailer should we get that much stuff donated.  I’m assuming and hoping what we gather will fit in a large SUV, which I plan to rent out-of-pocket as part of this effort.
Today is Wednesday… ideally, I’d love to get to NYC this weekend.  I don’t think that’s quite possible though, and so I’m aiming for a trip in about ten days time, the second weekend in November.   If anyone is interested in helping with that aspect of this whole project, please let me know.

Massive storm surge is the culprit for tons of damage.

Can you even imagine? Such devastation.

I’m interested in collecting goods at my home, or we can meet up in the Walmart parking lot in Fredonia.  I’ll be in North Buffalo for a good while on Saturday.  And well, otherwise, just hit me up and we’ll figure something out.  My email is happyhippierose@gmail.com and I look forward to hearing from you.
Here’s a copy of the post that just went live on Craig’s List:

Hi CL Buffalo,

My name is Rose. I live in Fredonia / Sheridan now, but I grew up in Florida. If there’s one thing I know – it’s how terrible hurricanes are, and how LONG and intense the clean-up and get-your-life back process is. NO ONE CAN DO IT ALONE. My husband and I have lots of family and friends who’ve been affected by Hurricane Sandy down state, in NJ, Rhode Island and elsewhere. We think as fellow New Yorkers, we should and could help out those in the NYC/Long Island area. Thousands of people are homeless and living in shelters, everything they own = destroyed.

We’re going to start with sending money, but the need for household items and clothing is incredible. It’s chilly out, y’all, and some people have lost every scrap of winter clothing they owned. I am interested in driving down with some donated items. Maybe not this weekend, but in about ten days? People will still need things then, that’s for sure. If there was anyone else in the area of WNY interested in volunteering to drive the stuff down (instead of me and my hubs going) – I’d be MORE THAN WILLING to help you organize the clothing and donation drive, as well as donate gas money.

I have no desire in creating an official organization – this is all honor system, y’all. 100% of anything I get will go downstate to those in need. I’m working with some orgs in NYC to find out the areas of greatest need. WNY is full of huge hearts and generous people. Let’s do the right thing and help where we can. Wanna know more about who I am? Check out http://www.happyhippierose.com – it’s my personal blog. You’ll see I’m just a silly, albeit very honest and nice person, and I just want to help. We have a lot of family on Long Island and in the city, and it’s just been awful seeing the devastation.

If you want to donate clothing, household goods, food, whatever, contact me: happy hippie rose (AT) g mail (dot) com – and we can go over drop offs and pick ups. I’m in Chautauqua County now, yes – but have plans to be in North Buffalo Saturday during the day. We can make other arrangements as need be.

ANY AND ALL MONETARY DONATIONS MADE TO < happyhippierose @ gmail .com > via paypal will go to shelters and/or the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy help efforts. Again, honor system here. If you don’t trust me, don’t give. If you want to help, this is a quick and easy way.

Once the ball gets rolling I will update more with specifics. I’ll also use my blog to coordinate things. THANK YOU ALL – have a safe and Happy Halloween, All Saints Day, and God Bless.

-Rose Duggan

I really just want to do the best I can to help.  This storm was awful and came at such a terrible time of year – less than two months ’till Christmas / Hanukkah, and worse than that: it’s COLD out up here.  People need protective clothing and their homes.

Any and all support is welcome, even if it’s just wishing me luck.

Thanks for reading!  XOXO, HHR

Prayers Up

Prayers going out to Colorado, to all those affected in the Aurora movie theater shooting, to the many grieving and hurting right now.  What a terrible, sad, and bizarre tragedy.

I refuse to politicize this incident and turn it into a time to talk about my own personal beliefs.   I had other content in mind for today as well, but that can wait.  Today, now, is time for prayer.

-Rose

LA Times on the entire story 

Cult Fit remembers Jessica Ghawi

Slate on Politicizing the Tragedy

Straight Christian Ally: Talking Points and Such

I just published a pretty intense post about the current gay rights debate going on right now – in the USA, amongst Christians, in the media – it’s everywhere right now.
Lately I’ve found myself tugged into countless online and verbal debates on the topic.  In case you missed my previous post, or don’t know me all that well, I’m a Straight Christian Ally.  Meaning, I love Jesus and try my best to follow His teachings, the Bible, etc., and I also support gay rights, including marriage equality.

thanks to tectonic movement for all of the images in this post!

I’m not alone in this either!
There’s a huge movement out there.  Sometimes known as “allies”  or “I’m sorry” – we’re growing every single day.  One of the bloggers I most respect, Tamara Out Loud, is an awesome mouthpiece for such shared ideals.  She recently attended a Pride Parade, and wrote about her experiences here.
LesBeHonest‘s Staight Ally Page: a variety of videos and quotes, great resource for allies here!
A random blog I found, that’s just one of thousands, that eloquently expresses the “I’m Sorry” aspect to this movement – this is Jeff Jackson’s Tumblr.
Towelroad, a blog with “gay tendancies,” posts some powerful images of apologizing Christians at a Pride parade!
The Atlantic on Gay Marriage and State’s Rights, it’s a bit of an arduous read, fyi.
The link party could go on and on – I just wanted to give y’all some starting points and spring boards.
In the post earlier, I quoted my Fb status from yesterday.  Well – here are some other gems that I’ve spewed onto the Book of Face in the past 24 hours about the issues at hand – quote me, copy me, emulate me, do what you want – I trust my words and intentions will be used in good faith, and if you have any doubts about it, just ask me.  I’m nice like that!

An  AWESOME and OPEN MINDED Fb exchange with a valued pal:
Leigh Palmer: No i know, but it’s not like there is a Chick-fil-A in Chelsea, they are mostly in suburban areas with lots of families, in the south. I could be wrong. ( I have no real research backing this statement up). Any thoughts Rose? I just mean, it seems to be that their customer base is more likely a young “Christian” family rather than someone who a more open mind.
Rose: You’d be surprised. For a few reasons:

Today, with the Internet as powerful as it is, geography isn’t a definer for political thought. The most rural SAHM can be on the up and up of social movements as fast as they’re happening.

Gay Rights and other progressive causes have infiltrated the suburbs. Claire Williams lives in one of the “gayest” zip codes in the country.

CFA is in urban and northern areas; The NYU campus being a major point of contention. Students at NYU voted to keep CFA on campus and it’s caused a huge stir given the locale and progressive tendency of college students.

The chasm of gay rights is causing huge division in the church. Everyday the “I’m Sorry” movement gains followers. More and more “conservative Christians” are waking up to the idea that hate is not a family value, and as such, change is happening. Hence why stalwarts are digging in their heels. They’re terrified.

Just look at Target. They were ousted for their support of homophobic politicians… and they’ve since recanted, donated money to progressive causes and issued apologies. The gay-supporting ban of Target wasn’t well-known or huge, but it was enough, because it evoked real change.

Rose (again): Don’t ever doubt your ability to be one voice that does matter – because to a big company like CFA – they’ve made their empire one sandwich at a time, and we can dissemble it the same way.
Leigh:  ♥ you Rose Duggan — thanks for reminding me of all of those things. 🙂
Rose: you got it girl!! love you too leigh, your honesty is awesome! i love that you aren’t afraid to ask questions!!
More random Fb gems from various threads: 
I love Jesus, and I’m not eating at Chic-fil-A. If you claim to love Jesus, get the hate out your mouth.

I’m just tired of “Christians” using a soap box to speak out from a place of bigotry.

Not all Christians hate. Some of us try to love everyone, just like Jesus asked us to. And I do NOT mean anyone personally in this thread – I mean the Pres and C-Suite of CFA. They’re comfortable projecting further the image that Christians judge and condone one another.

Love they neighbor. Judge not lest ye be judged.

I think the community works of CFA are amazing, really, I know so many people who’ve benefitted from fundraisers and money in their local communities. I also respect that they encourage family dynamics by being closed on Sundays – I truly love that about the company.

And I think their food is SO GOOD. I grew up on CFA. I crave that lemonade and those breakfast biscuits.

But.

At the end of the day this is 2012 and I am not okay with a corporation levying its public influence with such hatred.

 On the issue of boycotts being hateful and judgmental:
A boycott is a peaceful, legal, and proper way to engage in social criticism by voting with your consumer power. A boycott is NOT an act of violence or hatred.

This country is founded on a plethora of rights, including that of being able to express your ideals, freely, in a variety of ways. Being a capitalist society – the almighty dollar tends to be the vehicle that carries a belief the fastest.

I firmly respect anyone’s right to believe whatever they like – be that homophobic hatred or true Christianity. Or anything. That’s America, baby.

I just don’t have to use my money to fuel a machine that churns out vile, evil, hatred. A machine that donated millions of dollars to homophobic groups even in 2009. CFA is a massive consumer power – it’s ability to fundraise, lobby, and support the entities of its choice cannot be overlooked.

If you – this is the general “you,” meaning anyone – feels firmly that gay rights should not exist in this country and that homosexuality is evil, grab your picket sign and go to work. No one is stopping you from expressing an ideal or opinion. In fact, much like the SCOTUS upheld WBC’s right to hate away – I do the same for anyone. Just know that there are plenty of people, myself included, who don’t believe that same sex relationships are displeasing to God. And in fact – we go so far as to encourage them out of love, support, and kindness for our fellow man. Ya know… kinda like how Jesus asked to do so.

I truly understand and appreciate the local impact of CFA. I have so many friend who’ve personally testified to the greatness this one company can do for the location in which the restaurant is established.

But there’s something bigger at play here.

The President of a major company being so openly hateful – it’s just not okay. As good as their food is, as hard as the employees work, as much as they nurture and support the local communities they’re in – the damage of the power-wielding C-Suite is just too much.

If a boycott could effectively slice to their bottom line, I guarantee they’ll come back around hat in hand, singing a different tune.

Just look at Target. Same thing and they’ve come around, and now they’re trying to make up for their ways.

Andres posted a link to the NY Daily News along with this text:
“Over $2 million dollars donated to anti-gay organizations! They claim not to be a christian organization, and very supportive of the family, but only their definition of family. Well I can promise you that me and my non-biblically defined family will never be eating here again. Hate is not a family value.”
My reply:
THANK YOU! I’m up to my elbows in online debate right now… I’m SO FIRED UP.

This is NOTHING NEW. I’ve boycotted CFA since ’09 when I discovered that my money spent of delicious sandwiches was fueling the fire of hatred.

If you love Jesus, you have no business HATING others. That ain’t Christian at all.

….
On the issue of the south, particularly my home town, being tough to change:
I’m from Ormond Beach. And while I understand the stigma of the South being “set in its ways” – change can and does happen.

Florida was still a blue state in the ’08 election cycle.

With the Internet as it is today, physical geography is becoming less and less of a barrier to political thought and social movements.

Some of the “gayest” zipcodes in America are in southern states – like the northside of Jacksonville, Fl or Asheville, NC. Every single day the “I’m Sorry” movement gains followers.

And finally… it’s been done before. I know that Target is a farther-reaching company. But the boycott of Target did not get the viral attention this issue is getting, and yet that pressure was enough to elicit change. Target was caught supporting anti-gay political candidates in MN (the state of its corporate offices) and after public backlash the megastore issued apologies, pulled funding to such entities, and instead gave money to progressive causes.

More Resources?  You got it!
Chic-fil-A protest link party, here you can jump off to lots of info.
A crazy brightly colored page chock full of awesome talking points for the support of Gay Marriage.
Nation For Change – all you need to know about Marriage Equality!  (awesome awesome resource right here).
CanyonWalkerConnections – a ton of info and links for Straight Allies.
I could keep going, but really – I think this is tons and tons to get you started, right?
AS ALWAYS – Thanks for reading!  If at any time you have questions, concerns, issues, or more – reach on out and contact me.  This is a dialogue, a discussion, and it goes two ways! 
xoxo, hhr

Jesus Doesn’t Want You To “Eat Mor Chikin”

Toddlers and Tiaras.  Oil and Water.  Ammonia and Bleach.  JESUS and HATE.

Some things just don’t go together, y’all.  They just don’t.   Add one more combo to the list:  Chic-fil-A and my money.

from gawker

I normally like my blog to be a place of fun, happiness, passion in proper doses… but today it’s taking all the restraint I own not to go thermonuclear red hot Sicilian on everyone.  Let’s get fired up! 

(This blog will probably go down smoother if you crank the Gaga and let her pulse pumping melodies take you to that happy place of tolerance and dance moves)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Chic-fil-A is a homophobic company.  A company based on Christian ideals, but one that is ultimately homophobic and comfortable announcing such vile hatred to the country at large.  The mostly-Southern chain famous for slinging delicious fried chicken sammies and breakfast biscuits has been embroiled in a homophobic slurry for years.  This is not new news.  I’ve been on a permanent “boycott” of the establishment for a while now; in 2009 they gave nearly $2million to anti-gay groups and funded politicians of the same credo.  Based on a recent statement made to the public by CFA’s head honcho – new flames of fury are being stoked, fresh eyes are opening to the hatred, and more people are newly becoming aware of what is going down.

CFA isn’t all bad.  Duh, I know this.

Their food is beyond dope.  It’s some tasty chicken, y’all (let’s just be real).  And I am super aware of the local good they bring to the communities in which they’ve established restaurants.  CFA has a pretty open door policy about helping local groups of all kinds fundraise using their goods and facilities.  I know so many people who’ve personally said “our school band wouldn’t exist without CFA,”  or “the scholarships they offer employees put me through school.”  I know that they do good works.  And fundamentally, I’m cool with a company that has a religious background and works to keep those ideals intact.  CFA has never been open on Sundays, and I respect that choice.  Heck, I even admire it.

Here’s what President Cathy had to say about CFA’s religious affiliation, from the NY Daily News:

Despite a corporate statement declaring that the purpose of Chick-Fil-A is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us,” Cathy told the Baptist Press that it isn’t a Christian business.  Christianity “is about a personal relationship,” he said. “Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are. But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/chick-fil-a-cops-anti-gay-guilty-charged-company-president-article-1.1116841#ixzz214cv2oRi

But telling the whole world that gay ain’t okay is the line in the sand.  Don’t believe me?  Ask the Internets:

CNN Blog: CFA and Gay Marriage = Media Storm

Daily Mail UK:  Anti-Gay Stance Sparks Protest

Huff Post: Chicken with a Side of Bigotry 

Facebook has been a flurry of debate since the newest set of statements coming from CFA’s top dog went viral yesterday.  Also making news this week – the Boy Scouts of America went ahead and chimed in to the national debate of gay rights by letting us all know that they’ll be upholding their ban of gay kids.  It’s enough to make a gal sick.  But crumpling in defeat in the face of hate ain’t my style.  When the going gets tough, the tough get blogging.

Last night I made a pretty passionate Fb Status:

Attn America: The Boy Scouts and Chic-fil-A want you to make SURE that you know how evil homosexuality is, and thus, in the year 2012 they’re randomly issuing statements to go ahead and inform of us their bigoted positions.

Methinks this is another stunt from the Romney propaganda machine. I mean, he got the NAACP to boo him on purpose to help increase votes in racist areas.

The debate that sparked was pretty intense.  You can check out my profile to see it all for yourself!  I’ll also be posting a part two after this with some of my favorite talking points – in case you find yourself asking questions and/or ensnared in vitriolic discussion.

Last night and already today, I’ve been jumping into debates here and there – I’ve also gotten some PMs asking me to explain my beliefs.  How is it that I can be openly Christian, a Bible-believer – and still support gay rights?  The answer, dear reader, is easily and readily.

I am a Christian Who Supports Gay Rights. 

I believe in a Jesus that exclusively taught love.

I believe that the Biblical use of words that “support” anti-gay rhetoric are misinterpreted.  For more clarification and get my POV – check this link out.

Hypocrisy is not okay:  Leviticus is not a substantial reason to be anti-gay.  If you’re still wearing poly-cotton blend, eating shellfish, touching a woman when she’s on her monthly, if you don’t stone to death adulteres… you’re not upholding ALL of Leviticus.  The Bible ain’t a grocery store, you don’t get to pick and choose.  Furthermore, Leviticus is from the OT.  If you’re NT kinda Christian (which, technically, you must be – right?) using one odd phrase from the Old Testament to fuel your hate is (more than) a stretch.

Furthermore… the very same parts of the Gospel that speak against “homosexuality” also speak against a host of other human sins, some that I think are important and others that I don’t. If you want to go the Levitican route, it seems so silly to uphold just that one teensy clause when so many Christians are allowed to wear cloth made of mixed fibers (poly-cotton blend is against the Bible, you know). You can eat shellfish, touch a woman within eight days of her period and refrain from stoning to death known adulteres, all without condemnation from Christians… but but… if you “lay with a man” you’re evil?

It’s all or none. And I can’t stand the hypocrisy of picking and choosing.

In other sections of the Bible that speak to homosexuality, it speaks to sexual depravity – and again, I evoke the translation error.  Jesus speaks SO MANY times at lengths about things that are important to Him. Where in the Bible does Jesus actually address being gay?  NO WHERE.

Love each other. Be patient. Take care of one another. These are the things that Jesus took the time to teach us about….  He never ranted and raved about the evils of being gay the way today’s big time super conservative preachers do.  I think its a misuse of power and persuasion to throw the church and God behind an ideal that’s clearly political and of our own culture.

There’s always the idea of hating the sin, but loving the sinner. While I think that’s pretty lame and not embracing gay people and their rights in a full context – it’s better than being all around hateful. I suppose by that same mentality people can hate adultery, but still love adulterers.

But beyond all of this – I truly know and believe in my heart that people are born gay. Sure as I was born heterosexual, I believe that others are born gay. And thus, I must accept and know and trust that God created these people this way.  And it’s neither our place or God’s desire for us to be the ones who judge them. Not at all.  Love is love. People are people.   If two people love each other and want to love each other, and that’s what makes them happy – then I am so all about it, 100% flying (rainbow) colors in support of it.

Jesus taught us to love. 

This is something I’ve just known in my heart of hearts, and something I’ve had reinforced for me via prayer many times.

that’s me! (photo cred)

So there you have it folks.  In case you didn’t know – now you do.  I am a Christian and I fully support gay rights.  I’m a straight ally, and I have been for a very long time.  Even back in my UNF Student Gov’t days, I was an ally (before I even knew how that term applied to this issue!).  I used to always be the Senator to introduce/sponsor bills from the PRIDE club – they even gave me an award my junior year for being such a fervent supporter.

If you’re a reader with a difference of opinion – please know that I respect and appreciate all sides of an issue, as well as your right to your own beliefs and ideals.  I’m a true American in that spirit and proudly embrace the freedoms of choice that we all have.   Hopefully, this post serves as insight into my belief structure and not as a form of antagonism.  If you have ANY questions or want to hash this out more – just reach out to me.  I’ll try my best to get back to you in a timely manner.

I will publish that second post of links and quotes in a hot minute too.

Edit: Here’s the second post, it’s up now! 

AS ALWAYS – Thanks for reading y’all!  This is a biggie and an important one, and even if all you did was read this and then decide this blog isn’t for you – I at least appreciate your time. 

xoxo, hhr