My husband Ty and I have lived in Saint Petersburg since 1975. We have three grown children, one son and two daughters. And we are blessed with three granddaughters.
Our own children and their three little ladies Liberty, Promise and Glory are our jewels. They are all our treasures.
Thus, the name of our organization, Treehouse Treasures USA
How our organization started
I was reading an article in the Saint Petersburg Times about a six year old child who was battling cancer. Our granddaughter,Glory, who was ten at the time was spending the afternoon with us. She noticed the photo of the frail and balding little girl in the paper. The girl was shown drawing a sign for a bake sale that her mother was having at a local YMCA to earn money for her chemotherapy treatments.
“Why is she almost bald, Grand mom?" And then “Can I be her friend? I could sell cupcakes too ... ?"
So our first act of kindness was a cupcake sale. Glory spent the night at our house on Friday baking cupcakes and decorating them with pink frosting.
The next day she sold them at the entrance to the local ladies gym. She earned almost $200 in one afternoon. She bagged up what was left from the
sale and along with the picture of the little girl she took them to her mother’s nail technician on the way home. This yielded another $70.
Not satisfied that she had enough money for her new friend she went home and baked cookies and sold them to the neighbors. Another $50 was earned through her efforts. That night she called her Aunt Jenny in Jacksonville and told her all about her new friend. Jenny had just had a yard sale to earn money for a new clothes dryer but she promptly sent a hundred dollars to Glory.
Jenny and her two children, Liberty and Promise decided to have a bake sale too.
Glory now had what she considered a lot of money to send to her new friend. She went to her classmates at St. Petersburg Christian School and told Morgan’s story to her class. The class prayed God would heal her. And Glory was able to mail 35 get well cards along with her gift to Morgan.
Glory learned a year later that Morgan was in remission! God is faithful.
After the experience of her first Act of Random Kindness, Glory wanted to know if I would help her start a business of helping people,as she described it. A club that her friends could join.
We now call this A.R.K.K. (Acts of Random Kindness Kids) Club. Our goal is to teach children that leadership is all about helping others succeed with their goals.
Acts of Kindness build leadership qualities and change our world.
We hope to inspire others as we perform Acts of Random Kindness in our community, especially those that encourage Godly Principles and Patriotism. We believe that our organization can be a powerful weapon against bullying in our schools. We have already started to lead by example.
We pray others will join us.
Treehouse Treasures USA helps our Wounded Warriors
Not long after the bake sale, we learned that the Recreational and Therapy Dept. of the VA Hospital in Tampa Florida have a wish list of programs that the patients want. One of the programs was a cooking group they wished to start for the patients. This group would be especially helpful to our Wounded Warriors with severe trauma. Many of these patients were soldiers just arriving home
from Afghanistan and Iraq.
We decided to create a cookbook with a military theme to offer in exchange
for donations. We started with family and friends asking them to share a recipe to honor someone in the military along with the name of that person,when they had served and what branch of service. That way we could include pages of honor in the book. Soon we had recipes and stories from all over the United States, just by word of mouth.
It took from Aug until Nov to complete the book. Many times during the process of typing recipes, editing and putting names in alphabetical order thoughts of how we would pay for these books when it was time to order tried to invade
my concentration. But creating something to honor our brave men and women felt so good I didn't dwell on the obvious.
Finally the time came to publish and pay and it looked as though we would have to go through the process of finding sponsors. We wanted all the proceeds from the book to go to Wounded Warriors and not have to pay for the cost of the books out of money we raised.
I was soon to discover the Lord had been placing ideas in my husband’s heart all along. I’m not sure my husband even knew he was going to do it until the day I needed to order the books.
So an “Act of Random Kindness” came from within our own organization!
Marines Come To The Rescue
After watching me struggle with creating the cookbook my husband decided to help me meet my goal. He paid the entire amount of the cost to publish the cookbooks to honor his platoon, the men he served with in Vietnam. So we paid it forward on our first venture.
1966 to 1968 saw the largest buildup of American troops in the Viet Nam War and it also saw the greatest number of casualties. They fought in horrendous conditions, in the mountains, rice paddies and jungles, and whether they were Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines-- they all experienced a fear that most of us will never know.
Even if they survived unscathed their lives were changed forever.
These men came from all walks of life, from every town USA. They were the poor, the rich, the middle class, college graduates and high school dropouts, but at one point in their lives these men from different backgrounds came together in Viet Nam. In a short amount of time they found themselves thinking alike acting as one.
A brotherhood would be formed that would last a lifetime.
One of these groups was Alpha Company 1 Battalion 1 Marines 2nd Platoon. When these men came home from the war there were no parades welcoming them home, no hero’s welcome. But they would always be a hero to each other. And there did remain a brotherhood.
These men are in their 60’s today and still get together for reunions. And most keep in touch if only by email.
Semper Fi has become their lifelong commitment. They have not forgotten what it was like to struggle to come all the way home from the battlefield. Only the names have changed.
We have to admire the fact that from the 1960's to their 60's these men are still that ever vigilant group of Marines caring for the new heroes of today as well as each other. Of course these men each bought one or more of our cookbooks!
The day they arrived was exciting! Imagine 300 books arriving at our doorstep!
The distribution of the books is very widespread mainly because the recipes were donated to honor a veteran and came from all over the United States.
So now I had to learn how to design a website so orders could be placed. ( You are looking at it. :) )
My daughter Jenny called from Jacksonville to inform us that she had gained the support of several business owners in her area that were willing to help us with small sponsorship donations and also give us coupons to give away with each book. The owner of one of these companies invited us to all three of her store locations in local malls to set up a table and offer our books to the public.
The Navy steps in
My son in law is in helicopter search and rescue. He has proudly served in the Navy for 12 years. When my daughter asked him to carry a donation can, dress up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, and wear a sign on his back that read, Looking for someone with a heart for our military. He was up for the challenge, face makeup and all.
Valentine’s Day weekend found our family and the Tin Man in Jacksonville, Florida at three different Malls in three days. The children passed out flyers, Wounded Warrior pins and stickers and collected donations. To their delight they enjoyed all the ice cream they could eat from our sponsor's store. And the employee's emptied their tip jar for the Wounded Warriors at the evenings end.
Radio Interview We were invited to do a three minute radio interview about our cookbook and our project for the Wounded Warriors. This was new to us, but it was fun!
“Have a Heart” event in Jacksonville was very successful and the children in our family can’t wait to help the soldiers again.
When we returned to Saint Petersburg we were able to visit the trauma unit at the Tampa Veterans Hospital and present a check for the entire cost of the Bon Appetite program. (see slide show)
Next the children went to the Wounded Warriors in Jacksonville and presented them with a check. (see slide show)
We recently donated to the Hospice Unit at The Bay Pines Hospital in Saint Petersburg, Florida.(see slide show)
What started with an innocent question from our granddaughter, Glory has became a learning experience for me that I will treasure. It has profoundly changed my life and that of my family.
My daughter Jenny is a stay at home Navy mom and has since completed a course in fund raising. She is busy helping military families. She is our Events Co-ordinator. Her daughters Liberty and Promise have started a Kindness Club in Jacksonville.
Her husband is still in the Navy and currently seeking a degree in Business and Operational Management so he can help with our planned projects.
Glory and Liberty are busy developing art for some of our future books, and inviting friends to be part of ARKK Club in Saint Petersburg.
My husband Ty is busy helping other veterans receive their much deserved benefits. He is the backbone of all our endeavors.
He is a man whose Purple Hearts have turned to Gold.
Please prayerfully consider sponsoring our cause with your tax deductible donation.