Friday, December 30, 2011

RAZ 2011: A Truly Rewarding Way To Spread Some Joy #RAZ2011 @Zhuniverse

This year I was chosen as one of 100 bloggers to participate in the RAZ 2011 Program with Cepia, LLC the makers of the Zhu-niverse™ toys and MomSelect™. Each blogger received between 20-96 boxes of Zhu-themed toys to give to the local charity(ies) of their choice.  This is the third year that Cepia has done their RAZ program and I am SO excited to have been chosen as one of the bloggers!

I ended up receiving 20 big boxes of traditional Zhu-Zhu Pet toys and their playsets. I bundled them into 28 bundles and started my quest for the perfect charity to work with.  (Pictures coming when I find my camera that the kids ended up playing with over Christmas)

I remembered this wonderful charity that I was introduced to at a local community event this summer called Heartbeat for Wounded Warriors, and I contacted Janice, the Founder/President to see if they could use the Zhu bundles.  She was very excited and started reaching out within her network to see who had the greatest need for the toys.

Janice actually had me work directly with Deborah, a Lead Family Assistance Coordinator working with the National Guard so I could get the toys to the divisions that needed them the most QUICKLY.  When Deborah and I met in person, she explained that many of our National Guard members went overseas when called to Active-Duty, but when they returned to resume their normal jobs (they normally have every-day jobs during the week, and National Guard jobs on the weekend, until they are called to Active Duty), many of those jobs didn't exist anymore due to the downturn in the economy and businesses closing or down-sizing, and that many members are still having trouble finding permanent jobs.  She then explained that she had plenty of families that would LOVE to receive the help of the Zhu toys for Christmas, and that she would be giving them to families that day.

Bundled Set - Close-up
Filled The Back of My Van!

Deborah (Right) and Me (Left)
When I think of both the RAZ 2011 program and the Heartbeat For Wounded Warriors, I will have to admit that the whole thing brought tears to my eyes more than once.  Knowing the work that Heartbeat does for soldiers and their families across the US, and that they are a locally-based charity, I am so happy to have been part of their support network for a very short time.  I highly encourage you to visit their website and read more about what they do and how they help families across the United States.

About Heartbeat For Wounded Warriors

Heartbeat—Serving Wounded Warriors provides emergency assistance, therapeutic services, support groups, and morale-building programs for wounded service members and their families in Washington state. Our focus is on the wounded and injured. Heartbeat is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization — donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

We offer our programs to wounded and injured service members from all branches of the military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy.

How we help
Heartbeat’s programs and services for wounded warriors and their families are continually growing. We offer support for many types of needs: emergency, physical, emotional, and daily living.

-Current services and programs include
-Emergency financial assistance
-Back in the Saddle Warriors—equine assisted therapy program
-Scuba Warriors—therapeutic scuba activity
-Morale-Building programs and events
-ARC kits for incoming wounded warriors

Read more about Why They Help and their History at the Heartbeat website.

I'd like to say a huge Thank You to Cepia LLC for donating the toys, and MomSelect for coordinating and communicating about this great program! I'm truly blessed and consider this experience to have been a huge benefit to my local community, and I'm very proud to have been a part of it.

Check out all the great Zhu-Zhu toys at

*Disclosure: Cepia, LLC provided the toys for the RAZ 2011 program, and MomSelect coordinated the disbursement of the toys and all communication.  I did not receive any form of communication or toys for this event, but ended up taking away the satisfaction that I got to be part of a large group of bloggers helping local communities.

Reposted from my original blog Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reads (and More) in Seattle, some things may have been edited, originally published December, 2011


Christianfictionaddiction said...

What a fantastic program - this is the first I've heard of it. Great post :)


Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reads in Seattle said...

Thanks Jeremy! I really feel good about participating in this program and hope to be able to do it again next year! :)

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

What a really fantastic program! I will help spread this. THank you!

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reads in Seattle said...

Thanks Melissa! :)


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