When I was growing up: I knew two things for certain:
- I wanted to own a business & be my own boss
- I wanted to give back to society in some way
These two goals stemmed from the example set by my parents, both of whom owned businesses. My dad, who passed away earlier this year, was ambitious to a fault. His lifelong goal was to be an entrepreneur, and he achieved it at the age of 38 when he opened his woodworking company: American Custom Woodworking (which is still in business to this day). My mom started an iteration of this company back in 1989 and has always been an independent woman. My charitable side is also courtesy of mom, who started working for a local food pantry when I was 10 years old. Our soccer picnic generated far too many leftovers, and in her search to find someone to take them in, she found a new passion. She has been working at FISH Food Pantry of McHenry ever since, and has risen to the role of Director.
It's always been understood in our family that we help people who need it. That's how my sister and I were raised, and it's a standard we always strive to meet.
In my full-time job, I work for a non-profit, which makes me feel happy and fulfilled in ways that the hospitality industry (my resume from years 2006-2019) never did. Though I love my job, it doesn't involve some of the causes that I care very deeply about. So, that being said, when I started this business, I knew that I wanted it to also be an outlet to give back.
When my dad was very ill, he was placed on hospice care in my childhood home, where a nurse checked in daily. Besides that check-in, my mom was his primary caregiver. The toll it took on her, and all of us, was immense. It is a beautiful and terrifying thing for someone that you love so much to entrust you with their last days. I can't describe how difficult it was, because in most ways, I still haven't fully processed it. Though, I can say that the strength and perseverance it takes to be a caregiver is beyond measure.
This experience has inspired me to honor caregivers in a way that aligns with my business. I'd like to give one gift basket a quarter away to a caregiver who deserves recognition and some thoughtful gifts to get them through (or at least briefly distract from) the difficulties they are dealing with on a daily basis.
In this small way, I hope we can make a difference in families' lives when they are going through such a heartbreaking time.
To nominate a caregiver, please look out for the social media posts asking for email nominations. You'll be able to nominate someone via email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us who you'd like to nominate and why, and we'll choose someone at random to send a gift to.
There is nothing more lonely than dealing with losing your most loved one, we hope this gesture can help, at least a little bit.