Jeff Aichinger here....
As we come up on the end of Summer 2013, it means that in a few weeks I expect to be celebrating my 50th birthday.
I rarely do this, but this year I have a birthday wish.
My wish is that by my birthday I'm going to be able to make a difference for someone new in my life.
Please let me explain...
(btw, for those who know about my project and want to support us but want to skip the long story, you can get right to the donation options by Clicking Here. Others can continue reading...)
Fact is that, for me, birthdays truly are not a big deal. I enjoy having my wife make me a cherry nut cake. The cake reminds me of my parents and my grandparents. I think one of the special people in my life has made a cherry nut cake for every single one of my birthdays. And that's fine because that's truly all I want at birthday time - a nice day with my current family and nice memories of the family members who aren't with us today.
So, instead of throwing a 50th b-day party for myself where people give me well-meaning but frankly, unnecessary gifts, I'm going to take a different route. I'm going to follow the lead of cousin Michael Hutten. Last year Mike had a milestone birthday. Instead of a party he asked friends to support a literacy program that he admires. I flat out loved that idea and I'm going to follow Mike's example and do something similar.
Sue and I have given gift of $2500 (50 dollars for each of the 50 years I've been around) to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo to support their Food and Nutrition Program. I'm also going to pledge to donate 50 hours of volunteer time to the clubs. Finally, I'm going to attempt to get at least 50 family members, personal friends, business associates and even a few folks I haven't formally met yet to donate $50 (or more) to this program.
I know that this effort, especially with your support, will make an important difference for many of families who are members of the City of Buffalo NY's Boys and Girls Clubs.
Take note that I didn't just say that we'd make a difference for some of the children who attend the BGCs in Buffalo. The Food and Nutrition Program is an outstanding effort because of the power and versatility of its reach. It feeds children up to 3 times per day. It teaches the parents of club members how to create healthful meals at home and how to shop for healthful foods. While the program is run by a qualified food service professional, many BGC members help with the food prep so it teaches teenagers about responsibility, compassion, communication skills, and so much more. The program also teaches involved children about the important concept of a day's work for a day's pay as those *employees* are paid for their efforts in Club Bucks. In short, the Food and Nutrition Program makes a difference to all of those it touches. Will you help me, help them?
Oh, and to answer your questions of "Why Me?" and "Why Now?"...
I suppose the simple answers are "because I should" and "because I can".
I'm very lucky to be in a wonderful circle of influence. We have loving families. We have loyal friends. We have great business relationships. I'm not afraid to invite people (Like You!!) to get involved into something new.
I want to invite you to help the city of Buffalo Boys and Girls Clubs!!
Especially with your help, we can make a difference.
Our church (Zion Lutheran, Clarence Center NY) has a motto.
We're encouraged to Love God and Love Our Neighbors Because Nothing Else Matters.
Loving our neighbors, to me, means that we need to help anyone who needs support. Not just those next door or around the corner. I don't really have any personal or professional ties to Buffalo proper any longer but I know that there is great need in the core city of my home region. Recent US Census info shows that Buffalo is the 3rd poorest city in America. Living in an outer suburb of Buffalo could easily make me forget how much distress still exists in many homes within that city. I know the BGC of Buffalo works hard to lessen the strain on many city families so I want to help them in their effort.
So, personally, I've waited long enough, now is the time to extend my hand to help neighbors who need our support. I'm glad Michael nudged me to do this. I hope that many of you who are dozens or hundreds or thousands of miles away will agree to help our neighbors in Buffalo.
I'd like to invite you to join me.
Your support of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo Food and Nutrition Program would be the best birthday gift you could give this nearly 50 year old man.
More importantly, it'll make a difference for your neighbor...
Click Here to support the BGC of Buffalo!