Last Elf posting for 2012: Ebony’s Story

Our second family’s (Ebony) story is lower in this email.

The ELF Story

For those of you who are new to Project Elf, I want to give you some insight into ALL the different people and things that have to assemble to make this production happen. This year my estimate is that around 95 people worked on this project in some way.

This was our 7th year of the “crazy full house makeover” and the 12th year I have hosted this project. We still see many of the families that we served over the years because we all sort of fall in love with them and want to check in and see how life is going. I am proud of every one of these parents for raising great kids, and they all do.

The concept of this amazing GIFT is about aligning resources differently. Taking what one person is not using and gifting to another who needs it. Project Elf is based on gifting in a way that is purposeful, coordinated, and staged to perfection. And it is always perfect!

Our combined GIFT to these families is about $7,000-$10,000 in value to each family in recycled, handmade, and new items and about $4000 of volunteered time, not to mention storage units, gas money, delivery trucks, gift cards and a meal at the mall and wrist bands to ride all day (thank you Crave!). Had we paid the volunteers for their services for JUST delivery day we would have had a labor cost of about $1,600.

The vast majority of those who donate to this project are individuals who are moved by the project and have enlisted their friends and families to participate. That included gathering friends from church, and a work group, making cake plates, sewing quilts, driving to Hudson for a high chair, driving across the state to pick up a sewing machine, making a meal to leave for the family, bringing lunch to our hungry volunteers, painting a picture for these people to hang on their walls, gathering wallets and filling them with gift cards for the families, gathering quarters for laundry machines, sending in bus cards, having a family gather and gift kitchen items, giving a free hair cut, buying bed pillows for every child, sending cleaning products and laundry soap, or concentrating on one special area like make-up or accessories.

We also have support from small business owners that contribute, like Officenters who donated all the stockings and filled them to the brim with goodies and sent some very cool furniture. Three new beds came from Easy Rest, PC Doodle manages the computer needs and gifted a home PC and some jamming speakers, Crave restaurant gave the generous multi-course meals for the families and the MOA wristbands for every child, and to the various small businesses that make various cash and in-kind donations.

Many people are shocked that these families often have five people in a single bedroom. There is a rental shortage in the twin cities for the third year and the average market rent for a 2 bedroom low profile rental is about $1,200 a month. The cost to wash and dry a load of laundry is $6.

The homes Elf services are homes that are nearly devoid of resources. So something as simple as buying spatulas and measuring cups has to wait until there is enough in the budget to sustain the family. For the families coming out of a shelter 75-95% of their income goes to keep a roof over their heads. In this case, the monthly income of one of our participants this year- her family of 5 has a monthly income of $931. Her subsidized rent is $700 of that monthly income. She has a roommate that pays the other $600 of the rent with a total monthly rental of $1,100 a month plus utilities.

You can see that in order to buy the items that we gift would require an immense amount of time to create enough additional resources to supply an entire houseful of basic needs. One benefit of arranging resources in this manner is that families get all of your items through ELF as a gift and they can start to build a foundation. Whereas when you gift items to a thrift store-based donation system these families would have to purchase those items from the store.

Funny story- on this delivery: One volunteer teen noticed things she had gifted a few months ago being used in the home of the people we were serving. It brought home the message of how MUCH she had to offer by just sending her cast-offs to another young girl who would LOVE her cute stuff. And she did have cute stuff and that girl LOVED her cute stuff. I love her cute stuff too.

The immense amount of STUFF we bring is often the first time they have ever had a home where “it all adds up”. We create a foundation of strength and offer to help them keep it if they have to move, by raising cash for a moving truck. In project Elf we fill cupboards with food, drawers with socks, closets with clothes and coats, fill bedrooms with beds, sheets, blankets, provide cooking utensils, art on the walls, a design to the house, dishes, cookware, flatware, storage containers, furniture, rugs, lamps, décor, toys, books, medicine cabinets, cleaning supplies, and every teeny thing we can think of. All you have to do is look around your house and see how much it takes to make a house complete.

We needed every one of the 95 people to add to this project!

So for those of you who are hooked on this project, we always need cash to buy items that did not come in and that were not on the list, Home depot gift cards for building materials, bus cards, and people who can act as gatherers. For those of you who are shopaholics, clearance bin sifters, garage sale divas, or thrifters, you can start right now gathering for a new home that we will serve next year. I call for items every November.

All of the donations that did not work out on this year’s design go to the 5 back-up families that are also waiting for our gifts. The need is great and you cannot gift too many socks, back packs, cleaning supplies, diapers, personal care items, or small toys. I also host a year round closet that serves these families while they are IN the shelter.

Thank you for all that you do and for the great things we accomplished together.

Mickey Mikeworth
Founder, Rich Chicks Project Elf
President, Mikeworth Consulting

Ebony’s story

This is the next morning. Ebony talks at the speed of light- so imagine words falling out of her mouth at a pace that makes you want to catch your breath. She is as excited and bright as a kid- she is a kid- she is 23.

I am so excited I do not know where to start other than it is beautiful and LOVE everything! I have not stopped cooking or eating. ( big laugh)

It so much more than just a bed, we have a bigger outlook on life. I want to cry to relieve my happy feeling being so BIG. (Exhale) I am so happy I don’t know what I have to cry about- but this is sooo cool. I did this for my kids but I had no idea so much would be about ME! ( big laugh)

I do not know how one day can be so impactful. The fancy food at Crave (Crave West End, a partner in the Elf story) and the rides in the park were awesome and tried new stuff and loved it. . We had so much fun it was like being someone famous. I felt so “in” like I should have worn sunglasses and been signing autographs.

My kids are enthralled with their room. They did not stay in that room when it was the other way now they do not leave it. They have a place to play and it is so peaceful and bright. I love the flowers.

When we got home I covered the girl’s eyes and just let them walk into the room. They just saw magic. My nieces felt the magic. And then the girls saw the dolls in the vintage bassinette.. We were ALL in awe.

I have never imagined a room so put together and with so many treasures. I love it and want to explore every little thing in that room. The flower shop sign made me giggle it was all so pulled together. The vintage vibe was so cool, and made it more fun.

The ART blew me away- the kids love their room but I love having things be about ME sometimes.This place certainly has more of ME in it. ( big laugh)

The dishes are so cute and the table – we are going to have a fairy breakfast or something. I want to put cereal in those bowls and sit on my comfy couch( that is the same couch but now that it is covered it feels more cushy.) Or maybe a big bowl of ice cream and watch late night TV. Those bowls just make you want to hold them.

I was impressed by the unique ways you manage storage in our teeny place and how the whole place looks bigger. I feel like we have more space.

Everything was thoughtful; I do not know HOW all those elves made every little thing so perfect. The extra blankets stuffed inside big pillow covers to make floor pillows was brilliant. I would never have thought of that. I am going to keep that idea for the rest of my life because I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I need to keep a lot of blankets around and they always look messy.

We never understood how to organize a house or make a place for things. I love that everything has a special place. That is totally new for me. ( big laugh) I may have to have some lessons. I know those elves hated my “garbage bags of clothes stuffed in the closet method”. I am glad about the shelf to sort stuff. I just had no idea what to do with the stuff we had and now we have extra space. I am willing to learn.

There is so many goodies and so many delightful things – and I keep finding them! It is like getting more of the gift every day. The girls came out with clothes I have never seen, I mean lots of clothes I have never seen! It is a surprise in every way. I loved the hotel folded towels. I told the kids to use other towels and not ruin the pretty ones.

The mall was fun. I love the fact we will have pictures to remember the day. I was glad I had a phone that takes pictures. We ate like rock stars. I did not want to leave, but the kids wanted to ride the rides. I have never had such a long lunch in my life. We sat there for like 2 hours!

I could not have imagined this experience would turn out like this. I am blessed, silly, and just want to sit in here for a week and not let anyone in. Just bake and eat. Thanks you to everyone who made this happen. It is so blessed.

I can’t wait to meet some of these people in real life. Mickey tells me all the names of people, those dishes came from so and so, this person dropped of your pans, the art was painted by this lady. I feel like they are my friends too. ( big laugh) I like that.

Thank you for everything . I am tickled, enchanted, and excited. I took out every pan to enjoy it. This is more stuff that I LOVE than I can ever remember.

Tell us how this project went for you–all of it?

I came from a BIG family and when my mom died things just changed and it was never the same. Life without a mom when you are young is sad but when you are a mom is just extra-hard. We are all close and all, but you learn habits in your mind like you just always settle for what was not broken, smile when something was new, and just try to keep getting by. My dad had his hands full and we mostly live in the cities.

I chose to go the shelter because I wanted to actually BUILD my life and not rely on family to let us crash on their couch. They would have kept my mind in the same pattern and I needed skills and I needed to rely on myself. I am 23 and I have 2 kids that need me.

I wanted to REALLY make it on my own. It is definitely part of my story for when I am a successful person and so is all the weight I lost. I used to be a fat girl not any more! I am going to be running this spring.

Life in the shelter is awful and kicks you down further that you thought possible. The food is awful, you have so many ignorant rules and you feel you want to escape but you have nowhere to go. You cannot even know yourself because nothing is solid. There is no peace and no justice, you fear for your kids every second, some of those people are REALLY bad people and you feel them. I just had to keep going. I said every day I can’t wait to eat something that was made with love. That will stay with me forever.

In the shelter, Ms Toni the advocate, offered us a chance to go to Mickey’s classes and those two would make us laugh, help us plan a life, feed us real food, and it gave me more than hope, it gave me a chance to think about being myself for the first time. Not someone’s sister, mom, or coworker. A lesson on how to be ME and how to think differently, they challenged me and gave me some hard talking too. Having a personal support system changed my direction in life to a place that is more powerful. Through this education experience and knowing these women I felt noticed and looked after. They just kept hooking me up to the next thing and solving problems.

I would get ideas from Mickey that were so far out of my minds reach- here is an example:She texted me one morning at 6:30 am and says:“I think you should go to Paris- for real”

HA! I texted back – “LOL with what money?”

Instant reply back : “You leave that money part to me, I can figure that out. Just make a point to get your passport. You will love the food and it will inspire you.” Who thinks like that?

I am on welfare with two babies and I should go to Paris because I like the food? ( big laugh) She is crazy. But now I have Paris on my list and it feels possible. AND TA DA!

I got a job i really like in a French restaurant! They have been training me to do all sorts of stuff.

Mickey says to me when I got the job:“Try everything on the menu with an open mind. Don’t look at what is in it, just TRY IT and then make your decision.” I used to be scared to try new stuff, now I found out I like steak tartar and snails. ( big laugh) Snail are so good. ( she lights up) I get them at 1/2 price and no limit to how many I can order on my shift.

All that stuff prepared me for this new life I am making. At the Crave restaurant for Project Elf I tried all sorts of new foods and LOVED everything that came to our table. I had some food literacy and I did not feel out of place or stupid. I felt complete and proud of all the good work I have been doing. Working and getting ready for school. It feels so good to have a group of people that can help you get on your way.

I am still in transition and there are many rules and stupidity, but for the most part I am doing a great job. I know I am a role model for my nieces and nephews and my kids and I definitely take that seriously. But I also know I have my own mark to leave on this world.

I am thankful so many people are willing to reach out. I feel your love and it makes me keep going.

It is breathtaking if I think too long on it. Thanks for everyone’s support.

Your future success story,


Elf Report 2012: Quiana’s Story

I spoke with both of our families and they are in AWE of the amazing work all of you on the Elf Project did to make their lives better.

I do have to give some extra special KUDOS to Cy and Peggy for hand building TWO sets of bunk beds hauling them to MN and rebuilding them on site, and Icepick and Cathy for the third set dragged in and built, Terri and the bed man for the 3 emergency beds delivered, and George for managing the BIG truck and to ALL our new elves. You are a treat!

This year I added the word OMNI-SHAMBLE because even with all the unexpected chaos we had, this project STILL came out perfect.

The Elf team really worked hard to get perfect. I have never in all the years we have done this project has so many quirky things happen in one delivery day.  I felt like checking the zodiac. We had five elves call in sick (we hope today is better), and our healthy troops just picked up the slack, we had one blown tire, one $160 expired tabs ticket, three lost and frantic elves, a last minute truck rental, wrong addresses, lost phones, lost sheets, one truck unloaded at the wrong site, phones running out of batteries, and one actual hot-pink cotton candy barf on doorstep of one site. ( impressive)

We also made new friends and had a BIG reminder that we have a blessed life. I watched families come together and really celebrate the joy of just being.

I frequently remind people that this is not just an event—it’s a life-changer for every one of these parents. The energy and love that you put into the gathering, the shopping, and the support is felt in every molecule of the things we bring into their life. It is a wake-up call that they do not have to go through this world alone; they are loved and supported in ways they cannot even see.

That is the gift ALL of you give.

I thank you for your time, sweat, investments, and love for this project , and in spite of all the setbacks in the day- we had in the actual delivery- we collectively have changed 12 people’s lives forever.

And maybe even yours too. Be sure to pass this on to your teams, and pictures are on the Rich Chicks Facebook page.

All My best- Hope to see you next year.

Mickey Mikewoth
Founder, Rich Chicks Founder
Owner, Mikeworth Consulting

Post-Elf Interview with Quiana

This part of the interview was done while she is crying and screaming into the phone as she is walking around the living room the night of Christmas Eve.


OH MY LORD! It was so thoughtful and joyous. I just do NOT know what to say. Thank you to all of the elves for a wonderful home. I love everything. It is just my style, and I did not know how to even start asking or making this style. It is so perfect and I feel like I am in a different home.Everything is so perfect, I just had NO idea.

I could never have imagined someone would do this for our family. It is like being on TV or winning a lottery. I had no idea.  I am in shock and I just keep walking around my house. The kids locked themselves up in their room.

I can’t ever remember a day that they each had a bed. My daughter says “ now I do not have to worry if my shirt moves in the night”. I never knew she worried about her shirt moving in the night. All three just went in there with their beds and closed the door. They just wanted to be alone with this.

This is like they each got their own home inside of our home, a cozy place that is about them. My son said he feels more space in the house even though there is LESS space. Isn’t that crazy?

This whole thing is crazy.

I guess that’s because he has HIS OWN space. And the fact that we now have places we can sit and be together and not feel like we are always hiding in our room. I never liked our room more.

I saw all those gifts under the tree and I told them DO NOT TOUCH anything. Those are for Christmas day and we will enjoy that whole tree. I won’t let them sit at the table either until I cook something.

I don’t know , they might have to eat something that is not messy. Good thing we have a high chair and a second table. The second table was such a good idea. Now I can leave the table set.

That table was one that I had always wanted- it was like you people were in my mind and reading my dreams. That is the most beautiful table I have ever seen.

I do not want to move a thing.  That kitchen just made me want to start cooking, all the new utensils and the cookbooks.

I have NEVER in my life seen such a place that I get to keep. My aunties were so happy and now we can all just sit down and take a minute and enjoy the blessing of this roof – not just BE somewhere. We are now in a home, and a lovely one. This is just so joyous. I have no other words for what this is.

I have never KNOWN that the decorating could change my heart forever. I felt so loved it just stopped me, and the kids.

WHO would do something this extraordinary for us? My heart just changed. I feel lifted and bright.  Now I see that others can care for me.

I swear, I keep patting myself on my chest because my heart is ready to burst OUT. I can SEE what a burden it is to hold up all the world up on my shoulders. I keep to myself and try to just keep my kids safe. I could not of even dreamed to have ALL this for my children. It was like a weight was moved.But it was moved off by love. I do not have words to explain this. It is better that money. This feels like nothing I have known.

We felt the change as soon as we walked in the door. We all fell silent because we could see the reflection in the mirrors. We took off our shoes and silently walked up the stairs.

The kids look at me and asked- “What happened here? “ “We have been blessed. That is what happened here”. My head kept shaking like a bobble head.  And then they tore off to look at our room. That is not their room.

They aint never coming outta there. Their beds are so perfect and they had bags of gifts on their beds.

Jamel says “we can turn the heat down now” because the furniture will keep our room warmer, and I think he is right. It IS warmer in this whole house.

While they are claiming their spots The baby saw a box of pampers and went and sat on it and said “ this is mine!” . It was so cute! I said “yes, those are for you” and he was so proud.

I cannot believe the clothes for Kinean, he looks like a little man! Not a baby. He is going to look sharp and he will love all the toys. All those diapers- that is a huge blessing, I feel like I can rest a minute. I am always worried about running out of diapers. I have enough to last me a month! That’s craziness in my life.

All of this makes my head spin because I do not need a single thing.That is truly the oddest sensansation to have in my heart that I HAVE everything and it is perfect.

Did I tell you our toilet paper was wrapped? All in fancy paper, Each roll. That is something I never have seen.

It is like a contentment or a peace. I have enough of everything all at the same time. Our cupboards are full-up. The canned corn made me bust out in laughter because I remember putting it on the list for the baby. He loves his corn. Those fruit roll-ups made the older kids happy. They are probably eating them in their beds right now.

THOSE BEDS! I have never seen a bed so fine. It is like what I imagine a fancy hotel to be like. I can’t wait to sleep but there is no way I am going to be able to sleep tonight. Kinean is interested in his own little bed. I want to put him in it but I also just want to hug him and have him crawl in with me.

I want to get music playing and I already called a friend to come over and look at this. I need another adult to tell me I am not crazy. I just do not know how you all did all of this. The house was clean in a whole new way. But the best part is that I feel different in this house.

I was smiling ALL day at the mall because I was so happy to have a secret but I was nervous too. This is a big leap of faith I was expecting maybe some stuff under the tree, or something smaller. The feelings that are in this house make me want to turn up the music and dance all night. I have heard people talk about a house filled with love but I have never felt like this.

I really cannot think of one thing more that I could even wish for. I did not even consider I could wish this big- for real I mean.

I just had to let something new INTO my life. I was trapped inside my own fear and being in the shelter I just wanted OUT- anywhere I just wanted OUT of that shelter. That place kills a part of you. That i know now how much of me it had killed off.

I did not know this saying yes to this project could turn into THIS. You cannot explain this change in our hearts.

Everything is great and this has been a big twirling and swirling day.

I love the desk and the computer. They kids will sure enjoy that.

The restaurant was spectacular- I just stayed open about trying new things and I found out that I like flatbread and dipping sauce.

The family portrait was so meaningful and I was sure glad I had gotten my wish to get my hair done. I have a whole new look and new make-up.

At the mall the kids just kept running from ride to ride crazy to get on all of them.

This was like a dream to them. We had no worries all day. Those kids played like they had not played in long long time. They had no worry in their hearts.

This experience has changed me in so many ways. I cannot thank you enough.

Every single thing is meaningful and I just can’t name them all. My words have run out. I am speechless. Please tell all those elves that we felt the blessing and that it is joyous and loud.



Project Elf 2012

Do you want to participate in adopting a family this holiday? Do you have items that you can donate, or volunteer time to help out? Maybe you are willing to send the 2012 elf list to friends who love this type of gifting ? Yes? Then welcome to Rich Chicks’ Project ELF 2012! 

 Project Elf, in cooperation with PICA (Parents in Community Action) is adopting two families who are coming out of a homeless shelter and rebuilding their lives. It takes ELF Central (that’s us) about 6 weeks to prepare for the ELF event, collecting what is needed by the families, coordinating transportation and volunteers. Everything is delivered in secret by volunteer elves on Christmas Eve. It is an INSANE and totally fun project. 

Here’s how it all goes down: We make plans for the families to go off and have a great day on the 24th. (Our partner Crave West End is a great help here!) Then our team of volunteers swoop in and in 6 hours totally transform the families’ living space, taking their nearly empty apartment (remember, they just moved from a homeless shelter) and move in furniture, set up beds, fill cupboards with supplies, grant Christmas wishes, and make what was a bare space a new fabulous home for them to start their lives over in. They just come home and “Santa” must have come while they were out!

 Please partner with us to create two very special Holiday Stories. I invite you to become an ELF yourself by donating any of the items on this list or doing hands-on delivery and set up of items the day of December 24. New and gently used items are BOTH a great fit for this project.

 Mickey Mikeworth, Head ELF

Project Elf 2012

Our favorite project of the year is BACK!  Are you in?

Project Elf is a Holiday surprise to families that have recently moved out of the homeless shelter.  We pull together a team of Elves to gather supplies and gifts and then sneak (with the families permission) into their house on Christmas Eve and make a very special holiday delivery. This is no small process because often we are moving in furniture, hanging curtains, setting up beds, filling closets with new outfits, stuffing stockings, and filling  cupboards.  Our Elf team has just six hours to get everything done and get out of the house before the family returns. It is a magical experience for the family to come home to a BIG surprise while they were out Christmas Eve day.

We need your help before the actual day to gather items from friends and family. The actual day (December 24) we need a crew to load, unload, set up, clean and organize, and people to manage the delivery stuff as it gets assembled. LET US KNOW WHAT ELF PART YOU WANT TO PLAY! We will keep you updated with a weekly ELF Update as the gathering happens. Contact

The Families

The families we are helping are clients of PICA’s Project Secure. You can read about PICA and its programs here.

ELF Report from Anthony

As promised I have the special report from Anthony on his experience with the ELF project. I will send  Carmita’s full report as soon as I get it, Thanks so much for everyone who helped out in this project. Here is Anthony’s interview in his own words. It will make you smile. : )

It’s wonderful!  It was everything I was hoping for.

I am speechless; I have everything I was wishing for and more. I did not think they could revive this space.  It smelled different- like I was living somewhere nicer. I did not think it could be done. I really thought it was impossible for this apartment to look this good.

I will admit I was anxious, I was worried that maybe these strangers (the ELF crew) would take things away, that my neighbors would get up in my business and steal my stuff, or that I would not like the changes. I was afraid to think big because it would hurt if it was a letdown.  I had to put down my fears and just say “variety is the spice of life” I had to try something new.

I knew the Elf Project was unique but I kept this to myself and did not tell people this was happening. I actually lied to the neighbors and said these people were my mom’s friends. But I had a good feeling about the people I met. I said to myself “I trust these people” and I had a feeling this was some of God’s doing. I rolled with it, uncomfortably.

This has been by far one best times of my life and for sure it was Little Anthony’s best experience.

The last time I had a Christmas that was about Me -in any way, well that has not happened since I was a little kid. Having that feeling that someone was looking out for me -I have not felt that since I was really little, probably my son’s age. That hurts a little to even admit.

Just thinking about that day puts a smile on my face. I can still see everyone waving and saying Merry Christmas, it was so nice and everyone was polite and civil, and treated us like we were somebody that was worth loving and with so much respect.  I got a great vibe from the team and I kept thinking in my head “these people are just so nice”. They were the best people I have met in a long,long time.  It was like being in a TV Movie.   I got this special feeling when I first met Peggy (project leader) and I even gave her a hug. I must have been delirious, I don’t hug people. Everyone flashed me a for-real smile, not a fake smile.  I felt like I was recognized. I still feel like I was in a dream and I was king.

I have not moved a thing in the apartment.

Living Room

 I don’t want to screw it up and I do not want to move stuff out of place. I did not think the way they pulled it together could be better. The picture of me and my son when you walk is amazing.  When I look at that picture when I open our  front door, it feels like we OWN this apartment.

These gifts were not too much and not too little. I like the shelves, and the shoe holders, and the team knew exactly what they were doing.  It was just perfect. They were so precise and accurate and they were on point.  It brought life into the apartment and everything had a shine and glow to it. I  still have room for other stuff.

The blinds were so awful before. I can’t believe how hard  these people worked on my house.  I  looked at the blinds and before when I rubbed them, it would leave a  fingerprint from all the nicotine and now they are actually look NEW. And how  they got up to clean the top of the fan is beyond me.  The storage closet is put away, all organized  and you can see everything. I have been finding little surprises everyday.

The neighbors are asking to see it and I do not want to let  them see it. I want to keep it all to myself and little Anthony and I want to  just hang out in our special space.  I  don’t feel broke in a place this nice and clean.

I have not left the house except to go to the store since you did it. I did not even move the  brownies on the table.  I put a paper  towel over them to keep them moist. I just do not want to move a thing.  I like the dog statue protecting the table.  Nice touch. The mirrors are gorgeous and I like the way the setting was put  together, there is actual life in that gross kitchen.  These lamps look like they came out of some  mansion. My mom would love these lamps.

I get compliments on how the apartment looks. Everything I  did not have – I have now. I liked the telescope in the living room and to have  a clean window to look through. They painted the rooms, and so much more  space.  I like that we can be together in  every area.

My favorite part is Anthony’s room.

It is so awesome–that  is my most important area.  He was really  shocked and surprised. He just did not know what to say. He loved all the maps,  the books, the toys, and the exploration stuff.
Even though we have so much more stuff the room looks way-way bigger.  The cubby’s behind the door and the organization was incredible. It was  accessible I could find all my medicine and clothes. It made this small place  transformed and we can actually breathe in this space.

Little Anthony went to visit his mom on Christmas and she  called and said he wanted to come back early to be in his new room.  His room is like a play land and it is so
coordinated. Everyone really took his dreams and made it a reality. It made me  proud and glad I took a risk.

Crave–craziest thing I have done with food in my life.

The Crave (restaurant in the West End) experience was  hats-off the craziest thing I have done with food in my life. The people were  so gracious like I was a movie star. They said “enjoy yourself, get what you  want, and don’t hold back” and then they started piling plates on our table.  The kids were like off the charts crazy. It was like man vs food experience for  us. I brought my son’s mom and our family had never experienced anything like  that.  Add Nickelodeon at MOA on top of that. We  were “in the house”. We took pictures and laughed all day.

This whole experience it makes me feel like somebody

That  I was worthy and like I was part of the world and for once in my life -I  felt like a human. I am a single father and getting up is not easy when you are  physically hurting. Every day I promise him that I would not give up.  I am glad I hung in there.

That bike in the living room! I did not know a bike would  fit in this living room. I rode that bike right away up to the store to use the  money you left to get a lock for my storage locker.  The bike was adjusted right to my height and  I got on it and took right off. It was made for me.

I got up Christmas morning and rode that bike. I have not  had a bike for at least 15 years since I was a little kid.  I like that it’s MY bike. I am not worrying when I see the police when I am on this bike because I am not  on a stolen bike and hey- I got it for Christmas- it’s legit. I was like a  little kid.  Amazing freedom experience  all over again and I feel like a little kid in an adult’s body.  I woke up with so much energy. I rode that  bike like I was not sick or out of shape. I treasure that bike it was just  perfect and it felt like nothing was left to chance. Riding that bike was like God answered some of prayers.

I went to put my coat away in the closet when I got home to  find a really nice NEW coat in my closet, and jeans, socks, shirts, and clothes  just for me. I have not had NEW clothes from a NEW store in so long. I also  cannot believe all the clothes for Little Anthony and they are so nice. I am  also looking forward to using my crock pot and I want to use it for News Years  Day.  I already cooked the ham.

I loved the greetings of hope that people left. Reading those  kind words- that was when I lost it. It all just got very emotional. More than  a few tears came that moment and I was glad little Anthony was already in his  room.

I needed a push

Having this experience – It makes things a lot easier for  me.  It was just something that I could  not do.  I look at this apartment all day  and I did not know where to begin, there was so much to do and so many things  to fix. It is not easy getting up everyday taking a bus 45 minutes each way to  get  son to school and some days that is  all I got in me.

Your encouragement made me feel so special and I will rub  that off on him.  He is just discovering  everything in his room. It is like you people took so much time to find just
the right stuff, and NICE stuff. Whoever put together that little box of  treasures that he can look at with his magnifying glass was so thoughtful -like  we are at our own museum. Now we have all these maps, and we get to see all  these things around the world.  I am  hoping to get out and see some of it for real.

So, say thanks to the team and let them know that it was  everything that little Anthony wanted and it was so much more for me as a  person. I needed the push.  It gave me  ambition. It was so nice for you all to take the time to assess how much we  needed and then took the time to get to know US as people.

The space is my style and I did not know I had a style, and  it looks classy. We did a lot in that one day. A day we will never forget.
Thank you


Everyone has Something to Give

We all have gifts to offer the world and at Rich Chicks we take the Live Rich mantra very seriously. There are so many projects that we help create in our membership that allow resources to be shared to benefit the person sitting next to you and the family across the globe.

Did you know that Rich Chicks uses its computers to help fight disease and find donor matches that will benefit the health of all people of the world?

We are part of a group of more than 500,000 people who have opted to be part of a Community Research Grid. When we are not using our computer’s memory, we allow researchers to use our processing power to run in-depth calculations that do some amazing things. As of today we have helped calculate:

  • 246 results for Muscular Dystrophy donors, AIDS research, childhood cancer, and Malaria and Dengue Fever Research.
  • That is about 1,800 hours of research time that we have gifted to research by just letting them use our computer downtime. That is the equivalent of handing over a 35 hour a week researcher.

Other Projects

  • Rich Chicks is part of Kiva, an international micro-lending program that has gifted over loans to women and families all over the globe.
  • We partner with a local restaurant to provide the working poor a Thanksgiving filled with dignity and make it an event to be remembered.
  • The annual project ELF surprises families coming out of a shelter with a house full of furniture, trimmings, and all their holiday wishes come true.
  • Did I mention the SuperChick Gala, where honor is paid to 12 women for being amazing.

Some people ask me why I love being a sustaining member of Rich Chicks and why I am willing to have a monthly bank draft taken from my checking account. It is because as a community we have a lot to offer and as a community we can change the world with just a few of our resources. I like being a resource to make the world a better place.

What is the gift you have to give?

Project Elf Update December 5

Note: You can drop off nonfurniture items or mail stuff contact for address BEFORE DECEMBER 15TH. Bring items to the Brain Spa Event, or the NW2 meetings.

Our delivery team is now up to 11 people! 

TOP Priority items: Tan loveseat that is a pullout bed, Table that seats 6, second Truck for December 24th, someone artsy to help us put together a huge wall mural made out of maps that we can adhere to kids bedroom wall.

Some items to keep your eyes peeled for or ask friends if they have any of these items on this list: Maps ( all kinds), magnifying glass, white crib and accessories, boy baby stuff- everything, LOTS OF simple one color shelf liner, modern style dining room table that seats 6 and chairs, RED tablecloth for that table, 2 Sleds, queen size comforter in neutral- browns , 1 CD player, 10 closet organization bins that match to put kids socks and stuff in, 1 small fry pan for eggs, over the door shoe rack, age 5-12 Children’s books on travel, space, exploration, animals, diapers for a child less that 1 year old, paper goods, cleaning products, 2 mops, 1 cleaning bucket, kitchen size garbage bags, paper towels, diaper wipes, building blocks like Legos, 3 flashlights of all sizes, books on CD for adults and kids, mittens kids size small Boy and Girl, holiday CD’s, mittens size med boy, snow pants girl size 5, snow pants boy size 10-12, snow pants boys size 6, Girls NEW underwear size 4-6, Boys NEW underwear size 5-7, baby supplies, bus card, target gift cards, size 16 young women’s clothes, dressy winter coat women’s size 16, boys shoes size 13, cupcake making supplies, kitchen drawer stuff, white laundry baskets, clothes hamper to fit in a closet, new/nearly new boys clothes 6-18 months, 4 packages of children’s hangers, 3 packages of adult hangers, kitchen shears, 1 kitchen timer, spices, baking supplies, cookbooks, strainer big and small, spatula ( both kinds), canned frosting and sprinkles, teething gel, Neosporin, Advil, Landry soap, dryer sheets, rolls of quarters for laundry, fabric sheets, laundry soap, Kleenex, size 5-6 boys clothes 2 outfits needed, size 10 boys clothes 2 outfits needed, 1 used laptop, back massager, small tool kit for an apartment, NEW 2 person tent / cabana that we can put Kissi’s bed inside of -must be 72 inches in length, 2 LONG adjustable curtain rods to hang a mural, Space themed mobile to hang from ceiling,



Project Elf 2011

Our favorite project of the year is BACK!  Are you in?

Project Elf is a Holiday surprise to families that have recently moved out of the homeless shelter.  We pull together a team of Elves to gather supplies and gifts and then to sneak (with the families permission) into their house on Christmas Eve and make a very special holiday delivery. This is no smallprocess because often we are moving in furniture, hanging curtains, setting up beds, filling closets with new outfits, stuffing stockings, and filling  cupboards.  Our Elf team has just six hours to get everything done and get out of the house before the family returns. It is a magical experience for the family to come home to a BIG surprise while they were out Christmas Eve day.

We need your help before the actual day to gather items (listed below) from friends and family. The actual day we need a crew to load, unload, set up, clean and organize, and people to manage the delivery stuff as it gets assembled. LET US KNOW WHAT ELF PART YOU WANT TO PLAY! We will keep you updated with a weekly ELF Update as the gathering happens

Our Families this year

We have a unique situation this year because we actually have two locations one in Bloomington and one in Hopkins. Both families have moved out of the homeless shelter in the last 30 days. Both have “some” furniture, but we definitely have our work cut out for us this year.  We will need garage space to store the incoming gifts, and two team leaders for that day or work out a drop schedule. We will be delivering on Christmas Eve and we have just 6 hours to deliver, set up, clean, and get out.

The Families

The families we are helping are clients of PICA’s Project Secure. You can read about PICA and its programs here.

Anthony and Anthony are a father and son duo. The father is recovering from a terrible work accident that damaged both knees and left him unable to work. Anthony has done primarily warehouse management. He is now working through a re-injury on one of his knees. This is a rough recovery on top of parenting a young child.  His five-year old son Anthony is adorable and loves to explore. He loves maps and is an astronomy fanatic—he loves stars. Dad has a few nice pieces of furniture that he has collected and is very emotionally connected to. His existing theme of darker woods like cherry and mahogany are what we are looking for. This is a one bedroom apartment and the bedroom belongs to the child, so dad is sleeping on the floor of the living room. A pull-out sofa no bigger that a loveseat size would be perfect.
Anthony is striving to get out of survival mentality and he struggles to find new friends and new spaces that he can connect to.  We will need a team to work on the Bloomington drop.

  • Wish list so far
  •  Tan loveseat, pullout, or futon for Dad to sleep on- primary goal
  •  Bus cards- primary goal
  •  Flat screen TV
  •  Kid’s books
  •  Maps, guidebooks, BIG magnifying glass
  •  Storage containers
  •  Shoe storage
  •  Bathroom stuff: Shower curtain, shower hooks, bath mat, towels, wash cloths
  •  Small waste basket (really small)
  •  Soft BIG pillows to sleep on
  •  Warm cozy masculine looking blankets/bedding
  •  Bikes for both dad and son -they have only public transportation for the foreseeable future
  •  Dad needs clothes that are not t-shirts and jeans, and he also needs t-shirts and jeans and shoes.Size men’s large
  •  Dining table round, small dark wood
  •  Closet organization – rack
  •  Little boy room dresser
  •  Narrow bookshelf
  •  Nice  men’s dark winter coat size large for wearing to job interviews
  •  Men’s gloves, hat, scarf- job interviews
  •  TV and stand (must be flat screen—no room for any other kind!)
  •  Child size 13 shoe, boy’s clothes size 5T-7T
  •  Children’s twin sheets – Boys room
  •  Nice dishes that serve 6- masculine
  •  Paper, cleaning and laundry products


Our second family is Carmita and her three children, Kisi, 11 (boy), Quan Yin, 4 (girl), and Christian, 6 months (boyl).  Her story is amazing and we are so glad to be able to help her in this time of great need. Carmita is a young woman who is determined to leave the streets behind her and build a life for her children. She has been working hard for the last two years to build a new direction and has recently completed her GED. She is currently working as a temp at a bank.  She is full of life, and has a great outlook on her future and is ready to tackle going to night school and raising her family. The house has a theme of mint green and white and we are using all silver accents to bring a little shine into the space. We need it to sparkle as much as Carmita does. We are going to do the children’s room as not gender specific, but make the beds very personal.  Kisi loves sports and stuff to do on his bed like reading or playing hand-held games. He just loves to sit in his new bed alone without siblings.

We will need a team to work on the Hopkins drop.

Wish list so far

  •  Laptop for the family
  •  Diapers
  •  Kisi needs a bike- he is age 11 and has never has one – primary goal
  •  Quan Yin wants a bike too, but not as much as she wants Fairy everything- we’ve already gotten her a Tinkerbelle stocking. She is totally crazy about Tinkerbelle and Princesses.  We need wings, wand, and tinkerfluff.  She is less-but-still-totally-obsessed with Barbie and drags around a plastic bag of them everywhere she goes.
  •  Small desk lamp
  •  Bigger side table lamp
  •  Boy’s baby clothes 9 – 18 mos
  •  Girl’s clothes (very girlie) size 4T-6T
  •  SMALL Computer desk that will fit in a closet
  •  Gas cards
  •  Work clothes for a banking situation women’s size 16
  •  Cd player- kids love stories on CD!
  •  Table that seats 6
  •  Wheeled hamper (Laundromat)
  •  Full length mirror
  •  Bathroom stuff: Shower curtain, shower hooks, bath mat, towels, wash cloths
  •  Children’s books
  •  Queen/full size bed
  •  Kid’s dresser that is small enough to slip into a closet
  •  LONG panels of cloth to use as a room divider
  •  Nice salad bowl and tongs
  •  Table cloth and table decoration
  •  Target gift cards
  •  Girly stuff for mom-lotions, ect
  •  Paper, cleaning and laundry products