BiG win # 2–the craigslist edition

“4 terrific wooden dining chairs, manufactured in Newark Ohio, prior to 1940, I think.

The chairs are in need of a refinish, although we’ve allowed them to sport the rustic look for the last few years.

The chair pads (with original webbing) are easy to remove for ease of recovering.

15.00 each, or 55.00 for the set of 4

All proceeds from this sale benefit Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc.”

These chairs (an accessory to a desired pedestal table purchased on craigslist)  flew out of my house in a hot NY Ohio minute just a week or so ago.    I paid less money than I sold them for, so it was a super score on my end.  The best part of the sale is what I did with the money.  It went to EOR of course, but for something very special.  Want to know what?  Then you should:

Tune in tomorrow…


*remember to share your craigslist success (along with pictures) if you sell something to benefit EOR.  Thanks!

Keen Shoes Rock! 1,500 pairs of shoes donated

Keen Shoes Rock!!! EOR has a wonderful volunteer here in Portland that has given many hours of her time collecting shoes for Ethiopia. She has had collection boxes located in the Portland area and she personally secured a HUGE HUGE donation from Keen Shoes! They donated over 1,500 pairs of shoes! Way to go Keen!! The shoes filled a minivan, Ford pick up and a Tahoe! She will be delivering countless suitcases of shoes when they visit Ethiopia in the near future. EOR will be delivering some of the shoes on behalf of this wonderful volunteer and Keen when we travel in December. The shoes will help girls at Children’s Heaven, Kids at SOS EE Toukoul and several orphanages! EOR is so lucky to have such amazing volunteers! Thanks to *** (she wishes to remain anonymous) for personally taking on this wonderful project! Were proud of you and all our volunteers! We all think Keen Rocks!! Next time your thinking of buying shoes we hope Keen is at the top of your list!! Their generosity is amazing!!

KEEN donates over 1,500 pairs of shoes to orphanages in Ethiopia

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Fundraiser Yard Sale

As many of you may know, many of the EOR board members are planning a trip to Ethiopia in December.  We are going with our partner, Engineers Without Borders, to dig and construct a well in the village of Boru, outside of Dese.  This well will bring clean water to 5,000 people, who as of now have to walk 1 hour each way to have access to water.

In order to raise money for travel costs, we are holding a huge multi-family yard sale on Sept. 12th.  If you have anything to donate to the sale please us know and we’ll arrange for pick up.  Not only is your donation tax deductible, but it is going to a great cause!

Spring Cleaning, yo.

It’s my favorite time of the year! The time when I get to organize and clean and make our house all sparkly and new-like. I like it so much, I also “Spring Clean” in the fall. Which is slightly annoying, I know.

When purging and organizing, I like to donate as much as possible to those in need–no need to clog the landfills. I also like to donate anything and everything to Africa whenever possible–I’ve seen first hand how much they need this stuff. In that vein, I figured I’d share with you some of the places I’ve found to donate used physical goods in the past, that directly benefit someone somewhere in Africa. Maybe some of you are about to start your spring cleaning, or maybe you are nesting the heck out of your house in anticipation of your new child’s arrival–whatever the case, if you know of somewhere else to donate used goods that benefits Africa, please post it in the comments!

Books for Africa accepts newer fiction & nonfiction; primary, secondary & college textbooks; reference books; medical, nursing, IT & law books; Bibles; school & office supplies. You ship the books to their warehouse in GA, or drop them off personally at their warehouse in Atlanta or St. Paul. They then send large containers to Africa to stock rural school libraries, orphanage libraries, adult literacy programs and community resource center libraries. I sent all of my college and law school textbooks–it was easier to let them go knowing they were going to such a good home where they could make a real difference in someone’s life. 

Unite for Sight accepts used eyeglasses in good condition.

Crutches 4 Africa accepts used crutches, canes, walkers & wheelchairs. Kinda random, but my husband had knee surgery, so we had crutches lying around in our garage!

Sports Gift accepts and distributes sporting equipment to children living in poverty all over the world, including in Africa.

Shoe 4 Africa accepts used running shoes with at least 100 miles left on them for a running program in Africa.

Sole 4 Souls accepts used shoes of all types for distribution in Africa.

Nike Reuse a Shoe has drop boxes in many of its stores for used running shoes that wouldn’t be appropriate for other forms of donation–the shoes are ground up and turned into sports courts and playground groundcover around the world.

Another way to help is to have a garage sale, with all the cash donated to EOR or your other favorite African charity. We did this in my nesting spree before Amelie came home–supplementing our garage sale with a sale on Ebay for the “name” things (i.e., old cameras, etc.) and a sale on Craig’s List for the bulky stuff (i.e., my kayak, *sniff*).

Happy Cleaning (and Happy Spring!),


Blood, sweat, and tears








 My sweet husband ran his first marathon yesterday.  Simultaneously, he raised money for EOR—-he’s such a multi–tasker.  The race was amazing–a chilly 37 degrees at the start, a few of us (the ones not trotting for 26.2 miles) were unhappy about the weather and some of us, not mentioning any names, Astrid Meklit, may have cried for awhile, at least until the sun came up and the music started.   The rest of us thrilled to watch the wheelchair racers and the thousands of runners, Albert among them.  It was fun to watch people run by–individually, we cheered for favorite political candidates supporters, funny outfits, and the occasional surprise.  Albert got tons of shout-outs for his Philanthropist shirt (personally, I cheered for the gal in the Iron Maiden t-shirt–kind of unexpected among the athletes).  I watched her through the course and bellowed IM classics as she crossed the finish line.  Probably a good thing there were several thousand other spectators there to drown me out!  I cheered loudest of all when my own dear Philanthropist crossed the line and then was horrified to see that my sweaty guy was also bloody.  Good to know that it was only his heart rate monitor.  It rubbed and chafed until he bled, so it was totally minor but looked pretty creepy. 


When all was said and done, Albert ran a little faster than he hoped (3 hours, 48 minutes to be exact) and he raised a good deal of money for Ethiopian Orphan Relief.    There are other marathons ahead (he’s caught the fever!) and other chances to bloody his Philanthropist shirt.  After yesterday’s success, Albert is eager to run again and raise money for EOR for the same time, and I am eager to let him!


Congratulations, Albert!!!  




Bloodied but triumphant at the end of the race!









Run, Molly, Run!!!!!

So Molly, a fabulous friend of fabulous board member Lauren, is thinking outside the box.  Molly has chosen to raise money for EOR when she runs the Portland Marathon on October 5th!  She’s set a fundraising goal of 1000.00 and after 2 short days is already 25% of the way to her goal.  At 100% of funding, Molly will earn less than 40.00 per mile.  Wouldn’t you pay 40.00 to avoid running a mile?  Okay, maybe you, dear reader, wouldn’t, but I certainly would–running? for fun?  can it really be? 

I’m going to run (really, I slay myself) right over to Molly’s fundraising page right now to pay away my slothfulness cheer Molly on to victory.  I hope you’ll all run right by me to cheer her on too. 

     Go, go, go  MOLLY!!!!  and a BIG THANKS to you!!!!

Paige (sloth extraordinaire)

Surviving Court Closure By Doing Something Positive

If you’re stuck in the middle of the Ethiopian court closure and your adoption progress has recently reached a standstill, then you’re probably looking for ways to pass the time (BESIDES obsessing over all the message boards..come on, you know you were). During our adoption this was one of the many hurdles we faced, and I whined my way through this and every other one, so know that you’re not alone (even if your family and friends don’t get it). Soon enough, your child will be in your arms forever and ever and all this waiting will be just a memory. So, instead of whining and waiting, how about doing something positive? Something to help the kids who won’t be going home to loving families.

During this time in our adoption, we came up with the idea to try and raise money from family and friends in an attempt to do something to help in Ethiopia once we arrived. We weren’t really sure what we’d do, we had no idea how much money we’d raise and we’d never done anything like this before, but we were waiting out the court closure and figured our holiday card mailing could be when we sent the requests–we were already sending cards (with very cool pictures of our dogs in beautiful mountain settings that no one in our family ever seemed to appreciate…”Enough with the dogs!” they’d say, but we love our furry babies! What can you do?) and we could just replace the “family newsletter” in which we had nothing to write anyway (“This year we filed lots of paperwork and did lots of waiting then got our fingerprints done again before waiting some more and…”). We gathered statistics from the internet and wrote a letter about what led us to adoption (everyone wanted to know anyway, better to throw it out there than let them wonder!), about Ethiopia’s orphans and about how we hoped to help the kids who would be left behind–the kids we knew would break our hearts when we got there. We promised hugs and kisses from our future child and photos from our trip in return.

What happened next was nothing short of amazing–our families and friends came out in droves to support our ideas (even though we still didn’t know what they were), they passed the letters on to others and asked for their support, they donated money in people’s names as holiday gifts and wrote more letters about what we were trying to do, about why this made them happy. They shipped boxes of donations and Christmas cards with checks. Then we heard from our adoption agency that the group that oversees our future child’s current orphanage was in dire need of a new orphanage for HIV+ children, and that they were trying to raise money to make it happen. We suddenly had our idea! We knew where the money would go. We frantically wrote another letter to all of our friends and family to tell them what they had contributed to–a new orphanage. Everyone was so excited and suddenly we were all in this adoption together. My hometown paper wrote a story on us, the town where we currently live wrote a feature story on us, and soon, soon we were off to Addis Ababa to meet our daughter.

We each brought a small carryon sized suitcase, plus a regular sized suitcase for Amelie (diapers take up lots of room, it turns out!) and the rest of our baggage allowance was donations. We sent the money over to the agency in charge of raising the money (along with a 100% match from my husband’s employer, Abbott Labs!). My husband later won an award from his employer for this project (The 2008 Caring Award) and it was presented to him at a large company-wide event. The event resulted in even more donations. Now, a year and a half later, ground has been broken at the new orphanage, and walls are up. Ethiopian Orphan Relief, the non-profit I founded to continue helping the kids left behind, is currently raising money for a playground at the facility. Talk about your full circle moments.

Doesn’t that sound more fun than waiting?! If you don’t want to write your own letter, send me an email to and I’ll send you a sample to get you started. In addition to the Toukoul Playground, EOR is also currently raising money for a Playground at AHOPE*, a sanitation system for the Hope for Hossanna School and a building for Children’s Heaven.


*Note: EOR was originally raising money for a water filtration system at AHOPE, but we were recently informed that another group was already raising money for this in Ethiopia, so the AHOPE staff asked that we instead raise money for a playground at AHOPE.

Thank You Anthony!

Thank you to Anthony in Oregon for choosing to have his 8th birthday party be a benefit for Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. Anthony chose to ask for donations of art supplies for the Toukoul Orphanage, where his sister Annie lived. The supplies were recently brought over to Ethiopia by our Advisory Board member Krista, as she travelled to bring home her beautiful daughter Eden. The art supplies were used by the children at Toukoul in an art clinic, and the finished works of art were brought back to Oregon. At our Board Meeting next week, we will be selecting from these works of art (and those submitted by your children who are already home!) for inclusion in our first series of greeting and note cards, which will be for sale in our website store in mid-August. Thanks again for your generosity, Anthony! Your gift will have a lasting impact on our programs.

Thank You Danielle and Bryan!

Thank you to EOR Founder and Board Member Danielle Marquis of Denver, CO and her husband Bryan Cudmore for making a physical donation to the teenagers currently housed at AAI’s care houses in Ethiopia. The donations were brought to Ethiopia by EOR Board Member Dawn Finley when she recently travelled to pick up her beautiful daughter Zoe. Teenagers are an often forgotten group at orphanages, and really enjoy receiving donations with travelling families. If you’d like to donate to the teenagers at your agency’s orphanage while in Ethiopia, please visit our website at for a “Wish List” compiled by the teenagers adopted from Ethiopia currently living in Colorado.

Thank You Jane and Greg!

Thank you to EOR Board Member Jane Gregorie from Denver and her husband, EOR Volunteer Greg Cradick for hosting their baby shower to benefit Ethiopian Orphan Relief Partner Organizations CHSFS and AHOPE for Children! In lieu of gifts, Jane and Greg asked their friends and family to donate supplies from the “Wish Lists” from CHSFS and AHOPE for Children. Jane and Greg will bring these supplies to Ethiopia when they travel in August to pick up their little boy Ezra. If you’re interested in hosting a baby shower to benefit one or more of our Partner Organizations, please contact us at Partner Organization’s “Wish Lists” can be found on our website,

Above (left) is EOR Founder and Board Member Danielle Marquis giving a talk about EOR’s mission to a group of onlookers at Jane and Greg’s fundraising babyshower. After the festivities the donated materials (right) were gathered to pack up for Jane and Greg’s upcoming trip to Ethiopia. They will be taking these items with them to Ethiopia to donate to AHOPE.