Giving Tuesday & My Favorite Little Charity

by Ilinap on November 28, 2017

On this Giving Tuesday, I’d like to share why the Cecilia Rawlins Fund (CRF) is so dear to me. I dedicate my time by serving on its board and donate money to support its mission. CRF helps nourish children at Wiley Elementary School by funding the weekly Backpack Buddies program to provide meals to children on weekends. The fund also pays one time rent or utility payments for families in financial crisis. All programs and assistance are provided free of charge and almost 100% of donations are used to support the mission.

One in three children in North Carolina experiences food insecurity, which is higher than the national average. About 25% of Wiley students live at or below the poverty line. Chances are, you have spent time with a child who was ashamed, exhausted, anxious, unfocused, or any of the things that come with being chronically hungry.

A peek into the lives of the children and families in crisis at Wiley Elementary School:

  • Some families were displaced and sought refuge in motels or split up to live with family.
  • Mothers and their children escaped from abusive situations.
  • Families experienced job loss, terminal illness, or natural disasters that rendered them homeless.

All of the students were able to stay at Wiley for the school year due to the McKinney-Vento Act, federal legislation that gives those kids at least one safe, stable, nurturing place. The children get two meals a day during the school year, and staff and teachers have provided additional food to help these families over weekends and breaks. The burden of providing basic needs for these homeless and hungry children has fallen on the shoulders of dedicated faculty and staff who are already strapped. Additionally, earlier this year, North Carolina lawmakers tried to take away food assistance, including school lunches, from over 50,000 children from low-income families through a special provision in the state budget.

The Cecilia Rawlins Fund is a 501 (c)(3) so your generous donations are tax deductible.

  • $10 feeds a student one for one weekend
  • $39 feeds a student for a month
  • $175 funds a semester
  • $350 funds an entire school year  

We need more people in our community to make a bigger impact together. Put simply, we need your help. Donate online and tell others about this nimble little organization making a big difference.



Party Over Principles is Shameful

by Ilinap on November 27, 2017

To everyone who places party over principles and politics over people, I ask you this… What do you say to the children who have been abused and molested? What do you say to the survivors of abuse? Can you look them in the eye and tell them that you care more about seats in the Senate than you do about how they have been harmed and shamed and violated? Are we seriously living in a world where we hear from the president that a Democrat in the Senate is worse than an alleged child predator? 

I have spent countless hours volunteering for and serving organizations that fight to protect children from abuse. I faced threats and professional blackballing when I responded to an article about a former peer who was arrested for consuming child pornography but found god and was given the New York Times treatment.  I know victims of sexual assault and abuse (chances are, you do too). I have children of my own, but I don’t need to be a mother to be an advocate for the health, safety, and well-being of children. I just need to be human. It used to be that exhibiting a sense of humanity was our common denominator. Now it seems the demons have overtaken the humans, and our collective conscience is soiled, battered, and broken. 

We have been failing our national test of conscience for months now, America. Our moral compass will be beyond repair if we allow Roy Moore to take a seat in the United States Senate. The mere fact that we are even debating this issue is both mind numbing and heartbreaking. It’s apropos, as we have indeed lost our minds and our hearts. This is not what compassion looks like and by all means, this is not what making America great looks like.


From the Mouths of Babes to the Mouths of the Hungry

November 20, 2017

Tweet North Carolina is facing a crisis. Our childhood hunger rates hover around 1 in 3 or 1 in 4, depending on the county. That’s higher than the national average. There are amazing people and organizations in the trenches of government making sense of policy and legislation to ensure we leverage every penny of funding […]

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Thoughts & Prayers Are Trite

November 6, 2017

Tweet I scope out exits everywhere I go now. I peek under seats to gauge the space beneath. I look for columns and other such things to duck behind if need be. I consider where I can hide and shield my sons. For ages I’ve kept this to myself, fearing I’d look like a paranoid […]

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Write to Those Doing the Right Thing

October 23, 2017

Tweet I’ve spent my entire life writing to legislators, companies, and movie stars. I had written to President Jimmy Carter, Hamburger Helper, and Lucille Ball before I turned 12. Decades later, I continue to write letters. I even taught a segment in my public relations class about advocacy and the role of social good in […]

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It’s Time to Stop Being Surprised by Harassment

October 15, 2017

Tweet “Me too.” It’s a thing happening on Facebook right now. Women are simply uttering the words “me too” to illustrate just how many of us have faced harassment in the workplace. My feed is filled with this. I have never in my life had a job where I was not sexually harassed. The gravest […]

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Happy 14th Birthday, Bird

August 29, 2017

Tweet Dear Bird, You know I’m the sentimental type, right? My heart usurps my brain, for better or worse. You might not realize this yet, but you and I share the same constitution. I see so much of myself in you, the good bits and the not-so-good bits. We are both smarter than the average […]

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The Promise of Darkness, Eclipse 2017

August 21, 2017

Tweet  We’ve been a nation shrouded in darkness since November 9, yet today we welcomed the darkness as we eagerly awaited the total solar eclipse. In a paradoxical twist, it was the promise of darkness that breathed an airy lightness into our country. Today was a remarkable day. We rallied around a scientific event, celebrating […]

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“What did you do to make the world better?” – Support Backpack Buddies Mediathon

July 18, 2017

Tweet“We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” — Jimmy Carter   It is criminal that we have hungry children in our community. These aren’t far away kids whose faces you’ll never see (as if that mattered). I’m talking about children who sit next to your children and mine […]

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I’m a Flag Waving Liberal

July 3, 2017

Tweet The republican president is not my America. My America is open and diverse and welcoming. My America celebrates its freedom rather than squashes it. My America lifts others up, not puts them down.  My America doesn’t make me feel ashamed. Independence Day has long been my favorite holiday. There’s no pressure and stress of […]

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