Monday, December 22, 2008

Menu For Hope

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

We have only a couple of days left in the Menu for Hope V raffle. The prizes are incredibly tempting and wonderful. Won’t you please indulge? We participating bloggers who offer the prizes have not yet reached our goal to surpass last years’ donations of over $90,000.

While I am offering 6 giclée prints of some of my images of Italy, I will not at all be offended if you make a donation and try to win other prizes. The important thing is to help those less fortunate get a chance to help themselves through education, sustainable farming, and other choices.

Give the gift of a voucher

Donation Instructions:

1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at or Chez Pim

2. Go to the donation site at and make a donation.

3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.
For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

6. Bids on prizes will be accepted from December 15-24th. The last day to bid on a prize is December 24th.

7. Check back on Chez Pim on January 12, when Pim will announce the result of the entire raffle. Sara Rosso will also announce the winners of European prizes here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Understand What You Need

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Happy Winter Solstice! I have been “dumpster diving” since at least college. I cannot believe the scores one can find in the trash -- often of brand new items! And I am changing my Italian landlady Doria’s mind about finding things in the rifiuti as well.

A few weeks back I brought home the four-wheeled square base of a chair that I found in the trash on Via dei Mezzo, here in Florence, Italy. I cleaned it up, loaded it on my bike, and am now using it as a sculpture stand. Doria teased me when she saw this addition to my room, “Kelly, where will you sleep?” I responded, “Maddaiiiiiiii . . .” with appropriate hand gestures, of course.

But on the 12th, I was riding home with some of my drawings tied on the rack over my back tire and I saw a REAL Christmas tree leaning against a trash bin along the Lungarno. It was still wrapped up for transport. Incredibile! Fearing for my drawings, I left the tree there.

At home Doria was dubious, assuming I saw a plastic tree (or maybe that it was not truly in the trash). I did not have time to go retrieve it myself since I was meeting a friend at the Odeon Cinema soon. But I rode along the Lungarno again on my way back to the central part of Florence, and sent her a message that the tree was there and smelled fantastico.

When Luca arrived home, they took the car and had their first successful adventure in dumpster diving. I am a “proud parent”! And at least they know I did not steal it! They love the tree, decorating it the next day and remarking on how large it is and how unbelievable that someone just left it in the garbage.

All this to preface that while moving through town, I always keep my eye on the trash bins. I rode past this TV set (pictured here) by a bin one morning on Borgo Santa Croce. I turned back though because of the message someone had written on the screen. This is one of my favorite photos I have taken.

The profound in the simply stated: “Understand What You Need” has become a mantra of sorts for me. (And no, I did not want the Teh-Voo, as it is called in Italian.)

So, in the spirit of Christmas and knowing that most of us have more than we need (and even want), please think of buying a raffle ticket in the Menu for Hope V project. Prizes are being awarded by various bloggers (including yours truly).

What I like best about this particular fund-raiser is that the money goes not only to buy food for children, but also to help people to help themselves so they will have a more secure future. This type of giving is empowering! And everyone benefits.

Click here for prize list and donation information.