Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas Kindness

When I am feeling down, the first thing I want to do is give. It always has a way of immediately lifting my spirits. I make donations, but as part of my partially created Bucket List, I have wanted to find more ways to physically give.

Today I was feeling pretty down, so I pushed all of my efforts into an idea I have been thinking of since I was sitting lonely in the PICU over two years ago.

Spending all your time in the confines of a hospital is an experience I do not wish upon anyone. I remember being there day and night. I would sometimes sit at the window and watch the whole world go round below, as mine was completely flipped on its head and spinning faster and faster out of control. Although there were nurses, doctors and people everywhere, I vividly remember feeling so alone.

As each holiday season comes and goes, I think of the revolving door of families who have unexpectedly found themselves in our local PICU watching there child fight for their life.

I have seen others come up with ideas of how to help and have always wanted to as well. Today I decided we would try our hand at something along those same lines.

Here's my plan, tell me what you think. I called the Kaiser Roseville, Ca PICU today and spoke with the manager. I asked if it would be okay if we created and delivered care packages for the various families during the holidays. The manager was really happy about the idea, and shared in my excitement.

From our own experience, I know those days are filled with sadness and uncertainty. My hope is to bring at least a sliver of happiness and love to these families in one of their darkest times. I want nothing more than to let them know that someone cares about them and they are not alone in their time of need.

I wrote a letter and sent it to Oprah in hopes of her possibly donating some subscriptions of her thought provoking magazine. I was looking for something that never ceases to deliver strong insight and messages of hope. I also sent letters to Starbucks and Nordstrom thinking they may be able to donate some gift cards for coffee. As the parents stay up all hours of the night next to their child, at least they can enjoy a nice, warm cup of coffee.

I am also going to visit our local cupcake and cookie shops to see if they would be willing to contribute to our care packages.

I know that times are tough right now, but if you would be willing to donate too, we would really appreciate it :o)

If you would like to join us in our efforts, here are some ways you can help...

you can donate toys, games, children's books, movies, cards, etc. If you choose to help in this way, I hope you don't  mind me asking that all of these items are new.

you can send a gift card of your choosing. If it helps, some of the establishments close to the hospital are: Starbucks, Fats, Chili's, Mikuni, Taco Bell, Rubio's, Noah's Bagel, Dos Coyotes, Chipotle, Macaroni Grill, Mas, Crush 29, Paul Martin's, etc. There is also a Century and United Artist movie theater directly across the street. Going to the movies might be a great escape for these families as well.  

you can also make a cash donation and I will put it towards the purchase of snacks, magazines, nice anti-bacterial, soaps and lotions, or anything else we think might be a comfort.   

If you include a cash donation, you can make the check out to David or Jennifer Hodder. You can send any and all items to:

Christmas Kindness
c/o David Hodder
10308 Placer Lane Ste. 100
Sacramento, Ca 95827

If you have any questions or would like to donate through Paypal, you can contact us directly, our e-mail address is ~

  I really do appreciate you for considering helping us! We have been shown so much kindness over the last few years and it has always amazed me when someone has gone out of there way to think of us. We hope to do this every year as it is such a gratifying way to give back to families who are probably going through one of the worst times of their lives.

We are planning on starting deliveries around the middle of December.

We are trying to think of a name for our effort and are having a hard time. We thought Reese's (Aviana's middle name) Reindeer or Rainey's Reindeer sounded cute, but if you have any ideas for the name or care package items, please send them our way ; )

Thank you!

❤ ❤ ❤


  1. This is so great, Jen! I will definitely send you something in the next couple of weeks.

  2. I'd love to participate. A local teacher and his wife lost their little girl several years ago to cancer and they do something similar at Kaiser Oakland. As someone who sat for two months with a baby at Children's Hospital, I know how lonely it is, especially at the holidays. You're going to make some families feel very loved!

  3. Avi's Angel Basket? LOVE this idea Jen. SO awesome!

  4. What a great idea! I will help out any way that I can. The families are going to be so thankful!

  5. Jen, I can't wait to be a part of this!! And I know Casey will love to know he is a part of helping! You are an amazing woman with an amazing family! If it helps heal your wounds, even for the time being, I'm glad you realize it. As for your other posts...I just want to say we love the Hodders! You might feel weak, worn down, and lifeless, but no matter what, you, Dave, Avi, Rainey and all the rest are such an amazing inspiration for living life beyond tragedy. And suggestions; Avi's Angels, Helping Hodders, Hodder's Hearts, Hearts from Hodder's, Angels's from Avi, Holiday Hodders, and more as the night goes on!

  6. ahhhh! How did I miss this? I will send some $$ your way - I'm too lazy to mail anything. Awesome idea - I hated being in the PICU.