In 2018 Michaella’s friends and cousin approached me to see what we would do on January 21st the anniversary of Michaella’s passing away. Every year we got together and spent time together remembering Michaella sharing stories and her favorite food along with many tears and a few smiles. We decided that year we wanted to do something different and came up with idea of a service project something Michaella would totally support. We decided to take her love of everything fashion and collect gently used pocketbooks and fill them with items and donate them. We were able to find a local woman’s shelter who agreed to be our recipient of our care packages, Serenity House in Hopkinton. We spent the entire day together deciding on which bags to use, then had an assembly line filling them. We all thought that was the highlight of the day little did we know. Myself, Marty, and Michaella’s friends Caitlin and Kayley set off a few days later to deliver them. We thought we were just dropping them off and leaving but instead we were brought into a large room filled with women and some children. They had us set up the purses and one by one each resident got the chance to come up and choose their bag. The looks on their faces were priceless it was like Christmas morning!!! Literally every resident came up and gave us hugs letting us all know how much our care packages meant. The director Betty Williams Corbett had us speak and share our daughter Michaella with them. The four of us left Serenity House with our hearts filled we truly received more than we gave.
In 2019 we repeated this project again and had so many people wanting to donate purses or goodies to fill the bags as well as donations of cold weather apparel. When we brought the care packages to the new residents at Serenity House it was the same amazing experience, the woman were just thrilled to get an unexpected gift and had such a wonderful time picking out their perfect bag. Betty gave us a tour of their new home and as we walked around so many of the women came up to hug us and again express their gratefulness. The residents surprised us by giving us a gift, a photo collage of quotes and Michaella’s pay it forward cards. It is a gift I will treasure forever.
We look forward to continuing this project every year.