Happy New Year to you and your families. And happy heavenly birthday to Elizabeth. She would be 30 years old today.
As 2020 begins, we want to take a moment and reflect on what the past year has been like for us and the Foundation. In a word, overwhelming! What began as a small venture helping four facilities serving 200 plus people grew to 14 organizations with over 600 clients.
As grateful as we are to see Elizabeth’s Foundation grow, we are deeply saddened by the fact that there is this much need in the world of addiction recovery. We remain completely broken by the loss of our daughter. Fortunately, we are surrounded by a strong group of friends and associates who have embarked on this journey with us.
We thought you would like to know what we accomplished in the past two and a half years. In 2019 we donated 78 bicycles, bringing the total to 156. Our backpack donations reached 265. As for the toiletries provided throughout the years, we have spent well over $50,000 since our first delivery, Mother’s Day weekend May of 2017.
Most of these items are personally delivered by us to locations between Port St. Lucie and Delray Beach. The closest one is about eight miles from our home, the farthest away is 60. The staff always met with hugs and smiles.
P.O. Box 962, Hobe Sound, FL 33475 (781) 626-0558
In a sober house the residents are responsible for their rent, food, clothing, toiletries and transportation. They are re-learning how to live independently. We know how difficult it was for Elizabeth, and so many others to get established and live a clean/sober life. It can be daunting, especially without any support. The necessities we provide offer a little bit of comfort and hope.
The Walmart gift cards we give the managers provide a small amount of discretionary money to help individuals obtain a few essentials, primarily food and clothing. Some people arrive with nothing but what they are wearing. That total amount is $12,600.
Once again for Thanksgiving we provided gift cards from local supermarkets to the places we support. It helped them offer a holiday meal. Always a huge success as it brings the residents together and makes it easier for those who cannot get home to their families.
The 2019 Christmas season was monumental. Mariann started planning and shopping in May. The bulk of the work occurred in the fall. With 600 gifts and stockings to put together and deliver we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from so many friends who helped package and wrap.
As we enter 2020 we know the need will be greater than past years. We have been approached by two new organizations and have knowledge of three more in our area who fit our mission. We could easily see a 20% increase in the number of people we serve.
Unlike some charitable organizations, we do not use any of the funds raised for personal reimbursement. We pledge to continue matching all donations 100 percent. It is our way to honor Elizabeth. If you are considering a donation, now would be a great time. We remain steadfast in our mission and hope to be a small glimmer of hope to those who need to win their battle against addiction. Failure is not an option. Please help us make 2020 a year of new beginnings. Please help us make a difference. Please help us save a life. Please help us spare parents from losing a child.
In addition to our own Foundation we support others in the area who are also helping those with the disease of addiction. We are active with two coalitions and Mariann sees to it that moms who lose a child to the disease receive a hand-made prayer shawl donated by some caring women in our neighborhood. To her, this is the hardest part of our mission. Outreach to those who have the same loss as ours is very difficult. We know the journey; we understand the pain.
We have updated our website and are working on the Facebook page. As much as we are ‘old school’, hence this letter, we know it is important to maintain an on-line presence. That way we can share current pictures and stories of our involvement in the recovery community. We hope you will visit them both, give us a “like” and “share” our mission. www.ElizabethRoseOlsenFoundation.org
We will celebrate Elizabeth’s birth today as we have done the past four years, without her but still singing happy birthday through our tears as we wait for the candle to extinguish itself. And then, we will start all over again, trying to bring small glimmers of hope to the recovery community.
In closing, we wish you a happy, healthy and blessed New Year. We are always grateful for the support from our family and friends. Thank you so much for your continued love and prayers. It means more than you will ever know.
Len and Mariann O’Connor
Elizabeth Rose Olsen Foundation, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) organization.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
REGISTRATION NUMBER: CH52872