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WEB REVIEW: Super Bowl adds momentum to charity effort

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Jim Cota

When I think about why I love Indianapolis, I realize it’s the people who make it great—people who are willing to put others first, to step into the breach, to volunteer time, talent and treasure to help others.

You might just call it Midwestern sensibility. Regardless of where people originated, once they settle here, their better selves seem to rise to the surface. We’re so nice, even Raiders fans elevate their behavior when they’re in town.

It’s not surprising then, that a program such as Baskets of Hope has caught on here.

The charity launched in St. Louis with the goal of providing gift baskets to sick kids to help lift their spirits. Quarterback Kurt Warner was involved in the early stages, and when he was asked who else might be interested in getting involved, he mentioned Tony Dungy.

The program branched to Indianapolis in 2002 and Dungy became national spokesman. Today, Baskets of Hope delivers thousands of baskets to hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses around the country each year. The baskets contain age-appropriate toys, games, crafts, movies, pre-loaded MP3 players, gift certificates, and much more.

In many cases, the baskets are hand-delivered by celebrities, sports stars and community leaders. Parents also receive Hope Totes, filled with Bibles, journals, inspirational books and music to provide encouragement and support during difficult times.

With the Super Bowl coming to Indiana for the first time, some of that Midwestern sensibility got mixed up with Midwestern creativity and Super Baskets of Hope was born.

The idea was both simple and ambitious: Fill 7,000 baskets with products that represent Indiana and send them to every city with an NFL franchise, nearly doubling the reach of Baskets of Hope in one massive undertaking.

Volunteers were recruited and planning took off. Soon, sponsors signed on and products began flowing: The Colts and Pacers, Vera Bradley, LIDS, The Tony Stewart Foundation, The Saturday Evening Post, Fundex and many others donated goods to help fill the baskets. 

Many other organizations donated money and services, from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to Indiana University Health.

Now, with a little more than a month to go, nearly everything is in place. But more help is needed. There are two major endeavors left: filling the 7,000 baskets and delivering them to each of the NFL cities.

Fortunately, plenty of volunteers have signed up to help fill and prepare the baskets. What’s needed now is funding for delivering the baskets. The logistics and costs involved with transporting thousands of baskets to cities across the country are daunting.

How can you help? I knew you’d ask.

The website www.superbasketsofhope.org has additional information about the program. You’ll also find a map that shows which hospitals in each city will be receiving baskets, which is a nice way to see exactly what all the effort is for.

If you’d like to do more, visit www.basketsofhope.org. It describes how the program works, which cities are active, and opportunities for involvement long after the Super Bowl has moved on to the next destination.

Who knows? Maybe with a little luck, a little effort, and a dose of Midwestern sensibility, the momentum created by the Super Baskets of Hope program will help the program take root in new cities and bring a smile to more children suffering from serious illnesses.

And that would be even better than lifting the Lombardi trophy again.•

__________

Cota is creative director of Rare Bird Inc., a full-service advertising agency specializing in the use of new technologies. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at jim@rarebirdinc.com.

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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