Shoot Your Heart Out – Part II

A few weeks ago I blogged about ways we can all give back with our cameras, whether you are a pro or just a Mom*tog.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure if I could make it happen.  I’ve been blessed with amazing clients who have kept me so busy this year.  Busier than I wanted to be, honestly.  I have SO much to be thankful for.  So, so, so much.  And I wanted to do something for some people who might not have as much to be thankful for.

After my first two days of mini sessions booked out super fast I got a lot of requests for a third day.  November was crazy.  Crazier than crazy.  And I knew if I did do a third day of minis I wanted to do something fun with that money.  Something to give back.  Julie (who did an amazing job styling the sessions) and I found a way to fit in one more day.  The only day we could do would be the day before Thanksgiving.  Which is just crazy.  But, we made it happen.

Earlier this week we got to go spend that money.  It was something I always wanted to do when I was a kid.  Go to a toy store and buy whatever I wanted.  A big shopping spree.  I imagined running down the aisles with a cart and just piling toys into cart after cart.  Except the toy store we went to didn’t have carts.  Because it was important to me to be able to support a local toy store rather than going to a big chain store.  Just another way to give back.  I pass by The Enchanted Toy Store in Fullerton all the time, but had never gone in.  I contacted the owner and he was kind enough to give us 15% off our purchases.  To make our money go a little further.  (If you live in North Orange County you must check out The Enchanted Toy Store.  Really awesome, quality toys.  You can tell Jeff, the owner, really puts a lot of thought into picking out the toys he carries in his shop).

It only took us maybe 20 minutes to get all the toys.  Julie picked out the girl toys and Brayden I picked out the boy toys… and some girl toys because girl toys are “so colorful and pretty!”.

Brayden was excited to be one of Santa’s elves.  He was SO good.  Much better than I expected him to be.  I thought he would cry and cry when he realized the toys weren’t for him.  But, he got it.  As much as a 3 year old can get it.  All he wanted was a little stuffed mouse.  Which I had to get him because he was so, so, so good.  The only tears came from Kennedy who cried the entire time!

We piled the toys into the back of Julie’s mini van.  So thankful for her mini van because they wouldn’t all fit in my car!  (And, yes.  Brayden doesn’t have any shoes on.  Because I’m the awesome mom who forgot my kids shoes at home!  It was that kind of a crazy morning).

And drove them straight over to a local fire department for Toys 4 Tots.  The firemen were so nice and let B look in their fire trucks.

Thinking that there might be kids out there without Christmas presents makes my heart hurt.  I can’t even imagine.  Thanks to my amazing clients for helping to make this happen.  Without your continued support, referrals, and business we couldn’t have done this.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

ETA:  I didn’t post this (or my 31 RAOK post) so people could say, “Yeah, Drew.  You’re so awesome”.  Because, trust me, I’m not that awesome and I’m not perfect.  I posted it because I want to encourage others to do the same.  Even if it’s something small it can all add up to something BIG!

Oprah (my personal hero) said that when she was a little girl her family didn’t have any money for Christmas presents.  She was old enough to know Santa wasn’t real, but young enough to still hope that he was.  On Christmas Eve nuns showed up at her door step with Christmas presents for her.  She never forgot that small random act of kindess and that has inspired her love of giving.  That was my inspiration for doing this.  In hopes that maybe these presents can make Christmas magical for kids that don’t have a lot of happiness in their lives and maybe will instill a love of giving back to others that will last a lifetime.


  1. paige says

    Again your heart is amazing!! You are such a great example to your children and to others. I wish more people had a giving heart like you. Oh and I love the enchanted toy store. I have gotten such cute gifts for the kids there.
    paige´s last blog post ..thanks

  2. Mara says

    I think it’s awesome! Love the idea and the execution! Very inspiring and great example to Brayden.

  3. Elle says

    As a Marine Corps family, we are actively involve in the Toys for Tots program every year since it was originally started by the Marine Corps Reserves. Each year, when it comes down to the wire, we always come to the realization that there are way more people signed up to receive toys than there are toys to distribute, our hearts break a little. Every single bit helps and each toy counts. There are so many children out there without toys for Christmas. What you did is amazing.
    Elle´s last blog post ..Oh Christmas tree

  4. Melinda T says

    Thank you and bless your heart! My parents immigrated here about 2 years before I was born, they didn’t know what Christmas and other holidays were, so we didn’t get presents or have a lot of money. I do remember when I was about 4, the Salvation Army gave us a bag of toys and a meal-turkey and several canned goods. I’ll always remember that Christmas and the kindness of others. Now that I’m older and especially because I’m a mom, my girls and I do what we can to help those in need. We’ve donated food to our local food pantry and bought toys for the toy drive. It feels good to give back and share.

  5. Vernon says

    Love this post. Sharing is loving. We must not forget that. Merry Christmas ahead. I really appreciate your generosity and being a great example to your kids. I will look forward for the next post Drew.
    Vernon´s last blog post to get a girl to like you

  6. Lisa A says

    Thanks for sharing Drew! We just did the same thing last weekend :) Felt good to give. Of course ours was on a smaller budget, but anything helps. I remember having to get free gifts from the salvation army as a child, when my parents weren’t financially capable to provide, so this really touches my heart. Made me tear up. I debated sharing our Toy for Tots charity donation on my blog, but I think I might now. You are right, its a great way to inspire others. Thank you for being awesome!
    Lisa A´s last blog post ..Lunch Date + Ethan Blooper 3

  7. What a great idea! I am sure it was fun (minus a screaming Kennedy!) And I know you have made some kids very happy :)
    Bobbie Brown´s last blog post ..The Black Family

  8. erica says

    I love this idea.. this year I donated a few clothes and a toy to the catholic charities in our area for kids and families in need this year!!!!! I find it so important to do something for these families, even if we could only do something so small! It also makes my heart hurt to think little girls and boys won’t have a christmas, and that the parents can’t give that to them, I am sure their heart hurts more!

  9. Thanks for posting this! I love it and dream about ways that I would like to really give back through my business (which is still a dream). It’s awesome to see it happening through others. And we can all do a part, no matter how much we have. If we don’t give when we have little, chances are that we won’t give when we have much! Beautiful and God bless you during this season of giving. May we all seek the One who gave ALL.
    Lisa Tarplee´s last blog post ..Cousins

  10. Drew you are my hero! I wanna be just like you when I grow up! when my business gets big and I make that kind of money I know I will do things like this! I payed for someone’s meal in the drive thru the other day and it made me feel so good! it was so small what I did, but I know it made the other person happy!
    Monick Sanchez´s last blog post ..Plumb Blooping Headband

  11. Jill Chaze says

    I had just read your first post and a few days had past and we were driving to Disney World. When we pulled up to pay our toll the man said, ” the lady in the car ahead paid for you.” My husband said, “huh, why?” I immediately thought of you and how your post had inspired me. I had to explain to him the random acts of kindness that people like to do…just because. I love your story. Maybe she had just read your story too :)

  12. Jaimi Reimer Lammers says

    That is AWESOME! And what a great experience for Brayden. You are such a good example for all of us!!

  13. Jess says

    You don’t give yourself enough credit, Drew! I know you aren’t perfect, but you certainly are special! It takes a special person with a big heart to think of others so unselfishly. Way to go for being a good example to your other blog readers, but especially your kids :)
    Jess´s last blog post ..The Park

  14. Debra says

    What an incredible example you set for your kids and for us as readers!
    I love that you don’t ‘think about doing something like that’ and ‘JUST DO IT’!
    The thought of a child without a toy at CHRISTmas breaks my heart too, but I have a feeling there will be fewer because of this post!
    Wishing you a joy filled Christmas!

  15. Leah says

    Are you a Christian? I can tell by your great heart- what a difference you are making in these kids’ lives!

  16. DrewB says

    Do you have to be Christian to have a great heart?

  17. Leah says

    Oh, of course not, but since many of the area bloggers doing good deeds are, I just made an assumption, which was wrong of me! I am so sorry if you were offended by that comment- it was meant as a compliment!

  18. Heidi says

    Everything about this makes me smile!

  19. sara says


  20. Emma says

    I’ve always felt really bad being that mom that forgot her kids shoes at home… Reading that I’m not the only one just totally made my day.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge