Bake Sales Keanu Reeves Cancer Research Stop Smoking Fight Polio Selling Gold For Charity Real Warriors Blinded Veterans

Bake A Difference And Help End Childhood Hunger

(NAPSI)-Nearly 17 million children face hunger in America--that's one in four kids.

The weak economy has put millions of previously secure American families at risk.

Fortunately, there is a way you can help. Share Our Strength, the leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America, encourages Americans to raise funds by hosting bake sales in their communities.

"Holding a bake sale is one of the easiest ways to make a really big difference in a child's daily life. I am honored to be involved with Great American Bake Sale because I know how important it is to make sure that no child in America struggles with hunger," says Sandra Lee, official campaign spokesperson for Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale and star of Food Network's "Sandra's Money Saving Meals."

Funds raised support Share Our Strength's efforts to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

Every dollar counts. For example, $25 can help feed one child three healthy meals every day for a month and $50 can help connect a child with healthy meals throughout the summer.

Martha May Fink, a mother from Manchester, N.H., has raised more than $9,000 over the past three years holding bake sales. "Thanks to Great American Bake Sale, I have an awareness of childhood hunger now. I feel like I'm really making a difference."

Bake sales do more than raise funds for a worthy cause. They also help create awareness and help educate your community about the important issue of childhood hunger in America.

There's no need to do it alone. You can get your entire town, city or county involved in helping to end childhood hunger by hosting a bake sale in your community. Or you can have a bake sale at work. Form a team with co-workers to help build office morale. Bake sales can be incorporated into a variety of community events. No matter how large or small, each one makes a difference in empowering people and communities to help the often overlooked issue of childhood hunger in America. It's an easy and fun way to help kids. Roll up your sleeves, preheat your ovens and bake a difference!

If you have a business, you can host a Great American Bake Sale and donate the proceeds to Share Our Strength.

To find out more about Great American Bake Sale, please visit

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Stars And Pros Hit The Fast Lane For The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

(NAPSI)-Danny McKeever, championship racer, veteran instructor and renowned stunt driver, has had many loves in his life, but none is a match for his long-standing love affair with motorsports. After a long and prosperous racing career, McKeever turned his passion for the fast lane--also the name of the racing school he owns and operates--into an opportunity to teach others. In 1986, he became the official chief instructor for the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, training every participant for this coveted annual charity event. Since its inception in 1977, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has grown into the largest, longest-running corporate-sponsored celebrity racing event in the world. The historic 10-lap race takes place every April on a 1.97-mile circuit through the streets of downtown Long Beach, Calif. The charity event benefits the Children's Hospital of Orange County and Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. It pits high-profile celebrity personalities against professional drivers. Keanu Reeves, Adrien Brody, Cameron Diaz, George Lucas, Ashley Judd, Jay Leno, William Shatner, David Hasselhoff and Patrick Dempsey are but a handful of the more than 540 celebrities who have revved their engines for the admirable causes. According to McKeever, racing is a humbling experience, especially the first time on an actual racetrack. "The straightaways and turns go by in a blur as the car bounces around and the wind blows past the open top," he says. "It's definitely an adrenaline rush." To hear the roar of the engines as cars thunder past awestruck fans...the thrill...the excitement--"no wonder celebrities are attracted to the electrifying world of race-car driving," he adds. McKeever has learned that the drivers who come out on top are not necessarily the fastest out of the gate in practice. Rather, it's the drivers who excel at focusing on learning the techniques. "Race-car driving is a mental exercise," he says. "Perhaps the biggest lesson is to find your limits and stay within them." The allure of fast cars and high-performance racing is stronger than ever in Hollywood, driving film, television and sports stars alike to the thrill of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. As head instructor, McKeever is challenged every year with turning more than a dozen celebrities--most of whom have no racing experience at all--into bona fide race-car drivers in just four days. People often ask McKeever how celebrity drivers compare with drivers who are professional athletes in terms of natural ability. With a smile, McKeever replies that athletes have coaches and actors have directors, so both respond well to a guiding force. But make no mistake, he adds, "they take their craft very seriously, and there are no large egos on the track." To learn more about the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, go to

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Plant A Healing Garden

(NAPSI)-Here's an idea that's growing in popularity: Plant a garden to help you or someone you care about heal physically, spiritually or emotionally.

For most of history, gardens have had a strong relationship to health and healing. Today, people use healing gardens to restore the body, spirit and mind. Gardens create a sense of calm, balance, hope and inspiration, which greatly improve the recovery process. A healing garden is an opportunity to observe and be a part of the life cycle, giving a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Gardens offer fresh air, exercise and sunlight, important for reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

That's why hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and cancer-support centers across the nation use healing gardens for their patients. In fact, doctors at the Jupiter Medical Center in Florida discovered that patients who had a view of the healing garden from their rooms took less pain medication and had shorter hospital stays than those without such a view.

Healing gardens are often used to help women in their battles against breast cancer. That's important, since the National Cancer Institute estimates that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during her lifetime.

When planting a home healing garden, consider the following to maximize its healing qualities:

• Overall layout: Include places to sit and reflect, pray, meditate or relax, such as a wooden swing. Picture what calms or inspires you and include these elements and items. A small pond, garden art, wind chimes, even interesting rocks might add to your garden's tranquility. Enclose it with shrubs or fencing to create a secluded retreat and include paths for walking.

• Aromatic plants: Sweet-smelling plants can enhance the relaxing atmosphere. Plant herbs such as basil, rosemary, sage, lemon thyme or lavender. Surround your garden with scented trees, such as pine and eucalyptus, to create shade and shelter. A new compact, reblooming lilac, called Bloomerang, has clusters of purple-pink, sweet-scented flowers, making it excellent for creating a fragrant hedge.

• Healing plants: Include medicinal plants to symbolize the health aspects of your garden. Lavender, sage, basil, thyme and St.-John's-wort have been prized for centuries for their medicinal qualities. Fruits and vegetables can symbolize--and supply--nutrition. For example, the fruit of Sambucus, also called elderberry, is rich in antioxidants. An elderberry called Black Lace has intense purple-black, finely cut foliage. Its fruit can be used in jam or even wine.

• Attracting wildlife: Add a birdbath, bird feeders or birdhouses and put in plants that attract butterflies. A new shrub, Lo & Behold Blue Chip buddleia, attracts flocks of butterflies as well as hummingbirds. It's the only miniature butterfly bush with loads of fragrant blue flowers that bloom continuously.

• Color: Plants with bright colors can lift the spirits. To show support for overcoming breast cancer, consider pink flowers. A newly available choice, Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea, is the very first pink-flowered "Annabelle" hydrangea. You can see more than 100 blooms on a single plant. Its dark-pink buds open to hot-pink flowers, which mature to a soft pink. In addition, for every Invincibelle Spirit sold, Proven Winners ColorChoice will donate a dollar to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

These plants are at better garden centers. To find the one closest to you, see

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A New BFF To Help You Stop Smoking

(NAPSI)-If you're feeling increasingly alone with your smoking, there's an inviting new Web site extending a friendly, nonjudgmental hand. Developed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), gives you the latest science on tobacco addiction, recommended approaches on how to quit and a wealth of free resources to get you started and keep you on track.

Cutting-edge, evidence-based tools available at include:

• Live help via telephone or instant messaging from an NCI smoking cessation counselor;

• A professional step-by-step quit guide written by ex-smokers and smoking cessation experts;

• Tools you can use, including a cravings journal and medications to help you quit;

• Informative free publications you can download, print and order;

• Conversation with other women also trying to quit.

You can also join on Facebook and Twitter and your friends, both old and new, can instantly support your efforts.

There are more reasons than ever for women to quit. Smoking affects more than just your lungs. Smoking can increase your risk for future heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis and cancers other than lung cancer. It can reduce your ability to get pregnant and increase your chances of problems during pregnancy.

Smoking can also worsen symptoms of a long list of chronic illnesses that women are already dealing with, including asthma, sinusitis, migraine, glaucoma, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, diabetes (types 1 and 2), cystic fibrosis, depression, panic attacks and more. Also, it's long been accepted that smoking causes wrinkles and facial aging.

Visit and get to know your new BFF today. .

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Three Words Help Focus Fight Against Polio

(NAPSI)-Three simple words--End Polio Now--are raising worldwide awareness of Rotary's fight to eradicate this crippling childhood disease.

Rotary's pledge to End Polio Now has been projected onto some of the world's most famous landmarks--such as the ancient Pyramid of Khafre, the Lake Marathon Dam in Greece, and Chicago's Wrigley Building--as part of the humanitarian service organization's 105th anniversary in 2010. The illuminated displays coincide with a direct appeal to about 40 national heads of state to encourage governments to increase their commitment to polio eradication.

Polio eradication has been Rotary's top priority for more than two decades. Rotary is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF.

To learn more, visit

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A Golden Opportunity

(NAPSI)-While many are trying to raise cash these days by selling their old jewelry, others have discovered they can make money--or even build their own business--buying gold.

How It Works

With the help of a women-owned, women-run company that empowers others to take charge of their own success, women are discovering ways to earn extra funds and actually do good at the same time. Through an organization called Golden Girls, women are employed to purchase precious metals--specifically gold--in a comfortable social setting among their friends, neighbors or network of contacts.

The expertly trained professional buyers who join Golden Girls are given the latest technology to assess, measure and certify the gold they purchase.

They work with women who want flexible hours, entrepreneurial potential and the bonus of actually making a difference. The team members are rewarded not only monetarily, but they also get a chance to support their favorite cause, as the company donates a percentage of each party's sales to a charity selected by the hostess. So far, over half a million dollars has been donated by the company to charities ranging from well-known, national organizations such as Susan G. Komen to community scholarship funds.

Party attendees can sell their unwanted jewelry in a pressure-free environment and get paid on the spot while enjoying the company of friends.

Here are some of the ways parties do good with gold:

How It Helps

• Hostesses can select their favorite philanthropic organizations--large or small--to become charity beneficiaries. Women who have strong ties to their communities are best able to identify areas of need and find ways to support them.

• Charities across North America can use gold-buying parties as fundraising opportunities for their members, supporters and other contacts. These organizations can even create a network of parties to maximize their rewards.

Who It Helps

Explained Deanna Brown, Golden Girls co-founder, "With each party we host, we're able to help more people in need--from women looking for ways to support their families to the thousands of outstanding organizations we've been able to support."

Learn More

For more information on how to host a party or train to become a buyer, plus learn about other ways to make money, visit or call (866) 995-2008.

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Finding Better Ways To Support Military Families

(NAPSI)-Americans know it's important to support military personnel deployed overseas. But a new RAND Corporation study shows just how important it is to support military families as well.

It found that children from these families can have significantly higher levels of emotional difficulties than children in the general population. About one-third of the military children surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, as the months of parental deployment increased, so did the child's challenges. In fact, the total number of months away mattered more than the number of deployments.

"These findings back up what we have been hearing from parents about the impacts of parental deployments on children," says Joyce Raezer, the executive director for the National Military Family Association, the group that commissioned the research. "And as more troops are deployed, more youngsters are affected." Additional study findings include:

• Older children experienced more difficulties during deployment.

• There is a strong relationship between the mental health of the caregiver and the well-being of the child.

• Girls experienced more difficulty readjusting after a service member's homecoming.

A Brighter Future

Raezer has called on groups--including the Department of Defense--to use the study's findings to better help families. Her association is now gathering key nonprofit and military leaders as well as the heads of other groups to form an expert task force and lead a national conversation on how to do just that.

Currently, the association is the only nonprofit organization that serves all military families, including those with a deployed, fallen or injured loved one. The group also serves families of all branches of the military, including the reserves and National Guard.

"We owe it to these families to better understand and address the challenges they are facing now and may be facing later," Raezer explains. The association offers these tips to help Americans everywhere lend support to military families:

• Connect And Invite--"Military families are like the rest of us--you may not understand all the things military families face in a time of war, but you do understand the way friendships and community enrich their lives," says Raezer. "Reach out, connect to a military family and invite them to coffee or dinner."

• Ask, "How Can I Help?"--A simple offer of help can mean a lot to a single soldier or a "suddenly single" mom or dad whose spouse is serving overseas. If you're a neighbor, a friend or connected in some way to a military family, offer to help.

• Lend An Ear--The study showed that deployments are often especially difficult on teenagers. "Military teens shoulder a lot of additional responsibilities and are faced with some strong emotions at a pivotal time in their lives," says Raezer. "But remember, they are like other teens. They want to fit in, make friends and have fun." She suggests listening to what they have to say and being a role model.

• Provide Encouragement-"Although service can be tough, military families are proud of the difference they make," says Raezer. "Encourage our military families with gratitude and camaraderie. Military families are serving you, too."

• Get Involved--You can visit to learn more about the study and to find ways to support and advocate for military families in the area. "

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Honoring America's Blinded Veterans

(NAPSI)-As Americans find new ways to salute the efforts of brave U.S. servicemen and -women, one group has continued to help thousands of blinded veterans realize brighter futures.

The organization was started 65 years ago by a small band of recently blinded U.S. soldiers meeting in an army convalescent facility. Anxious to help one another lead happy and productive lives, they soon became guided by the following statement:

"We cannot expect much help or cooperation in our fight unless we prove ourselves worthy of it. If we do not wish to be considered helpless, we must begin to produce."

Today, just as when it began in 1945, the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) serves as a bright beacon of light for blinded veterans and their families. The organization works actively to locate veterans who need services and to help them make contributions to society that are as worthy and meaningful as they would have been, had they retained their sight.

The group also guides veterans through the rehabilitation process, advocates for them and their families before Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and helps provide access to new technologies and research that might help with vision loss.

Just as important, however, BVA offers encouragement and emotional support by providing role models who have proved that the challenges of blindness can be overcome.

For instance, Operation Peer Support pairs veterans of past wars with newly blinded veterans to help them adjust to new challenges. Field Service Representatives are also available to give advice and help with claims, and regional groups offer emotional support, friendship and opportunities for recreation and socializing.

A Growing Need

With about 11,000 members, BVA's services are available to any U.S. military veteran who is legally blind, regardless of whether the cause of blindness is service connected. VA estimates that nearly 7,000 veterans lose their site each year due to age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma.

The organization's services are free, and the group is funded by donations from generous Americans. BVA will commemorate its 65th anniversary at its 2010 national convention. For more information, call (800) 669-7079 or visit

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