Act for Autism Pancake Fundraiser Food Relief Brownies For Make-A-Wish Building Affordable Homes Career Counseling Saving Lives Sending Relief For Haiti

A Creative Way To Help

(NAPSI)-It may seem puzzling at first, but there's an enjoyable way by which you and your children can help people with autism and other disabilities.

What You Can Do

At a FREE in-store "Make and Take" craft event for children and their families, customers at A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts stores can Act For Autism in three ways. They can come into the store to decorate a jigsaw puzzle, go online for instructions to create one at home (, or donate $1 to Easter Seals at checkout in any A.C. Moore store.

How To Do It

Supplies you will need:

• Blank puzzles (available at A.C. Moore stores and online)

• Waterproof black ink and assorted dye or chalk ink pads

• Alphabet stamps (clear or rubber)

• Assortment of rubber stamps

Crayola Pip Squeaks markers

• Your imagination!


1. Separate puzzle pieces. Note: Children should get assistance from an adult, as a craft knife may be needed to cut the pieces apart .

2. Ink each piece separately by rubbing on different color ink pads, let dry, and then reassemble the puzzle.

3. Use alphabet stamps to stamp a message over the entire puzzle or use a stamp of your favorite critter over the entire image.

4. Color in the stamp images with markers or use your imagination to draw your own picture or message.

Why To Do It

Today, one in 110 children are diagnosed with autism, and there's an increasing need for funding, services and support.

There's no known cause or cure or single effective treatment, but people with autism, at any age, can make significant progress through personalized interventions and therapy, and can and do lead meaningful lives.

Easter Seals is unique as the nation's leading provider of services and support for those living with autism and is working to provide individualized treatment plans and comprehensive services.

Getting the right support at the earliest stage in life can help a child gain the skills he or she needs to be successful. Experts agree that early diagnosis and early intervention are critical. The earlier people with autism get help, the more hope they have for their futures.

"We know that through early detection and individualized intervention, children with autism make significant progress," explained Dr. Patricia Wright, MPH, Ph.D., national director autism services, Easter Seals.

If you think your child has autism, get a diagnosis, get help.

• Trust your instincts.

• Talk to your pediatrician.

• Find out about early intervention services.

• Educate yourself. Programs across the country provide a wide variety of ways to help individuals of all abilities.

Where To Learn More

Learn more at (800) 221-6827, and

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Throwing The Perfect Pancake Fundraiser

(NAPSI)-Fundraising is a necessity for many organizations and planning or finding a pancake breakfast fundraiser is now easier than ever--thanks to Bisquick®.

America's classic and loved pancake mix brand has launched Bisquick Pancake Nation™, a Web-based initiative that unites pancake lovers from across all parts of the United States in organizing, promoting and locating pancake breakfast fundraisers. Because of the new initiative, local schools and charities can now make any Saturday or Sunday "pancake day" and are only a mouse click away from getting help in organizing the event and raising funds.

To help support fundraisers, the Bisquick Pancake Nation program will support and reward nonprofit organizations and qualified public or private schools with a one-time $250 grant toward hosting their next pancake breakfast fundraiser in the local community. A list of fundraising qualifiers and conditions can be found at Grant applications will be accepted now through May 31, 2010. To kick off the initiative, Bisquick issued the program's first grant to International Pancake Day of Liberal, Kansas, in early February.

Beyond traditional tips and recipes, the Bisquick Pancake Nation site offers customizable tools and templates, such as invitations and event signage that are easy to download and share. The site also includes:

• The Pancake Finder--locates a nearby pancake fundraiser.

• Pancake Mix--customize a future Bisquick Pancake Nation Breakfast Fundraiser with some fun tips on what to serve with pancakes.

Pancalculator--plan shopping for just the right amount of ingredients for expected guests.

• Place Mats--download and print so guests can share trivia and play games while they eat.

Pancake breakfasts are steeped in tradition and a favorite fundraiser for food lovers of all ages. Visit for more information.

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Meeting The Growing Need Food Relief

(NAPSI)-More Americans are hungry. As many as one in eight Americans, about 37 million people, have looked for some form of emergency food assistance in the last year.

With the recession and the high rate of unemployment, Americans are finding it harder to put food on the table. Fortunately, organizations such as Angel Food Ministries have found a way to help.

For 16 years, the nonprofit, nondenominational organization has provided food relief and financial support to communities throughout the U.S. The program began with 34 families in Monroe, Ga. (between Atlanta and Athens) and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 44 states. The organization crosses denominational lines, and a variety of nonprofit organizations and churches have signed on to use the program to feed people in their communities.

Much like a food cooperative, Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box, and the cost of these boxes ranges from $22−$30. Each month's menu is different than the previous month's and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately double the cost.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is of the same high quality you could purchase at a grocery store. There are no secondhand items, no damaged or outdated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.

Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can receive, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere.

Angel Food Ministries also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program (SNAP). It can also assist applicants in obtaining food stamps.

For more information, visit or call 877-FOOD-MINISTRY.

Angel Food Ministries exists to feed hungry families in America. Here's what might be included in a month's menu: Beef back ribs, ground beef, breaded chicken tenders, pork chops, a pound of ground turkey, stuffed shells, smoked sausage, seasoned potatoes, green beans, baby carrots, onions, pinto beans, rice, blueberry muffin mix, waffles and a dessert item.

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Stirring Up Wishes: Help Make Children's Wishes Come True

(NAPSI)-Eight-year-old Alex eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. For this determined and energetic young boy, acute lymphoblastic leukemia could not keep him from playing the sport he loves. Last summer, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation® and Betty Crocker, Alex's wish for a synthetic ice rink in his backyard was granted. Now, not even the summer heat can keep Alex from grabbing his hockey gear and hitting the ice.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes for a child with a life-threatening medical condition. For children like Alex, the Foundation brings life-affirming hope, strength and joy to their lives. This spring, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Betty Crocker are making it easy to share the power of a wish® through the Stirring Up Wishes program, now in its second year of making children's wishes come true.

Starting in March, join Betty Crocker in raising up to $500,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant wishes. Just look for specially marked Betty Crocker products at grocery stores nationwide--Betty Crocker will donate 10 cents to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every specially marked package purchased, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000 and a maximum donation of $500,000.

Throughout the campaign, Betty Crocker is celebrating these special moments at, where you can read about other incredible wishes stirred up by Betty Crocker and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and try wish-inspired recipes. Get started now by reading Alex's story and making his favorite Brownie Ice Cream Cake.

Alex's Wish

Over the span of two full days and with help from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire, Betty Crocker and volunteers, a brand-new 24-by-48-foot synthetic ice-skating rink was installed in Alex's own backyard. To Alex's surprise, players from his two favorite hockey teams, the University of New Hampshire and the Rochester Blackhawks, were on hand to help. Before skating for the first time on his new ice rink, Alex received a custom-made hockey jersey, a personalized trophy and a surprise visit from the Manchester Monarchs mascot.

Now Alex can practice the game he loves so much in his own backyard along with his many friends and teammates. But most importantly, he's feeling strong, healthy and happy. "It feels like a miracle," said Alex's mom, Marcie. "Alex is getting a second chance at life, and we get a second chance to be with him."

Alex's Favorite Brownie Ice Cream Cake

Make a delicious fudgy and frosty ice cream cake and celebrate Alex's wish.

Prep Time: 25 min.

Total Time: 3 hours, 55 min.

Makes: 16 servings


1 box (1 lb, 6.5 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box

½ gallon (8 cups) vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

1 cup hot fudge topping, warmed if desired

2 tablespoons Betty Crocker® Decorating Decors candy sprinkles

16 red maraschino cherries with stems, drained

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with foil; grease bottoms only with shortening or cooking spray.

2. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs--except divide batter evenly between pans. Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pans, about 1 hour. Do not remove from pans.

3. Spread slightly softened ice cream evenly on brownies in pans. Freeze at least 2 hours or until ice cream is firm.

4. Remove desserts from pans. Place on serving plates. Cut each dessert into 8 wedges. Drizzle each wedge with hot fudge topping. Decorate with candy sprinkles and cherries. Store covered in freezer.

Betty Crocker® is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc..

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Volunteers Of America Builds Homes So Gulf Coast Residents Can Return Home

(NAPSI)-Almost five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, Volunteers of America continues to build much-needed affordable housing for locals and welcome back residents displaced by the storm.

In the aftermath of Katrina, Volunteers of America created the "Coming Back Home" initiative with a commitment to create more than 1,000 units of affordable housing in the Gulf Coast area. In partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Trust and other major donors, the organization also established the Rental Housing Development Fund, which will be used to develop affordable rental housing in the region.

The first newly constructed community in this initiative, The Terraces on Tulane, recently welcomed its first residents. The community offers 200 affordable apartments for seniors and is located in New Orleans' Mid-City neighborhood. For many, moving into their new apartments was a joyous homecoming and a chance to reconnect with old neighbors and friends.

"I'm so excited I can't wait," said 74-year-old Alice Blue, who after Katrina was evacuated to the New Orleans Convention Center, then to Austin, Texas and finally to California, where her brother lives.

Founded in 1896, Volunteers of America is the largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing in the United States. Nationally, Volunteers of America provides housing to more than 11,000 families and 8,000 senior households, and is committed to increasing the supply of permanent affordable rental housing for working families in greater New Orleans.

Elsewhere in New Orleans, the organization started construction on the Chateau Carre Apartments-a rehabilitated, mixed-income housing development with 150 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The project is being funded in part by a block grant from the Louisiana Recovery Authority and the Office of Community Development.

In 2007, the organization also reopened The Duvernay Residence on Canal Street, which provides 70 single-room occupancy units to people transitioning from life on the streets to permanent housing.

In southern Alabama and Mississippi, Volunteers of America is building affordable single-family houses that feature steel frames and other innovations that allow these homes to withstand hurricane-force winds.

For more information, visit

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Teens Today Value Making A Difference More Than Money

(NAPSI)-Two good things about America's youth and America's economy were discovered by a recent poll conducted by Junior Achievement and ING.

The first is that despite tough times, 90 percent of teens are confident they'll get their ideal job.

The second is that 84 percent said they'd forgo getting that perfect job for the opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Nevertheless, about a third of teens responding to the Junior Achievement-ING Kids and Careers Poll are more worried now about their future job prospects compared to a year ago. Of those teens who said they were more worried now about their job prospects, 64 percent said they were anxious about the economy, and over half cited the unemployment rate as the most troubling issue.

"Teens' optimism and energy are inspiring," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president of Junior Achievement USA. "Teens want to channel this energy and invest in their futures. Junior Achievement programs help kids reach their goals by providing positive career role models and the tools to be successful in the workplace, such as leadership and teamwork skills."

Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation, added, "From an employer's perspective, programs such as JA Job Shadow are key to a well-prepared workforce; they provide a multifaceted approach to teaching career skills. Job Shadowing gives students the tools to build a successful career, such as critical thinking and leadership skills. It also provides important positive role models in the classroom, volunteers who deliver the curriculum and the mentors whom the students shadow in the workplace."

When asked what their schools could do to better prepare them for the workplace, teens said:

• A better understanding of the relevance of what they learn at school to the real world (87 percent);

• Real-world experiences, such as job shadowing (85 percent);

• More programs preparing them to be successful in the workplace (83 percent);

• Career counseling (79 percent).

Junior Achievement, the world's largest organization dedicated to educating young people about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, provides in-school and after-school programs for students. More information about Job Shadow is available at For more on the organization or foundation, visit or

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Haitian Hospital Safe And Saving Lives

(NAPSI)-A glimmer of hope can be seen at one hospital in Haiti--and many Americans are trying to make it grow brighter.

Haiti has been struck by the worst earthquake in over 200 years and hundreds of buildings have been destroyed, but one-Hôpital Sacré Coeur (HSC) in the town of Milot, the largest private hospital in the north of Haiti--is up and running, saving lives and limbs. This premier Haitian health care facility has been a beacon of hope for the people of Haiti for 23 years, creating a healthier Haiti, one dignified life at a time.

Given the enormous damage to health care infrastructure and hospitals throughout the country, Hôpital Sacré Coeur is a major triage site for earthquake victims, who will be transported to the hospital by the Red Cross and the U.S. Navy. Volunteer medical personnel are on-site treating patients and contractors are building temporary shelters. Volunteer teams are arriving by private plane.

As the number of earthquake victims continues to mount, there is a need for cots or beds and tents or portable buildings to house the additional patients. Every dollar counts.

That's where you can come in. You can act now to help HSC with disaster relief efforts by contributing to the Center for the Rural Development of Milot (CRUDEM). To help, you can donate via credit card at

According to one volunteer, "All of the staff are doing an amazing job in every possible way. In spite of the tragedy, there is a strong sense of hope in the air."

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Sending Emergency Relief To Haiti

(NAPSI)-In the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake, Americans are rising to the challenge of providing assistance.

After the earthquake, CARE launched a global appeal for $10 million to help the survivors. Aid groups estimate that 3 million people--nearly a third of Haiti's population--need help.

The organization is now delivering emergency relief to the area. It has shipped water purification sachets from nearby Panama to Port-au-Prince and deployed additional emergency relief staff to the capital, including personnel who were part of the response to devastating Hurricane Hanna in 2008.

CARE planned an initial 10-ton distribution of high-protein biscuits from warehouses in Haiti, enough for 60,000 emergency meals.

The organization is also working together with the World Food Programme, which airlifted 86 metric tons of additional biscuits--enough for half a million emergency meals--from its satellite logistics hub in El Salvador.

"This is Haiti's darkest day," said Joseph Francoeur, CARE's project manager in the Haitian city of Gonaives. "This was a hard blow for Haiti and our colleagues. In addition to the emergency, we also need to think about giving people psychosocial help and assist them to rebuild their homes and their lives."

According to Francoeur, the immediate needs include first-aid supplies, water purification solutions and emergency food.

The organization began working in Haiti in 1954 to provide relief assistance after Hurricane Hazel. Today's work includes projects in HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, maternal and child health, education, food security and water and sanitation.

While providing food and water is an immediate concern, providing shelter will also become a priority, as many of the country's inhabitants are afraid to sleep inside because they worry about earthquake aftershocks.

For more information or to donate, visit or call (800) 521-CARE.

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