A couple of years after Howie passed away, my girls came up with the idea of starting a charity in his name.
Starting a charity?
That seemed like soooooo much work and I really did not know if I had the time or strength for it. So I put them off, and put them off, and put them off. Finally they bothered me enough so I decided to look into it.
I knew NOTHING about starting a charity.
Plus I am not the Type A, super organized, go get ’em kind of girl that most people I know are. I’m kinda laid back and a little all over the place sometimes. Funny – I used to try to be that super organized girl but it’s just not me. I have learned to embrace who I truly am.
Fortunately for me, most of my friends are that Type A personality, so I called in my troops. They were more than happy to help me get started on this – they love a project! They all knew and loved Howie so it was something we all felt good about.
The beginning was not that easy – Amanda and Lily and I decided to hold a meeting at our house to get started. I invited way to many people and it was a bit of a disaster. So many different opinions and different personalities were not a good thing. Not much got accomplished and my girls were upset.
I decided to just keep my two most super organized friends for my “committee” and asked the others to help out with events once we got started. This worked much better.
We came up with the name “Hearts for Howie” and created the logo.
Since Howie died from a heart attack, we decided that the proceeds should go to the American Heart Association – seemed like a no brainer. But it wasn’t that easy – you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to give money to the American Heart Association! There is so much red tape that they make it almost impossible.
We had to come up with a new idea. One of my friends had done some work with a local hospital, St. Barnabas Medical Center, and had a contact there. We met with her and this time the process was so much easier. She would give us one project and we would raise money for that. She mentioned that the Cardiac Unit waiting room needed a total overhaul. We took a look at it and it certainly did.
That was our project – we would raise money to create a new Cardiac Unit waiting room at St. Barnabas.
Now we needed to raise money. Others might do fundraising with some type of sporting event, walk-a-thon etc., but not the Feintuch girls! We are the three most unathletic girls on the planet so that would not really work well for us. So we decided to do shopping events.
We did a few where vendors came and sold in my house. We all advertised on Facebook, Instagram etc. and they were quite successful.
We also did one “Hearts for Howie Day” where we solicited a bunch of stores in town to donate a portion of their proceeds of the day to the charity. The stores were amazing to do this for us and we had a huge response to that day.
Then – I know I just said we are unathletic – but another St Barnabas charity invited us to team up and do spin events with them and we agreed (and all three of us did it!). These had an amazing turnout and were super successful.
Before we knew it we had raised the money for the waiting room. It is now beautifully updated with a plaque dedicating it to Howie. We are so proud of this.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.