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Marine Toys for Tots Celebrates 75 Years of Delivering Hope

(NewsUSA) - This holiday season, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program celebrates its 75th year of delivering hope and joy to children in need across the Nation. U.S. Marines and volunteers will conduct more than 830 local toy collection and distribution campaigns in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and U.S. Virgin Islands. In honor of the anniversary, Toys for Tots will highlight our extraordinary Reserve Marines, past and present, and show how the generosity from communities across the Nation has enabled Toys for Tots to support more than 281 million children in need.     

Every campaign season, Marines and volunteers engage with local businesses, media, and individuals in communities across the country to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute these gifts to less fortunate children.     

“The mission of Marine Toys for Tots is to bring the joy of Christmas to less fortunate children with the goal of delivering a message of hope that will inspire youngsters to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens,” says Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “Now, in Toys for Tots’ 75th year, we are asking our supporters to make this important milestone another record-breaking year. It is our goal to deliver the magic of the holidays to every family seeking holiday help from Marine Toys for Tots,” he adds.     

The Marine Toys for Tots Program began in 1947 at the helm of Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks and his wife, Diane, who asked Major Hendricks to deliver some handcrafted dolls to an agency that supported children in need. When he could not find such an agency, Diane encouraged her husband to “start one.” That year, Major Hendricks and the Marines in his local Reserve unit collected more than 5,000 toys to deliver to children in need in the Los Angeles area -- conducting the first Toys for Tots campaign.     

Seeing the impact that delivering toys to children in need had created around the community, the following year, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Clifton B. Cates, directed every Marine Corps Reserve unit to implement a Toys for Tots campaign-- which transformed Toys for Tots into a National Community Action Program.     

Last year, the Program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of 8.7 million less fortunate children in over 830 communities Nationwide. Now, in our 75th year, the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program also provides support year-round to families experiencing challenges and exceptional circumstances, thus providing assistance to millions of children in need across the country at Christmas time and beyond. Help Toys for Tots provide hope and joy this holiday season to millions of impoverished children who otherwise might go without.  After all, anyone can be Santa!     

This year’s holiday campaign season kicks off on November 1 and goes through December 25. Visit toysfortots.org for more information or to find a campaign near you. Learn how you can help the Marine Toys for Tots Program bring hope and joy to children in need across the Nation! 

Help Marine Toys for Tots Bring Joy to Native American Children

(NewsUSA) - Many Native American children living on remote Reservations in the United States are growing up in unimaginable poverty, and their struggles are magnified by current skyrocketing prices for gas and food. Unemployment on Reservations is high, and jobs for many parents are scarce. Multigenerational families often share small houses, many of which lack phones, running water and sometimes even electricity. When families are struggling to pay for the necessities, there is no budget for Christmas presents. That’s where Marine Toys for Tots stands ready to assist children living on remote Reservations -- and that’s where you can help, too.     

The generosity of the American public has allowed Marine Toys for Tots to deliver hope and gifts to Native American children on more than 77 Reservations. In 2021 alone, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, with your support, purchased $2.2 million in toys, books, and other gifts to bring smiles to the faces of children living on remote Reservations in 13 states across the country.     

“With your help, we can help bring joy and hope to even more Native American children this holiday season,” says Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.       

This season marks the 42nd year of the Toys for Tots Native American Program, and what better time to introduce one of Toys for Tots’ Youth Ambassadors, Jaylene Bluesky Tosee, a 14-year-old from the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. Jaylene is a proud member of the Comanche Nation with Kiowa lineage, and honors both tribal affiliations by participating in various tribal events.     

A graduate of the Kiowa Tribe Head Start Program, Jaylene actively volunteers in cultural and community activities, including reading to children in classrooms and helping with holiday events for Head Start children and families.     

Jaylene does all of this while maintaining a 3.0 GPA in her academic studies and contributing to the community as the Comanche Nation Jr. Princess, a member of the Future Farmers of America and manager for the Elgin High School and Jr. High football team.     

The Toys for Tots Native American Program has provided new toys, books and games to children living on Reservations for the last four decades. With the generous support of our faithful donors, and the dedication of our Youth Ambassador, Jaylene, Marine Toys for Tots wants to ensure that “Santa” visits children living on Reservations this Christmas -- and your support will help us meet the growing need again this year. A new toy, game, or book that you help provide can be a bright spot for children who are enduring devastating poverty.     

Please visit our donation page to support the Toys for Tots Native American Program: https://www.toysfortots.org/donate/native_american_program.aspx. Be sure to follow Marine Toys for Tots on our social media platforms to see the impact that your support has on Native American children across the Nation.  

American Winemaking Family Continues with Next Generation

"CK Mondavi and Family wines are a tradition that has been in our family for four generations," says 4th generation Riana Mondavi.

"Passion has kept our family business going and I can say for all of us in this next generation, we are extremely humbled to carry on a wine legacy that was started by our great grandparents so long ago. We are also wholeheartedly committed to continuing the Mondavi family tradition for generations to come."

Riana and other "G4" family members including Alycia Mondavi, Angelina Mondavi, Giovanna Mondavi, Lia Mondavi, and Lucio Mondavi, are continuing to steward the family's winemaking institution as official brand ambassadors, the major shareholders of their family business. Two G4 members now serve as representatives on their Board of Directors. Their fathers, Marc Mondavi and Peter Mondavi, Jr., remain co-proprietors of the company, but this next generation of cousins is now more involved in the direction of the business.

CK Mondavi and Family was started by their great grandparents, Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, Italians who turned a mid-western grape-shipping business into a wine legacy. Eventually, the G4's grandfather, Peter Mondavi, Sr., took over the family business and continued to work tirelessly to ensure the business would be around for generations to come. Today, they continue to honor their grandfather's legacy in everything they do.

All of the G4 grew up on and around their family's Napa Valley estate, learning the business from a very young age. They played tag in the vineyards, picked grapes at harvest, worked in the cellars, and came to love their family business. It's no wonder that they are now playing a larger role and are being groomed to steward the company in to the future.

Each member of the "G4" brings his own approach and expertise to the business. Their collective expertise encompasses a range of talent and skills that will benefit every part of the family business - winemaking, management, engineering, finance, marketing and sales. This next generation remains committed to continuing to produce consistently delicious everyday wines from grapes that are 100 percent sourced from California vineyards, and sustainable farming techniques and winemaking practices that are more typically found with expensive wines. They are the first and only wines that are 100 percent "Made in USA Certified."

The G4 members of the iconic Mondavi family are in place to move the company forward while ensuring best wines and best practices with each bottle that carries their name.

You can find them online at CKMondavi.com, or on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram @CKMondaviWines.

Digital Frame Brings Families Together

An interactive digital photo frame such as Skylight Frame helps families stay connected when other social media options are difficult.

For example, this solution has brought joy to a young boy who is being treated for a brain tumor and has to spend long periods of time away from home at the hospital. He now receives photos from his classmates back home through Skylight Frame.

"This little boy is one brave kid. He has been through so much and anything that can brighten his day is a winner in my book," says the boy's cousin, who rallied friends to purchase the frame. "Skylight Frame has been a way for friends all over to share some love," she says.

Each Skylight has its own unique email address where friends and family can send photos to - and they appear on the frame in seconds!

The key benefits of Skylight digital frame are ease of use and interactive features. Just plug in the frame and tap the screen to log in to WiFi and email photos to it! A visual notification appears when new photos arrive. In addition, users can tap a Heart button to thank senders or show they especially liked a particular photo.

Skylight's Plus plan also allows you to send videos to the frame, add captions to photos, and manage it all from its mobile app and cloud portal. This makes it easy for anyone to gift it to an older loved one, and then manage the frame remotely.

Use code NEWS for $10 off at www.skylightframe.com.

 

USAA Survey Shows Inflation Is Affecting Spending

(NewsUSA) - Inflation is top-of-mind for most Americans, as a majority say that they have reduced household spending in many areas except when it comes to retirement savings and life insurance.

A new USAA Life Insurance Company survey explored how American civilian and military-connected families are faring in today’s economy and the financial decisions they are making as a result.

For more information, visit USAA.com/lifesurvey

Marine Toys for Tots Provides Books to Title I Schools

(NewsUSA) - Marine Toys for Tots is the Nation’s flagship children’s Christmastime charity, but the Program extends to helping children and families year-round. As children prepare for the new school year, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program continues its successful Back to School Books campaign, which distributed over 500,000 books to Title I funded schools last year. The Department of Education, through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, provides financial assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging academic standards.     

One key objective of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to support child development at Christmastime and beyond. The Toys for Tots Literacy Program, launched in 2008, has made a positive impact in the lives of underprivileged children by giving them access to age-appropriate books throughout the year. The Program provides economically disadvantaged children with the books and educational resources that can help them build the confidence and self-esteem that will help them compete academically and succeed in life.     

“This program not only brings the joy of reading to these children, but also serves as an important tool in breaking the cycle of poverty,” says LtGen Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.     

This year, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program is providing over 600,000 books to Title I funded schools across the Nation.     Cedar Forest Elementary School, a Title I school in Fredericksburg, VA, recently hosted a back-to-school “Back to Pack” fundraiser, and families of more than 815 children enrolled at the school came to show their support. The Toys for Tots Literacy Program provided books to this Title I funded school’s event, and the students selected books that piqued their interest.     

“The biggest indicator for a child being successful in their educational career is the fact that they’ve had books read to them consistently by the age of five. Getting these books into their hands and setting them up for success is a life-changing thing,” says Cedar Forest 5th grade teacher Joselyn Beyer. Literacy is essential to developing a strong sense of well-being and citizenship -- the Program is more than just providing books!     Support the Back to School Books campaign by visiting the Toys for Tots Literacy Program Donation Page: https://www.toysfortots.org/literacy/Default.aspx for more details or to donate.     

Be sure to follow Toys for Tots on Facebook and Instagram to see how the Literacy Program is bringing the joy of reading to children in need across the Nation! Hope is just a book away.

 

 

5 Strategies for LGBTQ+ Couples to Meet Their Financial Goals

(NewsUSA) - Making sense of your personal finances can feel overwhelming for anyone, but for LGBTQ+ couples, financial planning can be particularly complex. A patchwork of state and federal policies can make it difficult for couples to understand all the benefits and challenges the law presents for them. Many LGBTQ+ couples also invest considerable time and resources toward  ensuring that their assets are secure, and their families are protected, should the political landscape change.     

Here are five strategies that LGBTQ+ couples can use to help manage their money and reach their financial goals:     

1. Reimagine your retirement plan. LGBTQ+ couples can work together to fund their retirement in ways you might not have considered. For example, for married couples, a spouse with eligible compensation could make an IRA contribution on behalf of their nonworking spouse. Couples should also make sure their spouse, partner or loved one is named as the beneficiary on their retirement plan.     

2. Make your partnership official. The legalization of same-sex marriage means LGBTQ+ couples might gain financial benefits from getting married, such as federal protection for certain asset types. If you decide not to get married, you may want to consider creating a domestic partnership agreement that incorporates financial planning strategies to protect your assets and your loved one.     

3. Plan for your future family. If you’re interested in having children, you may need to save more and budget for adoption agency fees or fertility treatments, as well as increased health coverage for your growing family.       

4. Create an estate plan. This is particularly important if you own significant assets, such as multiple retirement accounts or real estate. You may want to establish an irrevocable trust for some or all these assets to ensure seamless wealth transfer to your loved ones. Your financial planner will walk you through estate planning to ensure your loved ones are protected. In addition to living wills, LGBTQ+ couples should have documents such as health care proxies and medical powers of attorney in place to support end-of-life decision-making.     

5. Meet with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional. CFP® professionals have the education and experience to help LGBTQ+ couples navigate their unique and complex financial situations. Working with a CFP® professional can help you focus on your financial goals and priorities, whether you want to create a holistic financial plan or just want some financial guidance on a specific topic.     

For more financial planning resources and to find a CFP® professional near you, visit LetsMakeAPlan.org. Use the LGBTQ+ Individuals/Couples filter to narrow your search to CFP® professionals who are allies or members of the LGBTQ+ community.     

By exploring your financial situation together and mapping out a path to follow, you and your loved one will feel more confident about your financial choices.

Costs of Aging in Place are Emotional and Financial

(NewsUSA) - Many older adults would prefer to remain in their own homes as they age, but a lack of affordable options makes this plan a challenge for individuals and their families, according to results of a new survey of more than 1,700 caregivers and other respondents in two rural California counties.     

Older individuals may find themselves burning through savings to stay at home, or forced to move to a nursing home or long-term-care facility if they can’t afford to hire home-care help, according to the survey. The survey was sponsored by Legacy Health Endowment, a California-based nonprofit healthcare grant-making foundation.   

Often, adult children become caregivers, and they face financial and emotional hardships of their own. Nearly 80% of the survey respondents says that their caregiving responsibilities have affected their ability to pay their household expenses. Adult children may sacrifice saving for their own retirements, funding their children’s college education, or making down payments on a home to financially support and care for aging parents.     

In these situations, “caregivers shoulder the burden of rearranging their schedules, juggling doctors’ visits and prescriptions, squeezing in regular shopping trips and performing essential housekeeping chores, all while caring for a spouse or aging parent,” explains Jeffrey Lewis, President and CEO of Legacy Health Endowment.   

The burden is even heavier for women, says Lewis. “Women who leave the labor force early because of care-giving responsibilities cost themselves an average of $324,044 in lost salary and Social Security and pension contributions over their lifetimes,” he adds.     

Other key survey results related to women caregivers include the following:     

  • Approximately 90% think services that allow seniors and those who are disabled to live where they prefer are important.     
  • Approximately 72% say that caregiving responsibilities have impacted their physical, mental, and emotional health.     
  • Approximately 60% report decreasing their work time because of caregiving responsibilities.

The survey also found overwhelming support from respondents for respite care for primary caregivers, who often face fatigue and burnout. More than 91% say they support programs that provide resources for their own mental health as well as resources to help with caregiving.  

The survey was sponsored by Legacy Health Endowment and conducted by J. Wallin Opinion Research, and conducted in English and Spanish between March 25 and April 19, 2022, in Stanislaus and Merced counties. The data were collected by professional interviewers by calling cell phones and landline phones, as well as online interviews via text, e-mail and social media.     

For full survey results,visit legacyhealthendowment.org.

Vacation Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank: 5 Tips for Summer Trips

(NewsUSA) - Summer marks the beginning of fun warm-weather activities, which for many people may include an eagerly anticipated summer vacation. U.S. travelers spent about $150 billion on summer travel in 2021, according to the Allianz Partners’ Vacation Confidence Index. Experts predict that spending will be higher in 2022.     

While summer trips can involve a hefty price tag, they don’t have to. Setting and sticking to a vacation budget will help you keep costs down. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional can work with you to plan ahead and save up for the vacation you want without sacrificing your financial health.     

Here are five tips to help you make the most of your summer vacation dollars:     

  1. Determine your total trip budget. Determine what you can afford and how much you are comfortable spending. Be sure to include often-overlooked costs such as parking fees, tips, internet service and souvenirs, as well as unexpected expenses. If you are traveling internationally, check the currency exchange rate and include any related fees in your budget.       
  2. Plan as far ahead as possible. There are typically more options and lower prices for lodging, flights, and rental cars when you book early. Planning ahead also gives you more time to save for your trip before departure day.    
  3. Get creative. You may be able to save money by booking flights for one or two family members at a time or buying one-way tickets instead of round-trip fares. In some places, private rentals may have lower nightly rates than hotels. Opting to travel by train, bus or an RV instead of flying might also cut costs.   
  4. Look for free or reduced-price activities at your destination. Festivals, farmers markets and concerts in the park are a few outdoor events that are often free to attend. Museums, historic sites and other popular attractions may offer coupons, discounts for advance ticket purchases or lower rates at certain times of day. And if you have children, be sure to check if discounted rates are available for certain age groups.         
  5. Pack your snacks. When possible, consider bringing food with you on a trip, or if your accommodations allow it, buying groceries when you arrive at your destination. Many grocery stores also sell pre-made sandwiches and other goodies that can save you money on lunches and snacks. If you’re staying at a resort, check to see if it offers an all-inclusive package. 

To find a CFP® professional near you to help you plan your next vacation, visit LetsMakeAPlan.org. With some thoughtful planning and careful budgeting, you can enjoy your time off without worrying about the financial consequences.

BookTrib's Bites: Loss, Lies, Betrayal, SciFi Thriller, Southern Saga

(NewsUSA)

All We Have to Believe In"All We Have to Believe In"
by Jeffrey Lousteau

A captivating story of love and loss, of betrayal and redemption, set against the backdrop of America in the 1920s. Edward Dooley is a disillusioned veteran of the Great War who comes home to San Francisco, struggles to fit into a fast-changing society, and falls in love with the daughter of immigrants who is as headstrong as he is idealistic.

Beneath all the glamour of the dazzling decade, however, xenophobia is taking hold, prosperity is undone by greed, and Prohibition proves morally bankrupt. Told with compassion and rich in historical detail, the themes of this story continue to resonate today. Says one reviewer, "Will pull at your heartstrings and make you nostalgic about an era long forgotten." Purchase at https://amzn.to/3wocIPU.

A Good Lie"A Good Lie"
by Roberta Temes

Could you perpetuate a devastating lie and never reveal the truth to your daughter? Louie plans to.

Could you withhold a shocking secret from your new spouse? Suzie plans to.

Catastrophe occurs after a quiet Midwestern family receives flawed medical advice concerning psychotic postpartum depression. This psychological novel takes you from 1960s Iowa to 1980s New Jersey. You'll root for Laurie, the desperate, lonely teenager who is intrigued by a cult leader, and you'll probably root for Dot, the voice of reason and common sense, but will you root for the struggling dad, or the devious psychotherapist, or the strong woman who defies society's expectations?

Families are complicated; good people may do bad things, and bad people may do good things. Are family secrets always harmful? Purchase at https://amzn.to/3tyReOy.

Dusted by Stars"Dusted by Stars"
by G.A. Matiasz

This far-future science fiction adventure thriller is a rollicking space opera with a touch of fantasy. Set in the universe of the author's previous books, Stacy Jones is a small-time contractor and proud citizen of socialist Mars. But she barely makes ends meet as an independent starship pilot and freight hauler. When Stacy takes a commission to transport the mythical sangrael possessed by the legendary Medea Ae?tes, she unknowingly puts her life and livelihood at risk.

Stacy teams up with Kryz, a diminutive Rarj, to battle thieves and hijackers across a galaxy swarming with aliens and riddled with danger. Together they maneuver through bar brawls and mercenaries, armed seizures and dogfights, suicide attacks and death squads to protect her precious cargo. Purchase at https://amzn.to/3Nbnq2c.

Exiled South"Exiled South"
by Harriet Cannon

This book "rips the cover off traditional Southern sagas and takes you on a riveting international journey exploring the hidden trauma and deep wounds of three generations following the Civil War," says author Eleanor McCallie Cooper.

School counselor Lizbeth Gordon returns home to South Carolina after her husband's sudden death. But the quiet life doesn't last. An elderly aunt has troubling family stories: a blockade runner hunted as a traitor after the fall of Charleston, and ancestors who disappeared during Civil War Reconstruction.

We're taken across continents when Lizbeth takes a job at a school in Rio de Janeiro, where she meets a descendant of Confederate exiles, with the Gordon surname and nineteenth-century documents. Can the keys to generations-long secrets open a path to family reconciliation? Purchase at https://amzn.to/3DaZasp.

NOTE: BookBites is presented by BookTrib.com.

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