Tag Archives: save the children

Central Florida Asks: What is #RedNoseDay?

Here in the United States, Red Nose Day is celebration of silly that started just last year. What many (on this side of the pond at least) don’t know is, Red Nose Day was born over in the UK in 1988 as a way to make people aware of poverty and initiate change by using humor, celebrities, and squishy red noses!

I first learned about Red Nose Day in 2009 by listening to The Chris Moyles Show on, then, XM29. [Long live U-Pop & WorldSpace!] Chris Moyles, a crazy DJ on BBC’s Radio 1, had always been a huge supporter of Comic Relief. He stayed on the air for 52 hours straight in 2011, set a new world record and raised over £2Million for Comic Relief Inc., Red Nose Day’s parent organization. (And a completely separate organization from Billy, Whoopi, and Robin’s Comic Relief.)

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Ever watch the movies Love, Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary or Four Weddings and a Funeral? The writer (and sometimes director) of these great films and many more, Richard Curtis, partnered with British comedian Lenny Henry to create Comic Relief and Red Nose Day. If you know anything about his films, you’ll know straightaway that the concept of love is often a central theme. As a fan of his and all involved, I began supporting of one of Mr. Curtis’s other big philanthropic efforts, Make Poverty History (known as the ONE Campaign and Project (RED) in the US), in 2005. Red Nose Day, I believe, is an extension of Mr. Curtis’s huge heart because, as scary as the world can seem sometimes… Love really IS all around. Especially for children in need.

Red Nose Day 2016

According to its websiteRed Nose Day has raised over $1 billion globally in the last 25 years, and in the UK has become a cultural phenomenon where people across the country come together to have fun, raise money and change lives. Red Nose Day launched in the U.S. in 2015, dedicated to raising money to help children who are most in need, both in the U.S. and in some of the poorest communities in the world. The money raised by Red Nose Day in 2015 benefited children and young people in all 50 states and in 15 countries internationally. Here’s an example of how the UK does Red Nose Day…

How does the US do Red Nose Day? We do it just as big with as many laughs, celebrities, red noses and heart! Take a look at how last year went…

Here’s an alarming fact: One out of five children here in the United States lives in poverty. That is UNACCEPTABLE to me, and it should be to every resident. United Against Poverty Orlando reports, in Orlando 27.5% of children live in poverty.** Within the City Beautiful, there are neighborhoods with an alarming rate of at-risk kids, such as the Parramore Heritage community a 1.4 square-mile neighborhood that is nearby the CFOC campus. It is home to over 2,000 children, 73% of whom live in poverty.***

Red Nose Day Charities

Red Nose Day helps Covenant House and the charities above give back to their respective communities.

What can we do?  Donate your time, talents or resources to a local shelter or food pantry. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, a member of Feeding America, has a great page with ways to help. Be a mentor to a child. Be a friend to a family in need. Start a Red Nose Day FUN-raiser. Have fun with it! Red Nose Yourself! Buy a nose, take a #RedNoseDay selfie and share it with the world!

Or, just watch NBC (WESH in Central Florida) tonight at 9pm. Enjoy the show and consider making a donation. I’ll be live tweeting tonight’s broadcast on my personal account, @jenvargas, so please join me! (I’ll also be sharing goofy pictures on my Instagram page.)

Shout out to all Central Floridians rocking a Red Nose today. Thank you for helping change lives here in the United States AND in countries around the world! Don’t have a Red Nose? Head over to your local Walgreens and buy a nose for $1! Walgreens also has some awesome Red Flair – you can even buy a Red Nose for your car!

Watch how the kids and parents of Champions Gymnastic Club in Jacksonville and their local Walgreens are supporting Red Nose Day!



Happy Red Nose Day, Central Florida!! 


Stats from United Against Poverty Orlando:

IKEA’s Soft Toys For Education USA Raises $1.2M for UNICEF and Save The Children

Tack, Orlando!

(Swedish for "Thank you!")

Thank you, readers! You came through in a BIG way this past holiday season! Remember waaay back in November (2014) when we told you about IKEA’s Soft Toys For Education program? Well, IKEA Orlando has some great news! Through their local Give Twice campaign, 213 soft toys were given to the Children’s Home Society of Florida! From November 9th to January 3rd, Orlando customers contributed close to $28,000 through purchases of children’s books and soft toys.

On a national level, the United States contributed an outstanding $1.2 MILLION to UNICEF and Save The Children via the IKEA Foundation!!

Even more heartwarming is, globally, $11.9 Million was raised for children in Africa, Asia and Europe! This effort will allow UNICEF and Save the Children to continue improving education in 18 countries, even when disasters strike!

We are grateful for our partnership with IKEA, and thankful for all the support that IKEA employees and customers gave to this year’s successful holiday campaign. The funds raised will provide learning to children who are often overlooked in school, or who are entirely left out of the education system. Together, we can create a better and brighter future for them,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

All children should have the opportunity to go to school,” said Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “UNICEF works to provide access to a quality education to the most vulnerable children, including those that have been affected by emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Thanks to the IKEA Foundation, IKEA customers and invaluable support from IKEA co-workers, more children will have the opportunity to continue their education, helping to build a brighter future.

Väl Done, Orlando!

Get #WrappedInIKEA this holiday season!

By: @jenvargas

IKEA Orlando invited us to sample from their special holiday menu and take a sneak peek of their Holiday catalog! Make sure to check out their event calendar for more holiday fun and enter below to win a IKEA $100 gift card! Hurry! Deadline is November 30th. (Winner will be drawn on Monday, Dec 1st.)

  Can’t make it into an IKEA store? No problem! Join IKEA Orlando, Miami, Sunrise and Tampa for a Twitter Chat on Wednesday, December 3rd, from 12:30pm to 1:30pm EST!

Also happening: IKEA Foundation’s annual #SoftToys4Education drive has begun at all IKEA stores around the world. Did you see the cool Vine the Orlando location did for it?? SO. CUTE. Help these little guys and their friends find their way home to the Children’s Home Society of Florida by visiting IKEA Orlando and dropping a soft toy in the chimney near the exit!



At IKEA, we believe that children are the most important people in the world. It’s great to see the awareness of this campaign grow over the years, allowing us to help more children begin and stay in school,” said Kendra Ferguson, IKEA Orlando’s Local Marketing Specialist.

We now have customers asking us when it will begin. It’s a great time to teach their children about giving back; and with the option to give twice, parents can let their children select a toy for themselves and one that they think another child would enjoy receiving.

IKEA’s soft toys star in the store’s children’s books and new card games that train memory, as well as visual and social skills. IKEA Foundation will also make a donation when these items are purchased – making a great holiday present package, as the furniture you can find in Homecouture, as every donation gives the powerful gift of an education to children in need around the world.  

Since 2003, the holiday sales of the furniture retailer’s soft toys has raised nearly €67 million, supported 99 projects in 46 countries, and helped more than 11 million children receive a better education.  The IKEA Foundation, which works with a total of 31 nonprofit organizations, is the largest global corporate donor to UNICEF, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Save the Children, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and KickStart International.   IKEA Orlando wants your help to find their soft toys a home at the Children’s Home Society of Florida (@HelpFLKids), and they need OUR help! Here’s how you can ‘double dip’ to help children locally AND internationally:

IKEAOrlando_SoftToy_GiveTwice But wait! There’s more! Thanks to the kindness of our friends at IKEA Orlando, you can enter from now until – November 30th for a chance to win a $100 IKEA gift card! IKEA will choose a winner on Monday, December 1st, and contact the lucky winner via Twitter! a Rafflecopter giveaway



TIP: Join IKEA FAMILY, their FREE loyalty program for discounts, other perks and a sweet discount on their JULBORD Dinner upstairs!