Videos / March 11, 2014

Good wine. Good deeds. A Halloween “Help a Sister Out” story.

Help A Sister Out - Dorcas House

Many of you know that our Middle Sister wines support a charitable campaign we call “Help a Sister Out” (HASO for those who love acronyms!). A portion of the sales of Middle Sister wines are donated each year to charities women care about such as local food banks and providing gently used professional clothing to underserved women entering the work force.

Recently, we heard from a very special friend of Wine Sisterhood and Middle Sister wines, Stephanie Mayer, about a wonderful charity and a wonderful idea from her fifth grade daughter to brighten the lives of some deserving children in need at the Dorcas House, a Tijuana orphanage.

Stephanie, by the way, is an integral member of the creative team behind our gorgeous Wine Sisterhood Shop. Along with her design genius and exquisite taste, she is modeling the importance of giving back to her three children, including her youngest, daughter Fritze, a very compassionate and community-minded 10 year old.

We invite you to check out the video above and read our interview with Stephanie below. It’s a powerful and inspirational story about how charity, truly, does begin at home.

Interview: Stephanie and Fritze’s “Help A Sister Out” story


Why and how Dorcas House?

I found Dorcas House eight years ago through my children’s school in Los Angeles.   (My eldest two were ages eight and six and Fritze was just born.) I liked what Dorcas House was doing, helping children have a safe and loving home, and ensuring they got an education and had stability in their lives.

I particularly liked that they welcomed volunteers to interact with the children.  I wanted my children to have front-line experiences, so to speak – heartbeat to heartbeat.  I wanted them to be exposed, early in their lives, to people from all walks of life and in all sorts of circumstances, so to appreciate that which connects us.  I’m a big believer that you build compassion, understanding and lifelong community volunteers when you actually work hand-in-hand with those in need.  

In the early years, I traveled just with my two eldest children and their auntie, all of whom spoke not a word of Spanish.  What was so cool – language didn’t matter.  They communicated just fine with the common language of facial expressions, music and play.  We took the kids to the park and the movie theater and treated them to ice cream.

Who is Fritze?

Fritze is 10 years old, in fifth grade at Canyon Charter Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Fritze loves children. Fritze loves animals. Fritze loves her brothers. Fritze loves to help and nurture others.

Giving to others is a passion of hers.  Always has been.  She loves to volunteer and she is incredibly compassionate.  She helps with a pet adoption group, sitting in their pens on Saturdays outside the market.  She is always eager to help clean up trash at the beach, or help at a holiday food bank or local homeless shelter.  There was a pivotal event in third grade when she helped with a special Thanksgiving meal at a Santa Monica homeless shelter that was organized by a 16-year-old friend.  She saw this young lady take charge and take action.  It was powerful and I believe it gave her the confidence to believe that kids can help in BIG ways.   

Fritze Crossing the Border with her Parents

Fritze’s Halloween idea to help the children at Dorcas House

In the last three years I’ve included Fritze in our trip across the border. 

Fritze’s trip last year at Halloween cemented her attachment to the children and the cause. Some children she has known since they were toddlers.  She is now old enough to ask questions of why and how these children landed in such circumstances and knows that her efforts do make a difference in their lives.  It’s empowering and intoxicating.  Her desire to run the Halloween event this year is all hers.  She saw what we did last year as participants in the day and said “Mom, we could do the whole thing.”  I am happy to help support that dream.

When it came to planning for this year’s Halloween party Fritze was set on bringing NEW costumes to the kids as opposed to hand-me-downs like we did last year.  I think she thought that there would be great joy for the kids in getting something new, something in just their size, purchased just for them.  A little like Christmas. 

Why shoes?

When the director of the orphanage sent Fritze sizes for the costumes she included shoe sizes. Since costumes don’t typically include shoes, that sparked a conversation which led to an idea.  While costumes are fun for the party, wouldn’t it be great to give the kids something of longer lasting value? 

Tennis shoes are fun yet practical. With that in mind, she and I brainstormed about what organizations and/or retailers might be interested in helping support this endeavor.  Middle Sister’s Help A Sister Out campaign and Target were perfect “targets,” and boy, oh boy did they come through.   

I don’t think Fritze ever believed that with a simple and thoughtful ask she would be supported so generously.  It’s a much bigger gift than HASO realizes. They have helped a group of needy children in Tijuana and they have cemented the confidence in a young girl to continue to dream big, and pursue what you love with passion and commitment.  She believes she can change lives and she is only 10!

Much gratitude is extended to all Fritze’s family and friends who donated costumes for the party.  She is sure to take photos so that all her supporters can see the delight on these children’s faces. 

Halloween Party at Dorcas House

Tell us about the Halloween party.

Fritze is going across the border with her mom and dad and other volunteers from San Diego, where the charity’s volunteer efforts are headquartered. 

The volunteer efforts for Dorcas House are run by St. Paul’s Cathedral, a ministry of the Episcopal church.  It will no doubt be a fun group of people, all ages, who will cross the border on foot, wheeling the costumes, candies and shoes in roller bags.   Older brothers are away at school, otherwise they would be part of our merry band. 

Fritze has planned the party to include dressing up in their costumes and dancing to music, face painting and glitter tattoos, cookie decoration and a piñata.  We will have a special time to hand out the shoes to all the children.  She has bagged each pair of shoes with the child’s name on it. 

What I believe.  Why I support her efforts. 

To give generously of your time and talents is simply the right thing to do.  It’s makes for a healthier society and builds a common understanding of the human condition.  I feel it’s an obligation we have to our community, our country and as a global citizen.  It can only help make for a healthier society and planet.

Feeding my children’s passions it also a priority. I know Fritze loves to give.  She is incredibly generous, kind and charitable.  She has an intuitive sensitivity for those in need – people, animals and the environment.   She likes making a difference and she has no fear of taking a stand.  I love growing people of courage, passion and kindness.

Community service has always been a part of our lives.  My husband and I believe to our core it’s just what you do.  You give because you can and should make a difference.  You give because we learn about others and that only strengthens our humanity.

From the look on Fritze’s face when she learned HASO was going to underwrite the entire shoe purchase, to her Target shopping experience checking each size off her list to the incredible reaction by the Target checkout gal who happily extended the online discount (amazing customer service Target!) and her genuine interest in the brand behind HASO with a reaction like “Wow, that’s cool.  A women’s wine brand supporting causes women care about. Where do I find out more?  How do I belong to a group like that?”

Fritze is the lucky one.  A little sister supported by a big sisterhood.  It takes a village and you’ve shown her that sisters will always help sisters.

Thanks Wine Sisterhood and Middle Sister Help A Sister Out! 

Help A Sister Out


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