A General Mills mom on a mission
When Lilly Moeding, a mom of two young boys, read an article in The New York Times in December about babies dying of hunger in Venezuela, she just had to do something.
“As a mother, it really shook me to the core, and I became obsessed with trying to find a way to help,” explains Moeding, who works at our headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as an assistant manager of digital communications for Box Tops for Education.
With no ties to Venezuela, Moeding began searching for a charity to give to and quickly learned that many non-profit organizations don’t work with the country because it blocks most humanitarian aid.
She eventually discovered a tiny group in Orlando, Florida, called Sending Love Venezuela. Its founder, Roxy Eustache, is originally from Venezuela and has a network that is able to successfully distribute donations to those in need.
“I started asking Roxy a lot of questions and developed a relationship with her. At that time, she was shipping one to two boxes of donations a month to Venezuela. I bought a bunch of infant formula at Costco and sent it to her,” says Moeding. “But I felt like that wasn’t enough.”
So Moeding held a Facebook fundraiser for her birthday. Instead of gifts, she requested donations to help children in Venezuela. She was hoping to raise $500, but to her amazement, raised nearly ten times that.
“Sending Love Venezuela is where it is today because Lilly joined,” Eustache says.“She came in, and said, ‘I need to do something.’ It’s so impressive and so admirable when you see someone give it their all.”
Inspiring the General Mills community
Moeding began telling her co-workers about Sending Love Venezuela and inspired them to help too.
“I started sharing information on the General Mills moms Facebook page,” Moeding explains. “There was one post that I shared about the hospitals in Venezuela not having enough bottles. They were using urine specimen containers to mix the formula because that’s all that they had. So many women gave bottles. Every time I returned to my desk after a meeting there were more bottles waiting to be sent. It was heartwarming to see the generosity of our employees.”
Maria Lopez-May, Moeding’s former manager, is one of many colleagues in awe of Moeding’s contributions.
“She mobilized an entire community of moms, who by their nature, cannot see children suffer, and made this their cause,” says Lopez-May. “She’s made something that could be really removed very personal. I think she also invited people to share in the joy of making a difference.”
Moeding also inspired others at General Mills to donate more than 55 pallets of Nature Valley granola bars, Cheerios cereal and other food to Sending Love Venezuela.
Eustache says, “What General Mills has done has made such a difference. It impacts beyond what the pictures can even show and beyond what employees may ever know.”
Driven to do more
Moeding has become an essential part of Sending Love Venezuela. Among other things, she now manages the charity’s Facebook page and regularly schedules marketing content.
“For me, it’s really rewarding. After my kids go to bed, I could sit down and watch TV, or I could spend an hour working on Sending Love Venezuela. I feel like it’s a really easy thing to do to make an impact.”
If you’d like to help too, visit Sending Love Venezuela’s website for a list of the most needed supplies and where to send them. You also can make a cash donation.
“You read the news and there is just so much sadness and horrible things happening in the world, you feel helpless at times,” says Moeding. “This is something where it’s really easy to get involved and make a huge impact.”
Moeding received an award for her efforts in June, from our Brand Building Services group. And was able to meet Eustache for the first time at the ceremony, where the General Mills Foundation presented Eustache with a $2,500 gift.
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