A couple weeks ago, I saw a lone, fleeting tweet from my friend Jennifer Perillo:
"He's gone. Any my heart is shattered in a million pieces."
Somehow, in so few characters and with no context, she had conveyed the devastation of a crushing loss. My breath left me as if I'd been punched in the gut, and tears welled in my eyes. Without knowing for fact, I feared the worst: That she had lost her husband, leaving her with two young girls. And that is precisely what happened.
The following week, hundreds of bloggers around the world made chocolate-peanut butter pies, Mikey's favorite dessert, to express their love and support for Jennie. I'm chagrinned to say I did not do this. I'm not a baker, and I worried that the abomination I would produce would be merely insult to injury. I bowed to the legions of expert bakers out there.
In the ensuing days, Jennie suffered more than emotional loss. She's learned that her health insurance payments will balloon to unsustainable levels in 2012, and that she is ineligible for Social Security widow's benefits because she makes more than $14,160 a year on her own. Imagine living on $14,160 in Brooklyn, NY, with two young girls.
Fortunately, the food blogger community is good for more than just a pie-based representation of support. There's a long history of bloggy fundraisers for tragic events like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as Pim's long-running Menu for Hope program. But it's time for us to take care of our own.
A few bloggers -- Maggie Keet of Three Many Cooks, Erika Pineda-Ghanny of The Ivory Hut, and Aimée Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites -- have launched Bloggers Without Borders, a non-profit organization to facilitate blog-based charity. The inaugural project is A Fund for Jennie, to raise funds for Jennie and her girls during this difficult time.
Auctions are being organized, and you can follow the Twitter hashtag #afundforjennie to track updates and events. But the easiest way you can help, right now, is to click the Donate badge to the right and give. Every little bit counts.
My situation is different, of course. I absolutely could re-enter the full-time workforce, but even with an improving economy it might take me months to find a job, and even then I might not be able to find one that would allow me to support our mortgage alone. I would rebound, but it would surely be a long and difficult road to find stability. In Jennie's shoes, I would absolutely seek and accept support where I could find it. I hope you'll consider contributing.