I have known two families who were served by Amanda the Panda following a death in their families. The support and thoughtful gift boxes at Christmas time made a huge difference in their lives and helped make what was sure to be a tough holiday much more meaningful. Amanda the Panda is such a unique organization because it serves people in need emotionally during a time of grief. What is so inspirational is that it really does help people - both children and adults - grieve well and to have an outlet for sharing their feelings and emotions with others who understand what they are going through.
I would like to Thank Amanda Panda for giving me the strength to get through the holidays knowing that what I was feeling was normal. I became aware of this organization from a co worker who had lost her mother and she told me about the gifts and how much she has received support from Amanda Panda. From there I was unsure about it because I too lost my mother but my son was a infant and could not benefit from the services, also it was not local to my home. It wasnt until I went to the Iowa Donor Network Hope for the Holidays that I became more aware of the organization. First my son was 2 and has such a connection to my mother, who passed away suddenly, when he was 2 months old. His knowledge of her presence and also of HEAven is truely amazing. Most people do not beleive that kids see things and beleive things that us as adults feel we cant. HAving him in my life has made me believe everyday my mother is with me always and a guardian angel. When we arrived at the event Amanda the Panda came over and he fell head over heels with her and sleeps with the BEar that she gave him at the event every night, He says she knows grandma and that is why he has that, becasuse we are special to have loved ones in heaven.. He now has a love for stuffed animals and sleeps with dozens of them becasue of that. He knows that his own grandma gave him one when he was a baby so the understanding of it fit in perfect to Amanda Pandas donation. HE just loved sitting at a table with her and other volunteers playing.. As for me sitting in the event, felt a new found sense of help. Not only what I was going through as a daughter losing a mother, but also to know that there are places for if the unthinkable ever happened to me, and that is that myt son will find comfort in others who have lost as well. I have been on a lonely path of no one understanding and other who have not been through the loss thinking I was crazy. It wasnt until my husband also heard from others they felt the same, abandonment, lonliness, frustrations but also to know they are with us! Charlie gave such a empowering speech that I replay it everyday in my head of, ITS OK, but I also count my blessings everyday and am so Thankful that children who lost loved ones can go somewhere to find that sense of life and togetherness. I wish my son who is only 2 could have that as well. I fear the day he forgets about the bond or quits talking about my mother. We speak of her everyday and to see the video of the kids without their parents was a true eye opener to live each day like it is your last, and to treasure every moment you can!! Thank you!
Review from Guidestar