editor’s note: This post was originally published in July of 2014 but has been updated to include recent events.

The first few weeks of grief after losing a child are a mixture of rage, sadness, helplessness and fear: An unstable concoction that can react and explode at any given moment.  As someone who can now count himself among the unfortunate fraternity of those who lost a child I am sometimes asked by people to reach out to others who have recently suffered the same loss.  The almost universal inquiry that follows is if I can say something , anything, that will help them or guide them along their path.  Sadly, it is in those early days that words will have little or no effect.  I cannot describe the hysteria that is felt in the immediate aftermath other than to say it is a wheel of emotions in perpetual flux.  You … Read More

Our 2021 Toy Drive is officially underway! With over 50 drop-off locations (see below) we are poised to make this our biggest year yet.  If you can’t make it to any of the locations but still wish to contribute we have made it as easy as a tap on your screen or a click of the mouse.

Follow this link (2021 Toy Drive Wishlist Link ) to our 2021 Toy Drive Amazon wish list and pick a toy/teen gift you wish you purchase for the drive. The gift you purchase will be automatically sent to us!  It’s that easy.  Please help us help those who are less fortunate this holiday season.  We can make the holidays a little brighter, one Rees’ piece at a time…

2021 Drop Off Locations

All 12 Saf-T-Swim locations

All 7 Maloney Funeral Home locations

All 4 Branches of the Smithtown Library

The Handy Pantry Read More

The ReesSpecht Life foundation is looking for businesses located on Long Island that would be interested in being a dropoff location for our annual toy drive this year.  If you, or someone you know owns a business that might be interested please email us at [email protected] 

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Congratulations to all of you who didn’t nod in agreement and move on from the title. The irony of you choosing to read a piece with this title on a blog called “Cultivate Kindness” isn’t lost on me; it is, in fact, very much intended. 

You are the one I wanted to reach.  The person, much like me before I lost Rees, who is tired and worn out by a seemingly unraveling world but whose spark of hope is still alight.  The others?  They aren’t precisely lost causes (well, some are), but they aren’t in the right mindset to read this.  At least not yet.

Speaking of mindsets – It’s been exactly four years, seven months, and 17 days since I was last in the right mindset to share anything on this blog. It would be a colossal understatement to point out that a lot has changed in this world Read More

Covid-19 has limited our ability to have in-person fundraisers so this is the next best thing!
Please invite your friends to join our Facebook Fundraiser Group. We need as many people as possible to join the page to create an active online community and get word out! (This is the only place you can get the link to ticket sales and see what the prize is from each weekly Fundraiser)
We hope to raise the funds to FULLY support our school shows/Scholarships going forward.
Each week we will hold a virtual fundraiser in which we give away an item to one, randomly selected, attendee.
Since we cannot hold the fundraiser in person, it will be broadcast in the Facebook group and the drawing for the winner of the item will be streamed live.
A notice will be sent out when the drawings occur. Winners will be announced here in the
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We are doing a limited run of our Make America Kind Again sweatshirts just in time for the holiday season! After a crushing 2020, your support will help us raise the funds to continue our programs in 2021. Orders will arrive on or around 12/16/20.gn-embed-v1″>

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Families in our community need our help now, perhaps more than ever before…

Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our drop-off locations are unable to physically collect toys this year.  In a year where we expect the need for donations to increase exponentially this could be potentially devastating.  Fortunately we have a solution that we think could help offset the loss of physical locations:  Contactless donation through online retailers!

The easiest way to do it is to click on our Amazon wishlist (HERE) This will set up shipping and allow you to choose from the gifts our experience tells us are the most needed.

If you do choose Amazon, we are preferably asking any/all of Rees’ pieces to go to smile.amazon.com and choose the ReesSpecht Life Foundation as the non-profit you will support (doing this will ensure that a portion of proceeds will go directly to … Read More