Interview with Erin Timperley, Founder of Give To Others Foundation

11059362_1075736835786754_1353372393252131591_nIf you know me, you know that I’m a very emotional person. VERY. If you know my dad, you know that he constantly has the news on when we are home. I’m telling you now, those things don’t go together very well. Not lately. I love politics, and keeping up with current events. But lately the news has been really hard to listen to. It seems like there are senseless killings, abuse, and heartache everywhere we turn. For example, I recently heard about a pregnant pastors wife killed in a robbery. She left behind a husband and 1 year old son. Heartbreaking. Then of course there were the devastating terror attacks in France.  Incomprehensible pain for the French people, for the world. This goes on and on and on, every day. I don’t know if the bad stuff is all we hear about because the media is obsessed with negativity….or if our world is just going insane. Being an emotional person, I cry a lot for our world. I pray a lot for people. I get a lot of tears in my morning coffee.
But on this crazy planet we inhabit, a world that often proves to seem gloomy, there are wonderful rays of light. One of those rays of light is the Give To Others foundation. The founder of the foundation is a close friend to my family, Erin Timperley.

Give To Others is a nonprofit organization that
seeks to provide happiness to children battling serious illness. Currently, their largest donation recipient is Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

“Give to Others’ goal is to put a smile on hundreds of faces and give back hope to those who need it most. We want to inspire children, and their families, as they fight their way back through cancer and other serious illnesses that they are not alone.” -Erin Timperley, Founder

Give to others has repeatedly shown that the simple act of getting a toy can bring a great amount of happiness and hope to a family in the midst of medical battles.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Erin and the work that she does through GTO. So I recently reached out to her for an interview about her organization.  (Side note: I’ve been very sick or this would have been up earlier.) This is what she had to say:

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Why did you start Give To Others? I started Give To Others when I was 12 years old, because I was looking for a way to help kids who were less fortunate. I remember always seeing the “Toys for Tots” drives. Those toys always went to kids who were poor, which I thought was nice. But I wondered about the kids who were sick in the hospital, like my brother was, (He had Non Hodgkins lymphoma) when he was a kid. Then, one day I just randomly came up with the idea to donate toys to the hospital. I later found out that the hospital distributes 500 toys a week. A child gets a toy after ever major surgery, or procedure. Along with every holiday.

What are some ways you help families and children throughout the year?  GTO usually only operates during the Holidays. However, this past year we heard about a thirteen year old terminally ill girl named Patricia Moore who had a few things on her bucket list that she wanted to accomplish. So we helped her cross a few things off her bucket list, one of which was flying a plane. It was so awesome to see her totally take charge of that plane. When she got off the plane, she was nothing but smiles.

How many families do you help each year through your foundation? It’s hard to say how many families, but I would say at least 300 kids every year benefit from our donations.

Sometimes our world can be a bit selfish and greedy….What is one thing you wish people more frequently remembered during the holiday season? Everyone is so caught up in their own little world. People are always rushing around to buy the perfect gift. I really wish everyone would just stop and remember that we are all human. We all have a story to tell, everyone has their own battle they are fighting. If we all just stopped to listen, then we all might actually achieve something.

So with that being said, I also wish everyone would be a little bit nicer, and remember the people who are less fortunate than them.

What’s the best moment you have had so far, in relation to the Give To Others Foundation?  It’s really hard to pick one great moment… When I was 18 a young girl whom I had known for about 7 years was in the hospital, because she had Leukemia. I was able to actually go into her hospital room (something that we had never done before) and hand deliver a Nintendo DS to her. She couldn’t talk, but she had the biggest smile on her face and I knew she was saying ‘thank you’. It was a very touching moment. Sadly, she passed away a week later. I know that doesn’t sound like a “best” moment. But in that moment it reminded me of why I do what I do. I usually don’t get the privilege of seeing these kids smile, and that’s okay. Because I think back to Cassie, and how happy she was. Even if I don’t see it, I know I’m making kids smile.

How have you faced negativity or overcome obstacles in order to get this nonprofit to where it is now? Well, when you start a charity at 12 years old, people who don’t know you say that it can’t be done. I had numerous people tell me I was crazy, but I think after about five years people realized I meant business.

This will be our 14th year in business. Every year is a challenge. People don’t want to donate until right before the holidays, but that makes it difficult on us because the hospital needs time to sanitize every toy before they go out. If we aren’t able to donate until the week of Christmas, then the hospital doesn’t have enough time to sanitize them…. therefor the toys go out at a later date.

In what ways have you seen the best in people, (in collecting donations or otherwise) throughout the time you’ve ran GTO? I have seen a lot of people whom I never expected to, make a large donation to GTO. For example, old friends that I hadn’t seen in YEARS. I’ve had people donate money on the spot while shopping for toys at Target. That was pretty cool. I always love when I get the donations from people I barely know. That truly means a lot to me.

How do you hope to expand GTO in the future? I would like to continue helping kids who are terminally ill. If I can’t cure cancer, at least I can help make a child’s dream come true while they are still here with us.

How can people donate if they are interested in supporting you? If anyone would like to donate, they can visit our website http://www.givetoothers.org and head on over to our donation page. We are an official 501(c)3 located in Los Angeles CA.

Personally, I wish Erin all the success in the world. Keep pouring light into the world.

**A short video showing some of the amazing things GTO has done for kids battling serious illness. I had the honor of spending time with Patricia, an amazingly strong girl, through Erin and Give To Others. Sadly, Patricia passed away from cancer earlier this year. But I saw firsthand the difference Erin makes in these kids’ lives. She pours her heart into the work she does for children and into this organization, and that is amazing.**

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