Great Causes for Giving, Part III

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Are you guilty of re-​​gifting?  With only a few days left until Christmas, have you run out of ideas and time to find that perfect gift or, frankly, any gift?  Let’s face it, you’re officially a wrapping paper wreck reaching for anything in your house that can pass for a present.  Before you re-​​wrap, perhaps these Santa-​​worthy causes will warm your heart and spread the true spirit of the season to those you love.   The following individuals and organizations give the ultimate gift, their time and their compassion by making a positive impact in our communities, supporting our wounded warriors, veterans and communities with hope and healing during times of crisis.   

Get Inspired

There are joggers, runners, weekend warriors, 5k-ers,10K-ers, 1/​2 marathoners, marathoners and then there are those elite few called ultra-​​runners.  We’ve had the pleasure of meeting several of them within the past couple of years as we’ve supported charitable events throughout Maine. Ever runner has a story — how they got started, what inspires them to run, what keeps them going.  And then there is Gary Allen.  Gary has the rare distinction of having recorded sub 3 hour marathons in 5 consecutive decades.  He’s run over 100,000 lifetime miles and isn’t stopping.    We met Gary while supporting his Mount Desert Island Marathon last fall and his Cranberry Island Ultra 50-​​K this past summer.  Gary is an incredibly compassionate guy with a crazy inner drive that pushes him beyond his limits.  He inspires others to do the same.

In January, Gary will run from the summit of Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island, Maine to our US Capital in Washington, D.C..  His 700 mile run will raise money to support the Wounded Warrior Project, the American Cancer Society and Sandy Hook Elementary School victims.  Gary plans to average around 50 miles per day.   He said his inspiration is to celebrate the freedom we all enjoy to run wherever we want to by honoring those soldiers who have fought and suffered for that very freedom. He lost his mother to cancer and knows that it, it some way, touches all of us.  He will also run through or near Newtown, CT and wants to honor those victims and their families by helping to fundraise for them.   Gary’s motivation is truly motivation itself.  He says there is nothing like the feeling of working hard to achieve a goal.  “Everyone has a mountain to climb,” whether it,s in front of us or inside of us.  It’s time to embrace our inner mountaineer — Go Gary!  To learn more about Gary’s run and to support his causes go to: maine2dcrun​.com 

Get Boots on the Ground

I saw Team Rubicon for the first time this past summer on Fox News.  Being a military family, anything that relates to the military catches my attention.  I always believe in the gift of service — making a contribution that is greater than ourselves.  My husband, Mark, served our country honorably for over 24 years and I am so proud of his service and the service of all of our military and veterans.  Many veterans still desire to serve in some capacity.  With honed deployment skills, combat ready ability and disaster preparedness, they are looking for a way to help with aid and relief.

Enter Team Rubicon — a non-​​profit organization of military veterans and medical professionals who are able to “rapidly deploy emergency response teams into crisis situations,” like the vital disaster relief needed in Haiti after the devastating earthquake a few years ago and most recently with Hurricane Sandy victims.  With over 2.2. million veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone and 92% expressing that “continued service as important to them,”  Team Rubicon helps veterans repurpose their skills and abilities to serve in disaster response.  Their mission is “Bridging the Gap” and they have done just that by pioneering a veteran-​​focused disaster response.  For those unable to volunteer directly there are many ways to support this great cause with donations. Team Rubicon will also offer an online marketing site with all proceeds supporting the organization’s work so watch for the site in early 2013.  In the mean time, you can donate directly on their website with a one-​​time donation or join TR Nation for monthly giving. To learn more about this great organization and to support their efforts go to:  teamrubiconusa​.org

Get Nourished

With all of the confusing questions about what’s good for you and what’s not, it’s nice to have a little clarity.  I’ve enjoyed and recommended Reliv performance nutrition for over 20 years.  Reliv International is a renowned U.S. food science and research company on the leading edge of nutritional advancement with a humanitarian mission to Nourish Our World.  Our non-​​profit Reliv Kalogris Foundation is feeding over 42,000 children worldwide in over 270 permanent feeding programs and honors the late, Dr. Theodore Kalogris.  Dr. Ted’s life motto was to “Be ashamed to die until you have scored a victory for mankind.”   For more information on our foundation visit: maine​.reliv​.com/​I​n​f​o​/​M​i​s​s​ion.

With award winning products like 24KTM - healthy energy/​focus shot, and the most revolutionary advancement in nutrition with  breakthrough Lunasin found in our exclusive line of LunaRich® products, they are a healthy, safe and effective way to ensure optimal health.  On January 12, 2013 an announcement will be made that will revolutionize wellness for all of us.  Mark and I also offer all active duty military free membership for great discounts and the opportunity to earn additional income.  Contact me to at chris@​relivingmaine.​com learn more about our “Thank You for Your Service” program.  For more product info, go to: lunasinproducts​.com.

‘Tis the Season

I believe that we are all charged with the responsibility to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  While the season may bustle around us, let’s be sure to take a moment to be grateful for life’s most treasured gifts, the joy of being together whether in person or in our hearts.  May the peace, joy and love of this season last a lifetime for you and for your loved ones.  Merry Christmas!

“Every good gift comes from above.”

Copyright © 2012 by Christine A.Toriello, all rights reserved.




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Chris Toriello

Chris is a military spouse and a successful entrepreneur working from home along the beautiful Maine coast. A former mechanical engineer, Chris has a passion for sports and fitness. As a worldwide trainer and nutritional expert, Chris has mentored and coached individuals, families, businesses, non-profit and sports organizations to perform at their peak with optimal nutrition. She also teaches marketing and branding of an elite performance nutrition product line to help others expand their brand and develop a viable passive income stream.

"We also hold the exclusive rights to the world's first epigenetic superfood, Lunasin. Nutritional epigenetics is about to experience explosive growth and we are actively seeking business partners to help us with this massive expansion (the initial business registration fee is waived for all active duty military)." To see what all the excitement is about, contact Chris at, 207.657.6978 or