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  • erinschrode

The Power of Wishes

You’re eight years old. You’ve been battling a rare form of leukemia for six years. You have a wish: to give food, water and toys to the children of Puerto Rico.

I feel blessed to have been entrusted with making Zelaya’s wish come true alongside the Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and Make A Wish Puerto Rico and our incredible #ChefsForPuertoRico team!

Zelaya’s toy drive gathered thousands of items, which were shipped to my house and we then set up for the event in a community center of an underserved town an hour outside of San Juan, alongside hundreds of pounds of local produce for families to take home to cook healthy meals. And we got to doing what we do best: preparing fresh, hot, nutritious, delicious food en masse! Kids, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles flooded in and joy radiated throughout the space and everyone in it. What a moment in time.

While Zelaya could not be with us in person due to health complications, her spirit was present in the biggest of ways — and she watched it all unfold in real time via Skype on my phone! She saw how our chefs cook the massive paella pans, spoke directly with many grateful recipients young and old (with lots of waving, smiles, thumbs up and tears!), browsed the wide array of donated toys and dolls and games, looked on at the hundreds of kids and families in attendance playing and being merry, and even walked the hard-hit neighborhood we were serving to better understand the context in which she was making such a massive difference.

Wishes are wonderful. And I am deeply grateful to have played a small role in making one come true for a truly remarkable young woman, whose soul and generosity inspire beyond measure. My heart is full.


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