A Heartwarming Gesture: Brooke Madere’s Thanksgiving Donation Bags

Published 12:29 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

In the spirit of gratitude and giving back, Brooke Madere, a compassionate 19-year-old graduate of East St. John, has embarked on a meaningful mission to create donation bags for residents of nursing and veterans homes, including Twin Oaks Nursing and Convalescent Home, Place Du Bourg and Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home.

The initiative, born out of a personal connection and a desire to make a difference, showcases the power of one individual’s determination to spread joy during the holiday season.

Brooke Madere’s journey into charitable efforts began around 2018 when she started visiting her great-grandfather at a nursing home. These visits evolved into cherished moments of connection, featuring activities ranging from workouts to tea parties, bingos, and sharing ice cream.

However, life took her to Missouri for a while, and it wasn’t until after returning and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic that Brooke resumed her heartfelt endeavors.

The inspiration to create Thanksgiving donation bags struck during a conversation with a friend. Despite the initial plan encompassing Christmas and Easter, financial constraints led Brooke’s friend to step back.

Undeterred, Brooke made a decision: she would go ahead with the project independently.

“I don’t know what made me just go, ‘I’m gonna do it.’ But something was just like, ‘I’ve got this,’” Madere said.

Brooke kickstarted the project by curating an Amazon wishlist and leveraging the power of social media to spread the word.

However, the endeavor has not been without its challenges, particularly in terms of funding. Despite facing stress and obstacles, Brooke remained committed to her cause, emphasizing the importance of giving back to those who may be overlooked during the holiday season.

“I think I started this in August or maybe September. It doesn’t seem like it was a lot to do, but this is over, probably over $1,600 worth of stuff,” Madere said.

Apart from the financial hurdles, Brooke faced skepticism from her own family. Madere persevered, proving her ability to single-handedly execute such a significant project.

“Family doesn’t really help out because they don’t believe that I could do something like this all by myself,” Madere said.

As the sole driving force behind the project, Brooke has taken on the responsibility of organizing and packing the bags. While a few friends have offered to help, coordinating schedules has proven challenging.

Triumph Prophetic Ministry, where her boyfriend’s dad serves as the preacher, has played a crucial role in supporting Brooke’s initiative. The ministry allowed her to store and pack the donation items, acknowledging the logistical challenges of handling a project of this magnitude.

“They let me store it here and they’re also letting me pack all the bags here,” Madere said. “So that was major for me, because I can’t fit all this in my place.”

Despite the hurdles, Brooke Madere’s Thanksgiving donation bags stand as a testament to the impact one person can have when driven by compassion and a desire to make a difference.