August 1, 2022

Her online ‘givey’ sends smiles across the miles

2022 Women of Distinction Honoree – Exceptional Volunteer

Brenda Hager

Just B

Brenda Hager’s mission is simple, yet momentous: “sharing happiness globally.”

After attending the University of Northern Colorado and volunteering for many years at her children’s elementary school, Hager served 16 years as a special educational assistant in Weld County School District 6. After retiring, however, she created what she calls “an online private givey” on Facebook and called it “Just B.” Each of its 30 members was “invited into our private group personally,” she said, because “I strongly felt we all shared the same common interests and motivations — creativity, paper crafting, donating and the motivation of all to brighten up someone’s day or to bring a smile.

“These traits are selfless acts of kindness on each of their parts,” Hager said. “Our group has a whole lot of love and support, and all enjoy donating homemade cards, homemade crafted items (such as) wood signs, crochet blankets, hats, scarves, hearts, artwork, mosaics, etched glass, bingo items — and anything else is welcome as long as you are happy making it.”

Hager’s next step, she said, is to “search out and provide the places for all the wonderful gifts

of love to go.”

Their major aim was to send cards to active-duty members of the military as well as disabled veterans, Hager said. That’s something she’d been doing for years because she had a son in the military, and many other members of her family served as well. However, when she started Just B,” she said, “I can’t just send these all to the troops; I’ve got to find other places for these to go.”

That’s why her group has donated items to nonprofits such as Nestled in the NiCU and Westridge Lodge in Greeley, Grace Upon Grace in Windsor, Good Samaritan House in Fort Collins, Cards for Kids in St. Louis, Forty Seniors in Ohio and Cards for Cancer in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Besides providing these donation opportunities, I provide fun activities to help share crafting supplies among each other to keep costs down rather than go purchase new,” Hager said. “I ship them supplies — stamps, dyes, anything that’ll help you make a card. If anybody wants some, they’ll just say, ‘Hey, I want two of those or four of those,’ and I’ll send it off.

“My little online group started as just my friends, teaching them things like scrapbooking,” she said. Other members, including some from the United Kingdom, joined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not a requirement that they donate. Nothing is obligated. They donate if they want to. Whatever makes them happy,” Hager said. “But this is what I do — hopefully bring happiness and many smiles to others because it is the right thing to do. The bonus for me is receiving all the donations. Honestly, it’s like Christmas every day. Now, who wouldn’t like that?”

“I love the little private givey group and believe that everyone in the group feels it’s a blessing for them as well as those who receive,” she said. “That’s what makes me happy and smile.”