LoLo’s Cocoa was started by me, Lorraine Angelakos, when I was 11 years old. The Cocoa stand came about when I met Bailee Madison, the spokesperson for Alex’s Lemonade stand at a promotional event of the organization in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
I was so impressed with the organization and Bailee Madison; I too wanted to make a difference somehow. I thought about starting a Cocoa stand and with the same idea from the lemonade stand idea and taking the profits to do something good with them. I had so many thoughts of different organizations that were in need, the homeless, animals, cancer, children, etc. They all interested me and needed my efforts, but I was unsure which worthy cause to pursue.
When a very unfortunate event took place in my life. On Tuesday, September 3, 2013 my friend Gabi Greenberg took her life. She was a beautiful 14 year old girl full of life and with such a bright future. They do not know why such a horrific event took place or what drove Gabi to that result.
My friends and I were and still are devastated with what happen and its ultimate outcome.
After several weeks and some grief counseling, I realized this was the path I should pursue. I wanted all Gabi’s friends to remember her (not to forget) and those that never had the chance to meet Gabi, would hear all the wonderful things about her and celebrate her life.
This was the journey I was to be on…….
Let me tell you about Gabi and our brief friendship: My father and I joined the Indian Princess Program, specifically, the Tribe Iroquois in 2011. After my very good friend Lily recommended the program to me and told me I should join. At my very 1st campout, Gabi welcomed us with open arms and pulled me quickly away to meet everyone. Afterword’s, Gabi took Lily & I around (being the elder of us) and showed us the ropes. We played a couple of harmless pranks, but we had the best campout together. Gabi instantly made a huge impact on me. She was warm hearted and wore her heart on her sleeve (as they say). After that first campout, I told my Dad “YES”, I wanted to get more active in the program. I had an amazing time and felt a part of the Indian Princess family instantly from Gabi’s warmth.
So, to say the least, this tragic event has made an impact on me. I want to try and make a difference, even if it’s with one person!!! As Gabi made an impact on me- I will pay it forward and make an impact on one or thousands (my dream)! Since the inception of my Cocoa stand, my Iroquois Indian Princess Tribe has implemented the "Remembering Gabi Family Fun day". This is a fundraiser event, where all tribe families from all over come together for fun and friendship, along with remembering Gabi. Which I am an active volunteer each year. All proceeds are donated to FISP-Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention. To date the Iroquois tribe has donated over $40,000 to FISP. Those donations are in memory of Gabi Greenberg.
So, with my Cocoa stand I decided that I would make a difference with children and seniors directly. Gabi was so full of life and she always wanted to make everyone “Happy’, I needed to do the same in memory of her. So, I initially contacted Miami Children’s Hospital (Nicklaus Hospital) and asked to host an event for the children to bring a little happiness to them. My 1st event was on December 1, 2017. At my event we served hot chocolate with all the fix ins and delicious sweets (cookies, cakes, brownies) that were graciously donated by Nikol Maroulis of Culinary Republic. I also distributed the book “Polar Express” (Anniversary Edition) to all the children. The book was also graciously donated by the publisher of Polar Express-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Lastly, for the event, I made special silver jingle bells that were given to all the children along with a card that read
“Believe in Miracles”.
Since my 1st event, another tragedy has struck my Indian Princess family. My friend's brother, Alex Schachter was a victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) shooting, that occurred on February 14, 2018. A day that is supposed to represent LOVE, turned to a horrific tragedy. Ironically Alex and Gabi were Freshman's at MSD at the time of their passing. My passion has strengthened to make this world a happier place, less violent and more importantly, to possibly help educate people about the effects of mental illness along the way. So, my plan is to spread my outreach to host future events at senior homes and more children hospitals, to help ignite a little happiness along the way and help carry the light in remembering Gabi and Alex.
HOT CHOCOLATE = HAPPINESS
So, as you know a little about how Lolo’s Cocoa has come about- I have set up donation link should you want to donate to Lolo’s Cocoa. This is a non-profit and all proceeds will be shared among FISP (in memory of Gabi Greenberg) and the Alex Schachter Scholarship Fund and also help assist with future Lolo's Cocoa events.
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