Recently, out of the blue, I received an email from one of my son's childhood friends. He just wanted to let me know how much fun he'd had "hanging out at the Lashers" when he was growing up. He cited some activities I had long since forgotten, including regular house wrappings at the wheel of the getaway car. I was incredibly touched by the gesture, and spent the afternoon thinking about the best parts of my own childhood and the many people who, often in the simplest of ways, had enriched my own life.

From this, I got the idea of The Simple Things Contest - a way to reflect upon and honor the people who have touched our lives. I wanted this contest to benefit a cause and thought it fitting to partner with USA Cares (an organization that provides financial and advocacy assistance to soldiers, veterans and their families). The men and women of our armed forces and their families personify the spirit of giving for a greater good and I couldn't think of a better cause to benefit with our contest.

We ask that people donate a small amount of $5 to USA Cares in order to enter our contest. Once the donation is complete, people are able to share a memory of someone important to them. This can be about your own mother, someone else's, a friend, teacher, relative or neighbor. It can be about one moment or a day or a lifetime. The winners of the best stories will receive $500 grocery gift cards to one of our retail partners (including Whole Foods, Balducci's, Abe's Market, Central Market, Kings Super Markets, and more).

I hope that you'll consider entering our contest. It's an uplifting and cathartic experience and will truly help to benefit a great cause.

You can find more information on the contest and enter at:

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