Women Making History Scrapbooking Make-A-Wish Trips

March is Women in History month. The Cienega Creek Chapter of NSDAR chose three ladies to recognize who started the Crops of Luv organization because of the history and impact they have made on the community and across the world.

Crops of Luv, a non-profit organization was started in 2007 by Jody McNelis along with her sister, Lisa Worden and mother Bonnie Worden. Jody knew a little girl, Deja, 4 years old, who went on a wish trip to Disneyland and needed her memories scrapbooked. Deja had brain stem glioma. Everything was provided for Deja by organizations who paid for bills, presents and a video camera but she had nothing to preserve her wish trip memories.

Jody and her family were scrapbookers as a hobby and decided that Deja needed a hand-crafted scrapbook of all her memories to look back on. They scrapbooked over 400 pictures for Deja’s books. Many coworkers and family friends help complete the wish book. Once the book was finished the book was delivered to Deja. Her grandfather carried her down the stairs and her face lit up as she saw the pictures and saw her favorite Disney princess. Deja laughed and giggled. In that moment Deja was not thinking about her treatments or how sick or scared she was for those 20 minutes.

Deja asked her grandmother to show her the scrapbook every night and tell her the story of her wish trip. They looked at the book every night until she passed away 6 weeks later.

After leaving Deja, Jody said she had to find a way to do this for other families. They realized there was no group to complete this task for wish families. That’s when the non-profit organization Crops of Luv was born. She began researching how to start her own non-profit. Jody contacted Make- A-Wish and they agreed to send Crops of Luv information to families so they can send their pictures and memorabilia to be scrapbooked by Crops of Luv. They also work with “Give Kids the World” resort in Florida. Their goal is to provide, at no cost, every wish child with a hand crafted one-of-a kind scrapbook to remember their trip. Families send their pictures and memorabilia to Crops of Luv. The books are completed in their scrapbook studio in their home living room and by volunteers at scrapbook retreats.

Crops of Luv fundraises to afford to purchase paper craft supplies, albums, make the scrapbooks and mail them to the families. The first year Crops of Luv was organized they completed 50 scrapbooks. In 16 years, they have completed over $4,000 albums. They have hand delivered scrapbooks in the state of Arizona and have mailed books across the country and internationally to Ireland, Israel, UK, Australia and New Zealand. In 2019 they completed 347 books prior to the pandemic. In 2023 they completed 265 books. As of February 2024, they have 200 books completed and many more lined up.

Jody, Lisa and Bonnie have received letters written by wish kids who grow up and used their wish book as motivation to graduate with his masters from MIT in Mathematics because their album was a reminder of what they have overcome. Others that have lost their child use their wish books as a way to grieve and remember better times in their young lost child’s life.

Crops of Luv’s mission is “Preserving memories and dreams because a life documented is a life remembered.” They attribute their success to God because He brings the volunteers who will help scrapbook the books, make embellishments and provide the financial assistance they need to complete the books and mail them.

The Cienega Creek Chapter will be presenting the Women in History awards to Jody, Lisa and Bonnie on March 16th; if you would like to attend this event, please reach out to cienegacreekregent@gmail.com.

If you would like to volunteer with Crops of Luv, donate items, money or know a family who is eligible for a wish book please visit their website (cropsofluv.org/contact-us) or email CropsofLuv@cox.net.

The DAR is a non-profit, non-political, worldwide service organization devoted to Historic Preservation, Education & Patriotism, and family history. Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided the American Revolution is eligible to join. DAR and the Cienega Creek Chapter will help you with your genealogy research if needed and they have a database of research to assist in the application process. If you are interested in joining, contact Registrar, JoAnne MacInnis at cienegacreekregistrar@gmail.com.

Sierra Hansen serves as the State American History Committee Chairman, State Pages Committee Co-Chair, Organizing Chapter Regent of Cienega Creek Chapter, and Arizona Daughters of the American Revolution.

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