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  • 🎁 Charitable Machines, Cheeseburger Cheer, Parental Heroics, Marshmallow Marvels, and More!

🎁 Charitable Machines, Cheeseburger Cheer, Parental Heroics, Marshmallow Marvels, and More!

Issue #55 - December 1, 2023

🎁 Gilbert's Light of the World Giving Machines Open: Support Eight Charities Until December 31

🍔 Season of Giving: Win a Year of Cheeseburgers with Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers

💸 East Valley Mothers Confront Sextortion Threats, Advocate for Open Communication

🌟 Marshmallow Magic: How Toasted Mallow Became the Heart of Gilbert's Sweet Scene

🎈 Discover Local Events Coming Soon

And more…

Gilbert's Light of the World Giving Machines Open: Support Eight Charities Until December 31

Until December 31, the public has the opportunity to contribute to various charities through the annual Light of the World Giving Machines at Water Tower Plaza, 45 W. Page Ave. These vending machines, initiated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of their Light The World campaign, will benefit six local nonprofits and two global organizations.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Wheeler shared that, in addition to the two stationary machines, four others are traveling along two routes throughout Arizona for two weeks each. One route spans from the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale to Prescott and Flagstaff, while the other starts in Tucson and ends in Silver Creek, covering Gila Valley along the way.

Visitors can make donations by purchasing items ranging from $5 to $250, including clothing, hygiene items, meals, school supplies, and even livestock, with proceeds benefiting the designated nonprofit.

Gilbert has been hosting these machines since 2018, and last holiday season, they generated $1.03 million for five charities. In the previous year, the Gilbert machines raised over $900,000, with nearly $700,000 supporting six local charities.

The Light The World campaign began in 2017 with one Giving Machine in Salt Lake City, Utah, raising over $550,000. The program expanded globally in the following year, including Gilbert. Since its inception, the machines have raised over $22 million worldwide, contributing over $3.5 million from Arizona alone.

The charities benefiting this year include ASA Now, Chandler Care Center, Manes & Miracles, Winged Hope, Care for Life, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Mentors International, and WaterAid.

For more details, visit arizonagivingmachines.org

Season of Giving: Win a Year of Cheeseburgers with Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers

Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, in collaboration with Cold Beers Cares, kicks off the season of giving by inviting patrons to contribute to the Home2First Foundation. Donations can be made at OurMayBerry.com/donate-to/236, and contributors stand a chance to win a year's supply of cheeseburgers at Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers throughout 2024. Other exciting prizes include a PS5 gaming console and a Yeti cooler.

Home2First Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 based in Arizona, is committed to gathering and providing new and used baseball equipment for underprivileged children in impoverished areas, distributing this equipment globally.

East Valley Mothers Confront Sextortion Threats, Advocate for Open Communication

In the East Valley, two mothers faced a critical moment when they had to support their sons through a distressing experience of sextortion, turning from victims to taking a proactive stance against the growing national and local issue. Sextortion, where online predators target children on social media, has become a prevalent concern.

Homeland Security Investigations reported over 7,000 cases involving 3,000 victims in the past year. However, experts believe these numbers only scratch the surface, with many victims opting not to report due to embarrassment or fear. The FBI's Internet Criminal Complaint Center logged 18,000 reports of sextortion-related crimes in 2021, costing Americans $13.6 million.

Two East Valley families, referred to as John Doe and Joe Smith, shared their experiences anonymously to protect their juvenile sons. Both instances involved predators threatening to distribute explicit photos unless payment was made. The mothers, upon discovering the situations, assured their sons that they were not alone and would face the challenges together.

John Doe's mother, upon noticing an unusual bank transaction, rushed home to find her son in distress. Joe Smith's mother learned of the situation when her son attempted to view her phone. Both mothers took immediate action, involving the police, suspending social media accounts, and confronting the predators.

The predators did not succeed in their attempts, and no photos were circulated. Both families urged parents to talk openly with their children about the dangers of online interactions, emphasizing the need for continuous communication and awareness.

Experts, including Stacey Sutherland from the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network, emphasized the risks associated with smartphones and social media, acting as gateways for individuals with malicious intent. Sutherland highlighted the potential harm, including suicide cases, resulting from sextortion threats. AI-generated nude photos add another layer of danger, as demonstrated by a case in Spain where realistic images were created using photos from social media profiles.

Peacock Wine & Book Bar

Schnepf Farms

Archer’s Bikes

Pixie Sticks Boutique

Romeo’s Euro Café

Sip & Shop

Marshmallow Magic: How Toasted Mallow Became the Heart of Gilbert's Sweet Scene

Hiding in Gilbert and Chandler, where culinary dreams take flight, there's a place that's become synonymous with sweetness and creativity – Toasted Mallow. What started as a vision in 2014 has now become a marshmallow empire, thanks to the passion and dedication of its founders, Tricia Arce and Hazel.

A Vision Unveiled

Back in 2014, Tricia Arce envisioned a world where a classic treat could transcend its humble beginnings and become a global sensation. Armed with this vision and fueled by a desire to bring people together through the love of sweets, Tricia and her wife Hazel invested all their savings in a small location in Gilbert, which would soon become the world's first Marshmallow Cafe.

Marshmallow Mania

To say that Toasted Mallow's marshmallows are a sensation would be an understatement. Over the years, these fluffy delights have captured the hearts (and taste buds) of people worldwide. Featured on renowned platforms like the Cooking Network, Food Channel, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and Sweet Pete's Candy, Toasted Mallow has not just become a local gem but a global phenomenon.

Expanding the Sweet Palette

Beyond their famous marshmallows, Toasted Mallow has evolved to offer an array of creative desserts. From freshly baked cupcakes to small cakes, hand-spun milkshakes, cake bites, and more – each treat is a testament to Tricia's dedication to quality and innovation. Every mallow-infused creation is still handcrafted and overseen by Tricia, ensuring that the tradition of passion and love continues in every bite.

Sweet Impact on the Community

Toasted Mallow isn't just a business; it's a community cornerstone. When you indulge in their sweet offerings, you're not just treating yourself – you're supporting a small business that directly contributes to the community. It's this blend of irresistible flavors and community connection that makes shopping at Toasted Mallow extra sweet.

What Others Have to Say

Customers and critics alike have showered Toasted Mallow with praise. One local resident notes, "Toasted Mallow isn't just a cafe; it's a flavor journey. Every visit feels like a celebration of sweetness and creativity."

Another fan mentions, "Their marshmallows are more than a treat; they're a phenomenon. It's amazing to see a local business garner such global attention."

Sweet Dreams, Sweeter Realities

As Toasted Mallow continues to redefine the dessert scene in the East Valley, Tricia Arce and Hazel invite you to savor the sweetness of dreams turned into delectable realities. It's not just about marshmallows; it's about creating moments of joy, one sweet bite at a time.

Spotlight Your Business!

Would you like us to spotlight your local business in front of thousands of Gilbert area residents in an upcoming issue of Gilbert Thrive?

We ❤️ Local Businesses!
We know our community is brimming with businesses that have fascinating stories and big hearts. If you're a local business owner making waves, crafting unique experiences, or simply putting a smile on our faces, we want to chat with you! Gilbert Thrive is eager to shine a light on the unsung heroes of our town. Let's collaborate and let the community know what makes your business special. Send us a message, and let's celebrate the spirit of Gilbert together!

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