And the winning Powerball number is…


A girl can dream, can’t she?
Photo credit:

The question has been asked a million times “What would you do if you won the lottery?” And if you are the big winner of the May 18th, 2013 Powerball lottery…call me, maybe? What I really want to know is – Would you help others, other than just helping yourself?

By “others” I mean, people in need. Not just paying off your family’s debt or buying your best friend that dream car they’ve been drooling over since they were ten. Actually helping the organizations that create opportunities for the underprivileged that really want to do good in the world. If you’re anything like me, you’ve traded in the nightly news broadcast for more healthier programs such as “Secret Millionaire”, “Shark Tank”, and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. These shows always get me daydreaming about what I would do if I had the wealth.

(This is where you’ll have to imagine me daydreaming about what I’d do if I won the lottery)

I’d travel the world, of course hitting all the spots I’ve always dreamed of going, and while I was there, I’d make it my mission to find groups that are giving their all just to help others. I imagine myself being in an episode of the Secret Millionaire, working with the group and doing my part to help. Then, after I leave, I would secretly assist them in making their dreams and efforts a success. Why secretly? “When you give and then expect a return on your investment, you are an investor. When you give and expect public recognition in return, you are a self-promoter. But when you give only for the love of giving, you are a generous person”. – Tim Sanders, author of Today we are Rich

(This is where I wake up)

If you’re not swimming in the Benjamins, there are always ways you can help do some good in the world that will make you feel like a million bucks. An idea would be to plug into something much bigger than you. Look into the company you already work for, chances are they have their hands in something you can stand behind. Find out how you can get involved and spread the word. Take company my company for example, Camden Property Trust; we are always getting our hands into something good.

Have you ever done something secretly to help someone? I want to hear about it, I promise I won’t tell.

Remember, Remember….

“Remember, Remember
The Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot

I know of no reason
The Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot!”

Happy Guy Fawkes day to all of our readers!

For those of you who are scratching your head asking, “Who is Guy Fawkes?”  I am sure you’re not alone.  Guy Fawkes day is an English tradition.  One which was popularized by the movie V: For Vendetta based on the graphic novel of the same name.  The story goes that Guy Fawkes wasn’t very happy back in the day (circa 1606) but this wasn’t the type of unhappiness that would be solved by watching Sleepless in Seattle and devouring a gallon of his favorite Blue Bell ice cream.  No, Guy Fawkes was having an extraordinarily bad day.  He was very unhappy with Parliament– the reason 400 years later doesn’t matter so much– he was so mad he decided he was going to blow them up.  To make a long story short, he was caught, Parliament was not blown up, and as 17th century England did so well they disposed of Guy Fawkes very publicly.

The now famous Guy Fawkes mask.

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From Living Excellence to Dining Excellence

Many of you started the day crossing off to-do items from the weekend, on a weekly call, or even by servicing a waiting customer.  Our Camden Cares South Florida team serviced those waiting for a hot meal today at Life Net 4 Families of Broward county.

Camden Cares South Florida didn’t hesitate to  join Life Net in their mission to be a seamless system of care in Broward County, to reduce the pain and suffering of individuals and families in poverty by providing necessary food, ancillary services and referrals once the opportunity presented itself.  From what started as distributing  peanut butter sandwiches, Life Net has grown and now provides more than 1.2 million hot meals per year.

 Prior to opening the dining hall doors Becky, a Life Net regular volunteer gave us tips and information to make the day go a little smoother as we prepared utensils. Jaclene, Laura, Dianna, and our little Camden helper Vicky served up warm apple pie, pulled pork, meatloaf, rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed veggies and more. After filling their trays with the Camden line servers, diners visited  myself for a warm pastry donated by Panera Bread, Publix,  and Whole Foods . Our Camden barista Scotty served hot cups of coffee with a smile.  Johnny maintained the tables and refilling any beverages. Together we offered Dining Excellence.

The team fed more than 250 people within 3 hours.

Our Camden Cares South Florida team was thrilled to give back to our South Florida community.


Jaclene, Dianna, and our little Camden helper were ready to serve!

Tiffany, Scotty and Johnny offer service with a smile!

Laura was happy to help and tag team with Becky, a regular Life Net volunteer.

We love South Florida!

Soup for the Soul


I like to think that Camden is in the business of getting things done.  We run into a problem and find a way to fix it.  In a lot of ways we can relate to retired professor, Allen Saxe, who saw a great need in Charlotte and decided to take things into his own hands.  Back in 2008, with an economy that took a turn for the worst, Saxe noticed a growing number of needy people out in front of a local Dilworth church.  He could have kept going and felt bad for them, but instead teamed up with Pastor Jolin McElroy to start the Dilworth Soup Kitchen

Relying solely on volunteers and donations, the Dilworth Soup Kitchen feeds around 200 people every Monday, supports two other local soup kitchens and when there is still food to share, it is donated to local group homes.  From the very beginning, the Dilworth Soup Kitchen has been committed to serving real people with real food, nothing canned and a lot of fruits and vegetables.  

Upon arriving to volunteer, it is clear that this is not your typical soup kitchen.  Food is served on real plates, nothing disposable and not cafeteria style.  Anyone and everyone are invited to come and enjoy a restaurant style meal, completely free.  Volunteers wait on tables and serve fresh, healthy, home cooked meals just like in any restaurant.  Much of the food is donated by Trader Joe’s, Healthy Home Market and other local restaurants.   

It’s no wonder that we had such a great time volunteering at the Dilworth Soup Kitchen for two weeks in a row.  When an organization does that much good for the community, you can’t fight that heartwarming feeling you get from helping others.

And since a picture is worth 1,000 words, this blog is about to get really long…

A Successful Year of Giving


Sometimes it is not what you get, it is what you give.  Especially throughout the holiday season when we seem preoccupied with what presents to get our loved ones, it is nice to sometimes take a step back and realize how lucky we are.  Even if we don’t have a lot, you have a computer to read this on and there is always someone out there with less.  I do not personally know what it is like to wake up Christmas morning and not be surrounded by family, friends and gifts, but I have been lucky enough to see what giving that experience to someone else feels like. 

One of my favorite things that I have ever done is help “adopt” a family for Christmas who otherwise would not have anything.  Together with a whole team of people, we purchased toys, clothes, necessities and even a traditional holiday dinner for a family with young children and delivered it all to their home.  To this day, even thinking about the smiles and hugs we received that morning makes me tear up. 

Giving back to others really puts things into perspective and makes you thankful for all you do have.  The feeling I get from helping people is like nothing else in this world and is part of the reason I am so glad to be a part of a team that feels the same way.  Camden is always looking for new ways to give back and help others.  This past year, JUST here in Charlotte, we have cleaned up local parks, collected supplies for local animal shelters,  donated presents for Toys For Tots, organized blood drives, and supported the fight to end breast cancer just to name a few. 

Our most recent adventure was perfect timing for the holidays.  We went to Crisis Assistance Ministry; a local non-profit organization aimed to help those in financial trouble and continue to help the same people move towards self-sufficiency.   They provide financial assitance as well as clothing, housewares and furniture through their free store.  Crisis Assistance Ministry relies completely on volunteers to help them operate through donations as well as people giving their time to help get the store set up.  Our fourteen Camden communities sent volunteers for two days to help sort through clothing and other household items and organize them so that the items can be put to use for those who need them. 


It is easy to stay involved in the community with a company that encourages us to find new ways to help.  Could you imagine how much would get done if every company here in Charlotte donated one day a month to volunteering?  We are always looking for new way to help and would love to hear your ideas!

If you are interested in learning more about Crisis Assistance Ministry or find out how you can help, please visit their website here.

Making A Difference

The King’s Kitchen has southern food that is good for the stomach, soul and community!


Every once in a while you hear truly inspiring stories of people or organizations who “Always Do The Right Thing” (which happens to be one of Camden’s main values that we strive for).  I recently learned of this restaurant here in Charlotte,NC and thought the story was so great, that I had to share it.  How does a restaurant do the right thing you ask?  Well, this is no ordinary bistro… and by eating there you can actually help people too!

Chef Jim Noble is well-known throughout Charlotte, Winston-Salem and High Point for his exquisite food.  Here in Charlotte, he already runs some of the top gourmet restaurants in town including Noble’s Grille and Rooster’s Wood Fired Kitchen.  His most recent venture is quite different and is here in Charlotte to make a difference in the community and help those in need.  The King’s Kitchen is located in the heart of uptown at 129 West Trade Street and just recently celebrated its first year anniversary on April 22nd.

What makes The King’s Kitchen different is that the restaurant is a non-profit organization.  That’s right; ALL the proceeds go to charities to help feed the hungry both locally and throughout the world.  Like most of Jim Noble’s restaurants, The King’s Kitchen uses mostly organic and locally grown produce to ensure that the freshest and best ingredients go into every dish.  For reasonable prices, customers can enjoy great southern style cuisine and help the community at the same time.   For those of you not located down here… y’all are really missing out on some great food!  The pan-fried chicken, cornbread and banana pudding are the menu specialties and are all out of this world!

The King’s Kitchen also helps the community in another way.  They employ and train what most other people would consider the unemployable and those who are in need of help.  Targeting mostly troubled youth and rehabilitation graduates, The King’s Kitchen employees enter a 40 week training program where they learn leadership and social skills to help put them on the right track.  The goal is to put them on a path to success and help them find a job and then bring in others who are in need of help.

If you are in the area, definitely stop by The King’s Kitchen for some great food that comes with a great feeling of knowing that you are helping someone.    

“I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”   – Edward Everett Hale