Friday, December 12, 2008

Your Turn

Over the holiday season, like most of you I encounter lots and lots of opportunities for giving. Sometimes there are so many that I just don't know who or what or where to give. I'm always asking people who they give to and what the organization does. There was one really great one I heard about recently. It isn't an organization that has a website or a place to contribute, but I thought it was a great idea. A group of women get together, pool their money and make gift baskets for single moms. The baskets are full of pampering things that the moms would probably never buy for themselves because they are too busy or do not have enough after scrimping and saving for presents for their children. I thought it was a great idea. One of the best I had heard of in awhile.

Today, because there is still time left to make a difference, I want you to list the places or organizations or ideas you have heard about. A link would also be great. I know this isn't the typical mindless Your Turn I normally provide, but I figure once a year we can turn our attention to something that actually makes a difference. Next week though, I promise to get back to the trivial. I actually have one in mind that is quite possibly the most trivial one ever. All it will require is a two word answer, but affects each of you everyday. Intrigued? Well, that is next week. This week tell me who your favorite charities are.

70 comments:

MontanaMarriott said...

Amfar
GMHC
Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Bebedog said...

I donate to animal shelters and causes. But I do that all year long. Just a soft spot for animals and they are mostly helpless without our help, at least the domestic animals. I do the United Way every pay check. But I also give to other organizations around the holidays.

captivagrl said...

local food banks are really in need this year. they can do alot with $10 or $20 because they have deals with food suppliers. instead of buying retail food to donate, give them a check.

Lisa said...

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

Jenny S said...

I like local organizations that provide full services - assistance with food, shelter, transitional housing and provide case management. I work for a social services agency and these places are essential. Yeah, it's nice to have a place that gives Christmas presents but I think it's more important to have a roof over your head.

Marina Ortiz said...

One of the very best resources for at-risk adolescent and teenage girls is Girls Educational and Mentoring Services' (GEMS): http://www.gems-girls.org

Abaddon said...

These are the orgs. my family and I donate to yearly:
http://www.nrdc.org/
http://www.gorillafund.org/
http://www.wolf.org/wolves/index.asp
http://thecheetahfoundation.org/
http://www.panda.org/

Sis said...

One of my absolute favorites is REINS (Riding Emphasizing Individual Needs and Strengths) in Bonsall, CA, its a theraputic progam for disabled kids and adults. My brother was physically handicapped so I am partial to this organization and what it provides plus I love horses and believe in the their spiritual strength. By the way, my brother could not walk but he could ride a horse and I wish we had this kind of program when he was alive (he has four older sisters and we did not really tie him to the saddle but close....wink wink...he loved it and we always kept him safe!), actually the stories I could tell...


www.reinsprogram.org

maggiemei said...

Do the Salvation Army kettles count? They are a really good organization, and the money goes to their food banks, homeless shelters, alcohol rehabilitation, and countless other service works.

I give to other organizations throughout the year, but at Christmas, I dedicate it to the SA.

laesmralda said...

I am a military spouse and living overseas all the spouses get together and make goody baskets for the young airmen who can't make it home for the holidays. So they get a basket of homemade treats and goodies so they can get a taste of home. Something small but it really does make a difference to them.

Sylvia said...

I donate to the Diabetes, AIDS, and just started to donate to Parkinson organizations.

Molly said...

i always give to these two organizations throughout the year:

www.kiva org

if you don't know about kiva, pls check it out. you're investing in the future of people in less fortunate parts of the world. they're entrepreneur's, could be farmers, selling pigs or goods, mechanics, hair stylists, etc. you make a loan of $25 and these entrepreneurs pay it back over a stated period of time. sometimes it takes them longer to pay it back, but that's okay. when they pay it back, i lend the money to someone else. i have $250 loaned out to mostly women, but also men, all over the globe.

www.smiletrain.com

i can't even type about this w/o crying, so please just check it out.

great idea for the post, enty, thank you - and i'm going to borrow your idea of pampering baskets for next year.

BlahFrickinBlah said...

About 7-8 yrs ago, a local domestic violence program saved my Christmas along with saving my life and the life of my kid. They moved us out of where we were living for free (moving company donated truck,time and workers), put down the security deposit for the new apt and then gave us food and presents for Christmas. They did this all in one week of me getting in touch with them. I didn't even know the place existed... I was referred by our family court system. The holidays are a dangerous time for these women and kids. I can imagine with the economy being so shitty that this situations of domestic violence are going to be even worse this year. There are programs like this in every community.

Another great charity is the Ronald McDonald houses. They house and take care of families that have kids in the hospital. We have one right around the corner from us and I never realized how much they did until my own son was in the hospital. They make it possible for families to be close to their children while they are inpatients. Depending on what their illnesses and where the kids need to be hospital wise (certain specialties), the families can be traveling hours to visit their child. They often have other children to boot so it is hard on all of them if it's an extended stay. It is awful for the children to be without their parents during these times but they can only help out so many people.

It would be nice for everyone to have a good Christmas but I tend to lean towards the kids. The adults, we can get over it but kids don't deserve to get screwed at this time of the year.

AnonMom said...

Project Angel
Ronald McDonald House
Children's Hospital of Orange County

racerspr1 said...

alleycat.org
aikenspca.org
Happy Tails Cat rescue
Salvation Army
A local family having a hard time this year.

Kristen S. said...

Innocence Project uses DNA to help convicts get new trials. They work with convicts who are more than likely incorrectlt convicted. The justice system in Mississippi in particular is really fucked, and the Innocence Project just started a chapter there.

I like to think of it as Barry Schek's attonement for OJ.

http://www.innocenceproject.org/

Beca said...

local animal shelters always need help, and they need it more than the big charities do.

Ellebee said...

www.kiva.org-

I totally agree with you Molly. Together we can make a difference around the world.

Red Cross

SPCA

local charities in our communities

amazonblue said...

Oxfam.org
Heifer.org

On the home front, I try to keep a small $5 or $10 gift card in my wallet for a local fast food restaurant when I encounter someone who approaches me for money.

LRS said...

Heifer International
Heifer.org

The Nature Conservatory
Nature.org

caralw said...

http://campofdreams.org/

jax said...

our Salvation Army located in greater vancouver was broken into
5 times in 6 days. they took everything over and over again.
please donate where ever you can.

www.freerice.com

Christine said...

Women's Bean Project -
www.womensbeanproject.com - They are a nonprofit organization that teaches job readiness and life skills for entry-level jobs through employment in a gourmet food production business. Women come with the goal of transforming their lives and moving toward self sufficiency.
AWESOME cause, even better food! They have an online store too.

Sara said...

Big Brothers Big Sisters... So many great stories of kids motivated by one-to-one attention from a mentor and friend!

AphraelDanae said...

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and local animal shelters.

And amazonblue re: gift cards - that's such a great idea! Mind if I steal it?

SmokeYourselfThin said...

Um...I don't want to sound like an asshole here, and I am not trying to belittle or downplay anyone who DOES donate during the holidays because these charities always need help, but I just don't understand why people don't realize that these charities are in need EVERY day, not just during the holidays.

I mean, it's nice that people donate at all, because they don't have to, and especially with money being so tight now for everyone, but I do hate how so many people only seem to care for others at Christmas time. The needy, homeless, sick and hungry are still all of those things every day, not just once a year, and I do wish more people would remember that and hopefully make a New Year's resolution to try and help out at other times of the year as well. And it doesn't have to just be money, you can donate your time, your unwanted stuff, or you can just help whenever you see someone in need. You don't have to make a big production out of it, or spend a lot of money, just showing that you care and that you are aware is important and is greatly appreciated.

I hope I don't sound like a dick here, because I DO like that holiday charity is focused on those that are needy here in the United States, because I get so goddamned furious when I hear about all this charity work for people in other countries, when right here in our own backyards, people are suffering just as bad as they are in any Third World hellhole. Not that I don't care about those suffering in other countries, but I firmly believe that charity begins at home, and that if we don't take care of our own, we won't be in a position to help those in other countries. So I would respectfully request that if you DO donate or do charity work, please give it to a US charity. Because the trendy thing lately is to hate the US and to be ashamed of being American, and that isn't doing anything but hurting everyone...as you can see from the whole economy situation. Like I said, charity begins at home, and if we don't even take care of our own suffering, what makes us think we should be traipsing around the world and giving to everyone else? Just a thought.

Either way, thanks to anyone and everyone who does something, no matter how small, because you have no idea how much it can mean to those who have nothing. Seriously. It's nice to see people with a conscience...I may be an ass that types too much, but you all are pretty awesome. Thanks for caring.

nichole said...

Komen for the Cure

ASPCA

Snautrag said...

Thanks to all of you who support animal shelters. As someone who runs an animal rescue group it means a lot. Please spay and neuter!

Kristen S. said...

Excuse me, Smoke Yourself - I donate throughout the year, voluntarily, with my hard-earned meager cash. Why judge when and how someone gives, and just be happy that all these causes have such wonderful supporters?

not on my dollar said...

http://www.networkofstrength.org/

Breast cancer network of strength formerly Y-Me Breast Cancer Organization.


While I don't have breast cancer I did have a scare years ago that changed my life forever.

This organization was very supportive and there were a lot of breast cancer survivors who volunteered their services to help other women who may or may not have breast cancer.

This organization rocks!

jax said...

well said Kristen S.

this is not the time or place to bite the hand that IS feeding this year.

J said...

Assaulted Women's Helpline (http://www.awhl.org/) and any locations that help women in need because quite frankly, we still have a loooong way to go when it comes to women's rights. And children are affected by this directly ...

CATC said...

Doctors Without Borders and Kiva

Dijea said...

I like to donate to battered women's shelters & the Salvation Army. If I ever win the lottery I am going to buy some apartments and give free rent for 6 months so that battered women and their kids can get a fresh start and get on their feet. Its a dream.

Alexa said...

www.reachwithyourheart.org - A program in Los Angeles County that provides quality of life programs for seniors in assisted living. Their pilot program is a Mobile Movie and Audiobook Lending Library brought on a weekly basis.

www.thegivingspirit.org - an organization that benefits the homeless in Los Angeles County and partners with a few women's shelters.

Both are wonderful programs that are very much needed not only in Los Angeles County but all over the country.

Make a difference in someone's life today - even if it's a smile!

Nature Girl said...

Covenant House provides shelter and support services for homeless kids.

Canada -
Toronto: www.covenanthouse.on.ca
Vancouver: www.covenanthousebc.org

US - www.covenanthouse.com

diatribes and dish said...

At this time of year, the new lawyers division of the local bar association (of which I'm a member) throws a party for all the women and kids living in a local battered women's shelter. We buy 2 gifts for each kid and a laundry basket with a robe, slippers and some necessities for each mom, and we have the party at a fun place like an aquarium or a train museum. We also get a volunteer Santa, some musicians and some goodies. The kids love it, and the moms are so appreciative. So that's where my $$ goes this time of year.

Casual Observer said...

Seattle:

Union Gospel Mission
www.ugm.org

Seattle Humane Society
www.seattlehumane.org

The World:

Mercy Corps
www.mercycorps.org

A said...

Youth Service Opportunities Project
www.ysop.org

An amazing organization!

selenakyle said...

Give blood year-round. Also, be an organ donor for when the big one arrives, 'Lizabeth.

At Christmas it's usually Angel Tree, and local food pantry, but this year I'm liking our local "Food for Thought" which feeds school-age kids on the weekends.

Ms Cool said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
selenakyle said...

Oh yeah! I forgot about Kiva--it's awesome!

You can really track their progress. Can't believe I forgot about it.

Amazing what even $25.00 can do for entrepreneurs around the world. And those people really know how to pay back a loan, lemme tell you.

Then you can just roll over and reinvest the money with someone else. Really cool.

Ms Cool said...

We do what we can for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin (http://www.chw.org). My little boy, who is now 5, had 4 heart surgeries after he was born. His first one was at 4 days, then 5 weeks, then an open-heart at 5 months and his last open-heart when he was 2 weeks shy of being 3. They saved his life and in turn saved our family. We can never be thankful enough to them. Never. BTW- my little boy is doing wonderful now.

It is hard to choose from so many charities and we don't have a lot of money. I also like to give to the Red Cross, the World Food Program, Doctors Without Borders, and Heifer International.

KellyLynn said...

I think the idea of gift baskets for single parents is a good one, but I remember feeling really offended when it appeared as if people took pity on me as a single mom. I was actually much better off financially (and maybe even emotionally) as a single parent than I am now. I guess I'm just saying that charity sounds nice, but make sure it's actually helping someone.

In any case, I really like the work that The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army do locally, and I also support the Children's Hospital in St. Louis. Many of these places need volunteers as much as they need money. If you do have a few extra hours to spend volunteering, it's definitely worth your effort.

Wzzy said...

My son is a type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic. So we always support the JDRF, a group which is actively seeking a cure for this disease.

Bad Momma said...

This time of year I have been trying to make sure I keep spare change in my pocket for The Salvation Army bell ringers.

Jic said...

donorschoose.org

Or, give blankets/quilts to homeless shelters and canned food to food bank.

Or be a secret santa and give some cash to someone who really looks like they need it and say it's from santa.

Ms. said...

www.second-chance.ws

I support this org. whenever I can. It's completely volunteer operated and they help domestic and wild animals.

amyspice said...

I donate my time and dollars to a local farm, First Fruits. This year they donated over 450,000 pounds of fresh food to local food banks and homeless shelters.

http://firstfruitsfarm.org/

I also lost both of my parents to cancer, so I always make donations to the hospice that cared for them, as well as the American Lung Association.

Side note: After losing my parents -10 months apart -to lung cancer, smoking to stay (or be) thin is stupid.

amster said...

I am a sucker for the most innocent. Anything related to children or abused animals.

LEB said...

Not really giving, but a good organization that needs more publicity: The Bone Marrow Registry. www.marrow.org

Someone I knew (who passed away last week) was the one who opened my eyes to how much marrow donors are needed (and how much the donation process has changed):
ericamurray.blogspot.com

Ernestine said...

The Utah-based Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is AMAZING -- they were really instrumental in reuniting Katrina pets with their parents.

:-)

bionic bunny! said...

smoking/thin, sorry, sweetie, but you do sound a teeny bit asinine. and i really mean that in the nicest way.
enty asked for our favorite causes and links. i think maybe you're assuming we only do things this time of year. anybody who knows me and has been around CDAN for a couple of years knows i post some links around Easter, because it's topical then, but i'm going to post them again now, because i deal with it all year long.
house rabbit rescue society:
http://www.rabbit.org/adoption/index.html
make mine chocolate!
http://www.makeminechocolate.org/

i have a local shelter (bunnyluv.org) nearby that i support (was just there yesterday) and i donate supplies or money when i can, once a car. they are good folk who fly under the radar. and i always be sure to take some treats to the staff at my vet's office-the only ones in the antelope valley that treat exotics (yes, buns are exotics).
and i spend every day being a bunny advocate, trying to educate people about house rabbits.
oh, and of course the salvation army at Christmas time. and today i bought the bell ringer a coffee, too.

and our good friend(and my hero) Adrian/lutefisk is inspiring me to give to breast cancer research.

schneefloeckli said...

I donate to a few organisations [The Swiss Paralympics Team etc.] but have added a new on to my list this year:

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
http://pancan.org

My dad had pancreatic cancer and died last year, so I know quite a bit about this horrible desease and how very untreatable it still is.

Caroline said...

The Cherry Street Mission in Toledo, OH. They feed and shelter homeless men and women.

http://www.cherrystreetmission.org/

AndrewBW said...

Christian Help in Park Slope (CHIPS): "Founded in 1972, CHIPS (a nonprofit charitable organization) has been dedicated to helping the poor, the needy, and the homeless as well as those in emergency situations. Also known as Park Slope Christian Help, CHIPS serves more than 70,000 meals annually and gives temporary shelter to more than 2,000 people each year. Located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, CHIPS is eternally grateful to the many individuals, churches, businesses, merchants, foundations and organizations, both local and nationwide who have helped make CHIPS what it is today."

http://www.chipsonline.org/

Plus Habitat for Humanity, local foodbanks, and the local no-kill shelter.

Lisa said...

St. Jude's Childens Hospital
Center for Missing and Exploited Children

I don't give to charities with high administration fees. Seems shady.

Wil said...

"The Freshwater Society .. pretty damn important in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Girl Effect .. they do everything from giving micro loans to women and girls to teaching them how to go out and do peer education in their villages on AIDS/HIV.

ParalyzedVeterans of America .. as a lot of Iraq War vets are coming back with some sort of spinal injury due to IEDs and other explosives. They also help non-military folks with spinal injuries.

Victory Junction .. for Adam who touched more lives than he will ever know and the Petty's who are the most lovely and gracious people I have ever had the pleasure to met.

I don't have very much money to donate at all any more .. but when I have spare .. these are the organizations I donate to.

Schneefloeckli .. my condolences on your loss to the horrible illness that is Pancreatic Cancer. I have had three people in my life in the 20 months pass from this hideous disease, my self. I will be sure to add your charity to my list, as well. I have learned enough to know that this diagnosis is officially a death sentence. Maybe with enough research money .. it won't always be that way.

Chris said...

Compassion International - We've sponsored a boy from Ethopia for 9 years now. The one thing that really hit me, was with the first birthday gift we sent him ($15) he bought a mattress. What was he sleeping on before? We chose him because he's my son's age (14 now) and life is so different for him.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - an absolutely horrid disease that needs a cure, stat!

sarahcis said...

I realise that this is a US site, but people face similar situations this year (and every year) in Australia.

I discovered this volunteer library with a difference today.

http://www.footpathlibrary.org/

And the St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army
are my 2 personal favorites - the work they do here (as around the world) is just amazing.

The Big Issue - helps the homeless earn their own money - great mag, great idea.
http://www.bigissue.org.au/

Since Im long time reader, infrequent commenter - where ever you are have a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

kelly said...

http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/cgi-bin/category.cgi?item=pageFairTrade1&type=store

You can purchase "Living Gifts" which range from 20.00 to feed a child for 1 month to 300.00 to send a child to school for 1 year. This year I purchased 4 water purification systems for 4 families in lieu of gifts for my mother in law and brothers.

You can also buy items that have been made by people in 3rd world countries that directly benefit them through their "Fair Trade" program. I think this is quite unique and interesting.

Julie said...

http://www.ryanscottkappesfoundation.org/


After my daughter had her stroke, they helped our family expidentially. Whenever we get into a way that we can afford to donate, I'm going to. We're dirt poor right now because my husband lost his job 2 weeks before Meghans stroke.

and ronald mcdonald house, we stayed there for months.

Soph said...

Some great charities here guys! Two of regular charities are Compassion In World Farming, which works towards legislating and educating to provide better conditions and right for farm/food animals, and the Dr Hadwen Trust, which works with the science community to find viable alternatives to animal testing. At Christmas, we also make a large food/present hampter for the local shelter for abused women and children. It makes their Christmas more bearable and if any of you can do this, it is really relly appreciated by them.

Ernestine said...

Oh my God. I just wanted to say that it makes me honestly happy that everyone has at least one or two causes they care so deeply about (and, yes, Bionic Bunny is absolutely correct in her assertion that many of us contribute to these charities all year long). It's nice to know that altruism spreads in so many varied and different directions. Some of us would rather hug trees, or kitties, or little kids or the elderly and it's all good. We're aware of compassion that needs to be spread around. It's nice to know that.

I honestly really like you all right now. Awwww.

I forgot to give a shout-out to the Waterkeeper Alliance -- love those folks and what they do.

Molly said...

Um...I don't want to sound like an asshole here, and I am not trying to belittle or downplay anyone who DOES donate during the holidays because these charities always need help, but I just don't understand why people don't realize that these charities are in need EVERY day, not just during the holidays.


um, I doubt anyone just gives during the holidays. In fact, that's probably the slowest time of year for donations since people are strapped. don't assume.

Molly said...

i'll add that i cook for the homeless from november until april when the local churches open up space for the homeless and others in need of a hot meal and/or a place to sleep. if anyone likes to cook, you might want to look into those opportunities in your area.

beth said...

I donate both time and money to the Urban Debate League (http://www.urbandebate.org/). The difference in school performance and college attendance statistics for kids who get involved with the program are incredible.

Mooshki said...

I give to veterans orgs, charities for the homeless (being homeless in Minnesota is no joke!) and the United Negro College Fund. Enty, once again you show what a great guy you are. :)

liveunderarock said...

These are some fantastic causes and CDANers who are helping !

I didn't realize, until I began writing this, that I seem to gravitate toward helping those often overlooked in favor of the young & cute, and the healthy & wealthy. I am happy to see CDANers do the same, while we read about the fabulous famous.

I worked in Veterinary Medicine in the eighties and early nineties. An elderly lady who was dying of lung cancer asked me to adopt her dog when she died and left the 11 year old dog to me in her will. I guess word spread as I currently have 6 older dogs with chronic health problems that people have left to me because their families were unwilling to care for them. Sometimes animals are just dropped on my doorstep and I don't know who owned them. Their food, grooming, boarding (I travel now for work), and veterinary needs often leave me wishing for donations. But we always seem to manage to make ends meet. I also provide food for 10 to 20 feral cats that I found living in a wooded area.

Since I seldom have funds leftover to donate to charities, I help with local groups. My favorite doesn't even have a name.

A lady who worked with my mother began, on her own, cooking and delivering Thanksgiving dinner to elderly people who were alone.
She now feeds over 600 people of all races, & economic backgrounds on Thanksgiving. She spends the entire year collecting donations of money or food from local people and businesses to prepare for this one meal. Many of us now help with the cooking and deliveries.

I also donate clothing, toys, and household items to a local mission run by area churches who provide clothing, furniture, and etc. to anyone who can't afford to buy their own. There is a special section for babies which includes helping young single mothers learn how to care for their babies.

Please remember both the human and the animal elderly & disabled when you donate your money or your time.
Many people who were once financially secure join the ranks of the poor when they retire or become ill. Their animals, who are often their only loving companions, suffer with them and are then abandoned or sent to shelters when their owners die.

Helena said...

My city has a Christmas Shoebox Project which is very successful, and very much needed (I believe)to the children of third world countries and around the world at this time of year, let alone at any time of year. The concept is very inexpensive, so virtually everyone, including family members could join in, in stuffing the shoe box with necessaties(ie:toothpaste,smalltoy,book,socks, or anything else that would fill up the box and the heart of a young child...there is a list of not to's as well).

http://www.childrensnetworkinternational.org/programs_details.php?programsID=22

This is just one of the many websites that I happened to see first. But IT IS disheartening to have to CHOOSE over anyone. I wish all organizations to have luck. EVERY ONE needs each other and
I'm proud to be here to share it.