Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving Tuesday

Usually on this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, I put out a list of gifts that give, ones that you can buy that help a charity do its work. But this year, I decided that rather than point out what you can buy to help others, I’d like to point out a new tradition—Giving Tuesday. I will still put out my “gifts that give” list, but I felt it had to wait.

During December 3, Giving Tuesday, individuals will start volunteer projects, make online donations and gather at dozens of events to celebrate the start of the holiday giving season by giving back to the causes they care about most. Want to know where some of these events are? Check out Giving Tuesday.

The U.S. White House reports that more than 7000 partners across all 50 states are taking part. Why should you? Well, let’s think about it.

What does the holiday season really mean? Is it just about having a good time with your family and friends? Is it about the gift of love that Jesus brought when he was born? For most people, no matter what religion you are, the holidays are about sharing love in one way or another. You can share love with your family and friends and then take it to the next level—your world.

Many charities get the majority of their donations in these final weeks of the year because people like to give to help others during this time. Many people also volunteer time to help others during this busy season.

I am beginning to work with a new charity myself next week—the American Red Cross. I will be interning with them in the new year. I am really looking forward to learning more about them and helping them with their mission.

In the meantime, I am making plans for Giving Tuesday. I have several charities that I will be giving to at the end of this year. I’ll start volunteering with the Red Cross on Wednesday. What will you be doing?

If you want some tips about how to give wisely on Tuesday, check out Charity Navigator’s page on Giving Tuesday. Otherwise, think and pray about what you can do to give on Tuesday and in the new year.

God bless!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanks and Giving®

There is one organization that I’ve never given to that I greatly admire and this may be the month to do it. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital takes the end of the year to commemorate Thanks and Giving with the help of partners like Domino’s Pizza, the Melting Pot, Dollar General, CVS, GameStop and more. In this their tenth year of the Thanks and Giving® campaign, it may be my time to give.

My son certainly won’t mind since Domino’s is his favorite pizza. Domino's is matching dollar-for-dollar all customer contributions up to a total of $250,000 and has committed to giving St. Jude’s $10 million by 2015. It’s well on its way, having raised more than $3.6 million last year. It’s got two St. Jude Meal Deal bundles that include a buck donation to St. Jude this year, one for $19.99 and another for $13.98.

There’s a place for me to eat and help St. Jude’s, too. The Melting Pot fondue restaurants are currently offering a $20 off deal to diners who make a donation to St. Jude’s as the restaurant supports the annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign.

For every $10 donation made to St. Jude at The Melting Pot now through Dec. 15, guests will receive a Fondue for the Kids card that offers $20 off a future purchase of $50 or more. Donations can also be made online to receive the offer at the Melting Pot’s website. One hundred percent of donations will be given directly to St. Jude.

Beginning last Friday, Dollar General customers had the opportunity to donate $1 or more to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Thanks and Giving® campaign. It goes through Dec. 15, and Dollar General and its customers have supported St. Jude by contributing more than $9.4 million to the Thanks and Giving® campaigns since 2006.

Through Dec. 7, CVS Caremark employees will encourage customers to add $1 or $3 to their purchase at the register to support the campaign.  Customers shopping online at  will also have the opportunity to donate $1 at checkout. CVS/pharmacy and its customers have raised more than $37 million to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Last but not least, there’s GameStop. If you have a child aged 8 to 18 in the United States, you probably know what GameStop is. I certainly do. Through December 26, you can donate a dollar to St. Jude at GameStop.

It costs $1.9 million to operate St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital each day. The hospital provides treatment, travel, housing and food for its patients without charging them a dime. More than 75 percent of the hospital’s funding comes from public donations.

I have multiple ways to give this year since I frequent pretty much all of these places. Is there one where you can give? God Bless and have a great day!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Losing it All

Can you imagine waking up to nothing? No food, no clothes, no water, perhaps no family or friends. Where there was a house before, now nothing stands. Where there was a tree is emptiness.  

This is what thousands of people are experiencing in the Philippines. The Red Cross estimates 10 million people across 40 provinces have been affected with as many as 600,000 people displaced. A total of 78,476 families (380,552 persons) are being served inside 1,028 evacuation centers in the Philippines according to the government’s official gazette following the supertyphoon that made landfall last Friday.

Estimates are that 10,000 people are dead.

The U.S. government has only pledged $100,000 and other kinds of support to the Philippines, but U.S. companies have pledged $20 million. You can see what companies are donating at this link.

I recently began looking for an internship to do next semester as part of my master’s program. I contacted some local companies and was referred to one that I was told always needed people. That company was the American Red Cross. Sure enough, they said they could use me.

I found a list of relief organizations from around the world that are helping in the Philippines. The one that showed up the most was the Red Cross. It’s the largest relief organization in the Philippines with 1,000 staff members and an estimated 500,000 active volunteers engaged in response to this emergency.

You can always donate at With the holidays coming up, you can also give a present that will save lives through emergency shelters and vaccinations or help the military with comfort kits.

You can also donate directly to the Philippines Red Cross. We have so much to be thankful for this year. God bless the people of the Philippines. Let us be the light in their storm.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Heroes of 2013

I couldn’t get you a better list of people.

They provide wishes for foster children, fresh fruits and vegetables in “food deserts” and schools for the unschooled.  They clean up rivers, build homes for disabled veterans, empower the poor through dance and help children who are fighting cancer, poverty and a lack of opportunity. They bring computers to those who can’t afford them and electricity to hospitals around the world.

They are the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013.

For their extraordinary efforts to change the world, each will receive $50,000 and be recognized at a globally broadcast event that airs December 1.

One of the top 10 will receive an additional $250,000 for their cause. That person will be chosen by those who vote for their favorite hero at

SO, read their stories, and then vote for the one whom you like the best. You can also give to their causes if you feel so inspired.

It’s a great way to start, end, or fill the middle of your day, learning about people who have made it their life goal to help others.

I think my favorite is Danielle Gletow who provides wishes for foster children. Gletow has been a foster mom herself and knows they can’t provide everything a foster child needs.

Her foundation, One Simple Wish, also finds gently worn prom dresses, shoes and handbags for foster teens, provides 24/7 access to baby supplies, personal care items, birthday gifts, and basic needs to children in foster care and those who have aged out of it.

Lastly, she works with foster children aged 16 and up to give them an opportunity to prepare for and get jobs. Living in this world without a family to help you makes it an awful big and lonely world.

Who is your favorite hero?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Playing Games for Charity

I’ve told you before about games you can play to raise money for charity , but now I have a game that you can watch others play to raise money for kids dealing with serious illnesses. 

The game is called Desert Bus for Hope and is known unofficially as the worst video game ever. It comes from a never released CD called Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors. The driver of a listing, unreliable, virtual bus must go on an endless, eight-hour-long strip of highway between Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada. The game has no pause button and plays in real time so in order to win, you actually have to steer the bus for eight straight hours. You get one point for reaching Las Vegas and can turn around and go back for another point. 

A waste of eight hours, right? Right, unless you are getting paid to play the game and that money goes to Child’s Play. Child’s Play is a charity that improves the lives of children undergoing treatment in the hospital with toys and games. 
They play as long as donations come in and have live and silent auctions, craft-alongs, giveaways and contests, celebrity guests and a lot of silliness to pass the time.

If you want to be a part of it, mark your calendar for 10 a.m. November 16th and go to the Desert Bus website that week.

There’s one catch to the whole thing. The amount of donations needed to keep the game going increases each hour. So, in the beginning, it doesn’t take much money to keep them playing but by the end of the first week it becomes significant.  

That’s it for today. I’m not feeling too hot so I’m cutting it short. God Bless!