I spent two years in graduate school working for the Office of Student Life. During that time we organized a fundraiser and benefit for the local food bank. I went to visit the food bank and as the director showed me around discussing what the organization did for families I noticed the cupboard was bare – literally. There was little food. I asked the director where the food was and she said, “well spring is a slow time for us and it is always hard to get food donated”. I was in utter shock. How does a food bank feed people with no food?
That afternoon I went to my parent’s house for dinner and as I relayed the story to them my mother grew increasingly indignant. She couldn’t believe the food bank had no food. She popped up from the table and said “come with me”. We drove directly to the closest warehouse club where my mother purchased pallets of food. Large flats of peanut butter, canned vegetables, rice, Bisquick, pasta, bread, fruit. The list went on and on until we couldn’t fit any more food in the car. I don’t know how much money my mother spent that day but I suspect it was over $500. We drove directly to the food bank and unloaded our vehicle. The director was amazed and just kept thanking us over and over.
I have NEVER forgotten that moment. I have NEVER forgotten my mother’s instant call to action and her desire to fix an injustice IMMEDIATELY. I have NEVER forgotten my mother’s realization that somebody needed help and she could provide it – right then, right now.
This holiday season I am feeling a strong desire to instill that in my own children -the idea that we can all help. That we all have gifts and resources and if applied with the same energy that we apply to our jobs we can all make a difference.
Perhaps you too are feeling a desire to help others. Perhaps you too are grateful for your job, your health insurance, your family, the security of your home and would like to share that feeling with others. Just perhaps we can all change the world a little.
To help us all bring change to others I’ve collected a list of some of my favorite charities. Some of these are personal campaigns and others are large organizations but all of them stand for things that are important to me – helping people help themselves.
Grateful For Country?
I told you about my student “Jennifer” before, and her desire to be a United States Citizen. Well, with certain changes in the immigration law “Jennifer’s” family is trying to raise the money for each child to apply for citizenship. That costs $500 per child – so $1,500. This family can barely scrape together the funds for dinner on a weekly basis so $1,500 is a pipe dream. If you are grateful for your job and for being born in this country, please consider donating to this family. Help these honor roll children become TAXPAYERS and fulfill their dreams of being teachers and computer specialists.
Grateful For Family?
I’ve talked about our nanny and friend Micki countless times and at this point you all know about her on going struggles to have a family of her own. The saga continues and we are still doing our best to raise the money to pay off her medical expenses. We are about halfway there and so with a last holiday push we are hoping to raise the remaining $3,000.
Grateful For Food?
I’m always a big fan of food banks. As a person who has worked for non-profits in the past I am a big believer in donating “things” when you can versus money. As a result I support the North Texas Food Bank. There are several ways to support this cause from donating money, donating food, starting your own canned food drive at your office or buying their annual calendar. Food banks provide an invaluable service to more people than you realize. In Dallas, 1 out of 4 families is food insecure – that is 25% – IN DALLAS, not some third world country.
Heifer International is an organization that allows you to buy a family livestock. By providing these families goats, chickens, cows, llamas, etc you provide them with an opportunity to produce food and a means for income. They can breed their animals, sell their animals, eat their animals. Plus, this makes a fun gift you can do with your kids. Lucy and I sat down the other day and discussed the benefits of buying chickens versus ducks.
Grateful for Education?
One of the things I am most grateful is my eduction and the opportunities my GIRLS have for an education. There are many girls around the world who are denied the right to attend school. Girls who are not given the chance to read. As an educator, as a mother, and as a woman no other cause breaks my heart more than girls being denied the ability to use the brain that God gave them.
One of the charities I support is Unicef. Unicef does more than just promote education, they also support immunization for children, clean drinking water, and the well being of children everywhere. However, it is specifically their work in education that I support.
Honestly, I could go on and on with a list of causes I support; clean drinking water, mosquito nets, building houses, suicide prevention, and after school programs. However, the important thing is that we all DO something. If we can make time to watch The Walking Dead, play a video game, go for a run, or bake a batch of holiday cookies we can find the time to extend a helping hand. These causes don’t inspire you? Well, then please go find one that does. DO SOMETHING – DO IT NOW.