Saturday, December 4, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

Oh Ye Fabulous Blogosphere

Ya know how I grumble about stuff... sometimes very specifically, sometimes more vaguely... I need to make a right here and throw out a really huge THANK YOU, but I need to keep it vague. One of you contacted me this week offering help for something I've grumbled about. It crashed into me like a huge warm vat of chocolate. I was overwhelmed, delighted and grateful to be part of a network where people don't just cheer, but actually tangibly help each other.

So THANK YOU to this fabulous individual, and THANK YOU to all of you for being a group that the others in the group can count on.

I think Talli Roland is feeling some of this this week, too. Did you hear her book ON ITS FIRST DAY hit #24 of the Amazon.UK list? We did that. As a group—I mean sure, she organized and asked, but after full participation and being part of this great community.

So I suggest a big group CYBERHUG because the BLOGOSPHERE ROCKS! [note:  Lemurs really do this with some regularity. I love lemurs]

And in Keeping with the Spirit

Kids and Charity

My boss every year has a talk with us... about how there are people in the world, in the country, even in the city, a lot more needy than we are. She encourages us to spend any money we'd spend on gifts in the work place on charity instead. We normally exchange cards and maybe cookies or candies and any other money goes to some organization that meets needs. Her own choice is typically a safe house, where she also volunteers time as a physician to help people who've gone there. I've discovered various local soup kitchens or family aid organizations, and it is definitely a time to help people, because people are definitely needy.

We aren't in a financial position to help this year, but we will still try to find a way to give some time, but in light of that, I thought maybe I'd share a couple that are international, and have the BONUS of being something kids can really learn from.

See Your Impact

My friend Natasha (who you know as Rayna) administers this charity. The reason I think it is so ideal for kids is that donors can actually choose who they donate to and then they get feedback about how their gift made a difference—it is reinforcing that the charitable money donated has made a real difference in someones life. It is also nice for the adults because the donation sizes can vary so much—there are huge needs and small (as little as $10 to contribute to a safe water system to larger gifts like $85 to buy somebody a wheelchair). See Your Impact is changing lives one at a time, and I think as a lesson in giving, that is the best way for children to really understand.

Heifer International

Another charity kids can really get behind is Heifer International. The organization buys animals for villages or families (depending on the size of donation). Some of them are small animals, raised and then used for meat (which my kids didn't like) but MANY are animals raised because they are food-producing (chickens, cows, goats) or wool producing (llamas, sheep) so they can either feed people or offer a livelihood. My kids LOVED this, and they offer options of... half a sheep, or a third of a goat if you can't afford a whole animal, and it looks like since we've been involved, they have also added seeds and training to their list of what they donate.

They have a ton of pics, but are rights protected, so if you want to go see some of the stuff, click here

So if you can... there are people who are needy out there. I may grumble about a low gift Christmas or juggling bills, but the truth is, we own a home and have never gone without food or heat. There are people out there with real needs. I think these charities offer a way to really show kids that giving can feel good and make a difference.


Old Kitty said...

Thanks for such great links to these wonderful charities!!!!

I also think this is one time we could all be a little adventurous with our christmas giving/gifts.

Like I've adopted/sponsored goats and donkeys and horses the world over as my pressies to people via Oxfam and Redwings etc - either the animals were formerly abused or are essential to a family for survival so "adopting/sponsoring" their goat or donkey etc helps the families with vets bills/responsible husbandry etc!!

I think Christmas is the one time we could all do something extra special for each other!!!

Yay for Talli!

Take care

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad someone showed you some love!
We always help out a local family at Christmas.
And can those lemurs still breathe?

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I want a lemur family for Christmas. They can live in the basement and whenever I'm sad I can go down for a hug.

erica and christy said...

Virtual friends are the best - we're all here to help, unlike some people in "the real world."

And another charity idea - give a small amount to one instead of giving to your kid's teacher. Trust me, we really don't need another candle, tree ornament, or "World's Best Teacher" apple.

Guinevere said...

Great post! Seeing the support for Talli also warmed my heart as a writer. Thanks for showcasing the great charities here.

The Words Crafter said...

Lemurs!!!!! I love those guys!

Congrats to Talli and also to you for getting whatever it was you needed.

My 3 year old daycare class is adopting a family this year and I'm glad there are other organizations out there that children can help with. You're absolutely right-there is great need.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The blogosphere is great!

We usually try to give a goat through one of the programs based in Africa. So many worthy causes out there!

CA Heaven said...

I have chosen a few that I support every year, in particular the Salvation Army. I don't believe a shit of what the Bible says, but I believe in the work the Salvation Army does for the poor and homeless.

I give books that I have read to the Salvation Army's 2nd hand stores, and some years ago I gave them my entire collection of vinyl records. I never played them anymore, and I know there are people collecting that kind of stuff.

But most fun was that the Salvation Army could earn some money selling my old heavy metal albums, like The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden, Hell Awaits by Slayer, and Mysteriis Dom Sathanas by Mayhem >:)

Cold As Heaven

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny-I love the animal adoption options, especially those 'useful animals' that help families sustain themselves--great addition!

Alex-Thanks! And YES! The lemurs LOVE it like that! They sleep that way--at the Portland zoo once, some friends and I were looking for the lemurs... no clue... gone. Then there was a loud noise and maybe 20 heads popped up from what we thought was a rock!

Karen-ME TOO!

Guinivere-it is great, isn't it? really encouraging as to what we can look forward too! And I'm not sure I've seen you here--I recognize you, but possibly from elsewhere? Welcome!

Words Crafter-adopting families is FABULOUS---that is another 'super tangible' and great for a class of kids!

Elizabeth--I love the goat ones. I've always been fond of goats, but they can eat pretty much ANYTHING so they are cheap to feed, then provide milk and affection.

CaH-We donate things we've outgrown (clothes and toys) or used (books) to the Salvation Army, too. I agree with you completely--I am somewhat picky about the Religious charities I support, as some require 'listening while you get your stuff' but Salvation Army walks the walk--they do very good work. And yes, I'm snickering at selling the supposedly satanic stuff for their profit.

M.J. Nicholls said...

Absolutely. I have things to donate. I once sponsored a child, but was never told what I was sponsoring exactly.

Colene Murphy said...

Awe yeay! It is incredible, the way people come out for one another in this universe on the internet. Amazing!
Lemurs just got 10x cooler! I didn't think they could but they did!

Rachael Harrie said...

Hugs to you! Yeah, there are some fantastic people out there in the blogging world :)


Jan Morrison said...

yah, a few years ago I decided no more gifts for adults in my life. It has been great and what we do in my larger family is choose a charity we think rocks and give dough to it instead. My dad likes one called Watering Can (yep water sourcing for areas in need) and I have given goats and ducks or organizations aimed at keeping women out of prostitution in places that need that. (uh...everywhere?). As well my babes and I plus a few of their fellas send a young woman to school in Nepal which we've done for about eight years now. It is better than stupid big gifts no one wants or needs. Another close group of friends and I celebrate the holiday between Xmas and New Years (called Gomish if you're interested) and we do give each other gifts but they have to have been found in our own homes or made by our own hands. It is WONDERFUL fun.
I like the sound of Natasha's one - that might be this years hit!

Ca88andra said...

Excellent post! Its a good time of year to remember there are others out there far less fortunate than ourselves.

Missed Periods said...

The blogging community is so much more supportive than I ever imagined. It was amazing how everyone came together for Talli, and I am happy someone reached out to you.

Will Burke said...

I've heard about these goat-providing charities -- what a great idea!
Congrats on finishing NaNo, I was watching you leave us in your dust the whole time :)

Unknown said...

Hey Hart,
Love Lemurs, too. So glad you received help and thanks for the info on places we can donate. =D

ps: Yay on NaNo to you as well.

Ella said...

(((hugs))) to you; I am amazed at the kindness in blogsphere! Love the Lemur hug photo, too cute!

Yes, Congrats on NaNo, I guess you are a word roadrunner! It is nice that someone made you feel warm n' fuzzy~

Great charities, I will check these out~
Wonderful post!

Natasha said...

Thank you for the shout out, Tami. As usual I am really far behind with my blog reading, but considering the work I am being paid to do, is it a wonder I end up working nearly 24/7?