Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Penguins Don't Need Sweaters

There's a viral thing going around the Internet about how oily penguins need sweaters.  They don't.  Not anymore.  So, any sweater you donate is being sold commercially and you're knitting for who-knows-what.

However, charity crafting is awesome and I've posted individual sites before.  I'm going to put a list here of charities I have personally donated to that I feel are reputable.  There are many others, so feel free to explore but read all the fine print to make sure they aren't just taking your stuff for their own gain.  Do your research to make sure they are reputable and stable.

Some charities are for one specific purpose with a short time limit.  Some are perpetual.  Make sure you meet deadlines if there are some so it doesn't become another penguin fiasco.

Also, please consider keeping your efforts local and determine the best use for your efforts.  For example, in my area there are always food drives going on for the food bank.  But the more I learned about it I realized that I can go buy a can of soup for $1 and feed one person OR I can donate $1 to the foodbank and they can feed 10 people on that dollar.  In that case, money is better.  Way better.

So, your hat that goes off to some big company three states away will end up going who-knows-where, but your hat donated to the local children's hospital will go to a kid who needs it, a kid that's just miles from you. And what about knitting socks for people in the hospital or nursing home.  A gift to a lonely older person is such a delight and way bigger than the effort you put into your creation.  You can see the results right in front of you.

I'm not knocking donating to a big cause, I'm just saying that you need to really examine your motivation, your recipients, what you have to offer, etc and decide what you want to do after a little bit of soul searching.

Okay, now get started.  As I said, these are some of my favorites and have been tried-and-true for me:

Arkansas Children's Hospital Knitting for Noggins
Craft Hope
More Love Letters

Another favorite of mine, but I don't know if they take crafted items:  The One, Inc.  (Meeting the needs of the rural homeless.)

Happy Crafting!  Spread the Love!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Indiegogo: The Lascaux Prize

I hope you will take a minute to look at a project I'm involved in.

For the last couple of years I've been working on a literary journal called The Lascaux Review with my editor-friend and crit partner Stephen Parrish. It's a wonderful place to hang out if you love literature and good writing.

We've run two flash fiction contests and have published some notable names in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

Now we want to offer a chance to award a larger prize to writers of short fiction and we need help.  So, we're raising funds through Indiegogo and getting the word out to see who can help us meet our goals.  We have some great perks for people who donate. Those who can't donate for even the lowest perk, I hope will at least pass the word on to friends and family who will donate and help spread the word.  Or put a widget on your page.  Every little bit will help us meet our goal.

Check it out and watch the video.  It's informative and fun and you might learn something cool in the three minutes that it plays.  About literature, about the world, about history, about my passion.

Thank you for taking a moment to look!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dinner for Six

I recently saw a great story about a family who wanted to spend more quality together and chose to do so by putting together food bags for kids who are hungry. It's called Kids Against Hunger.

The bags have a combination of rice, crushed soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamins/flavoring "secret sauce" powder. When boiled up it will feed six children.

A 32-pound box contains 36 packets that make a total of 216 meals and costs approximately $50.

So here is how to make this a budget philanthropy project:

Make dinner and invite five of your friends over. Tell 'em to bring ten bucks each.  You feed them one meal, they feed six kids 36 times.

Do it once a month and that's almost 2,600 meals that you and your friends have provided hungry kids.  It only costs you ten bucks a month.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Terror of Kindness

Check out this wonderful post:  Terror of Kindness

It's some thoughtful speculation on why we hesitate to do more acts of kindness when they are so cheap and easy to do.

It's brilliant. Go see.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Couple Builds Bikes for Disabled Kids

I saw this on the news tonight.  What a wonderful story!

Friday, July 1, 2011

What About Now?

Watch this video. If it doesn't make you want to do something today to make a difference in the world, nothing will.  Thanks to Matt Shifley for posting about his mom on Facebook and inspiring this post.  She must have really been something.

Go do something good in your world today.  Do it for Matt's mom so she can live forever.  Do it for yourself.  Just go do it because it's the right thing. Before you go to sleep tonight ask yourself, "Did I change something for the better today?"

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Fifth Meal

We have a way of feeding people that doesn't involve taking food to the foodbank.  We love donating to the foodbank and do it occasionally, but in this economy as self-employed people there is not a lot of excess grocery money to go around at our house.

So, here is what we do instead.

When we make our normal evening meal we try to make enough that we can create what's called "The Fifth Meal" (we're a family of four).  We package it up in a cool food saver tray that has compartments and a lid and voila... a whole meal we can share with someone.

Typically we share these with seniors because they are lighter eaters.  It might be 2-3 ounces of a meat main dish and a serving spoon full of veggies and another bit of side-dish.  It's not a grand meal, but it's solid and great for people on a fixed income.  We get to know people around us who are on a fixed income and find it's a real treat for them to have their lunch brought to them the next day or to have a big hunk sliced off the end of the banana bread or whatever.

Little things like that can help your neighbor feel cared for and break up their ordinary food routine.

Don't let your leftovers sit in the fridge and go bad -- create a Fifth Meal and share it with someone who could use something to eat.

Photo by: Stephen Depolo