Tuesday, December 1, 2009

31 days of goodness


I spend at least a few minutes of every day being thankful. When 1 in 8 people in the world do not have access to clean or safe drinking water, that I sit and clack away on my laptop is not lost on me.

Our family adopted a family this year for the holidays. A family in which the children are asking for bare necessities as gifts instead the usual barrage one might expect; it is as telling as it is affecting. But it is a reminder that hard luck can hit any family, and that kindness and generosity can be easily shared. It is not the amount that is given, it is the act of giving itself. So many people donate, contribute, and volunteer to causes throughout the year; I think it is outstanding to see human kindness in action.

And now with the turn of December, there are an abundance of opportunities for every person to contribute. It’s the 31 days of goodness, and easy exercises (and many of them free) to put a smile on someone else’s face as well as your own. And to lean over that blade of grass and whisper: grow, grow.

FREE GOODNESS:

1. Get involved. A super easy website: http://www.dosomething.org can help you find service projects in your zip code. They also encourage you to engage your teenage family members to get involved in philanthropy. Their aim is to inspire the next generation of “doers”. You can also find local events/charities/nonprofits to support at www.dogoodchannel.com

2. Mentor/coach/tutor a future John Grisham, Louisa May Alcott, or Stephenie Meyer at http://826national.org/ which is 7 nonprofits working to celebrate and advance creative writing in students age 16-18.

3. Go to your book case and clean it out. Instead of donating to the library, take those books to a local literacy program.

4. You can also join http://www.booksforsoldiers.com for free and send them to troops.

5. Give blood. To find a local blood bank: www.givelife.org

6. Send a holiday card for FREE to a soldier abroad through a Xerox sponsored program www.letssaythanks.com

7. Save all of your magazines from the month and donate them to a local women’s shelter.

8. Call a local retirement community and schedule a visit. You can spend an hour or two calling bingo. We have done it and it is a total hoot. One of the elderly ladies won and yelled “OH SWEET JESUS”. I crack up now thinking about it. (You can also take your sassy OPI or MAC nail polish instead and do some fun manicures. )

9. You can donate baby blankets, stuffed animals, and children’s books to http://projectnightnight.com/ which helps homeless children.

10. Donate your old cell phones to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Go to www.ncadv.org and look under Take Action and then Donate.

11. Donate shoes (you know you have more than you can ever wear!) to www.shareyoursoles.org

12. Mentor an at-risk teen online at http://icouldbe.org

13. Become an online reading mentor and penpal for kids in 3rd – 5th grade at www.in2books.com (They do a background check: Use promo code: SAV2449 so it won't cost you a cent.)

14. Volunteer at a National Park. www.nps.gov

15. Donate your unused airline rewards miles to Salvation Army, Make A Wish, or others.

16. Play www.freerice.com and every correct vocab word you identify, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Program

17. You can also go to www.freekibble.com and for every answer, you send 10 pieces of dog food to an animal shelter in need

18. Donate gift cards you won’t use to www.plasticjungle.com

19. If you knit, you can send squares to www.warmupamerica.org. The squares will be knit into afghans and donated to battered women’s shelters.

20. Sign up to volunteer at www.keenusa.org and become a one on one volunteer to teach kids with disabilities about noncompetitive sports.


SMALL DONATION RELATED GOODNESS

21. Every dollar donated to www.roomtoread.org promotes children’s literacy.

22. Donate a minimum of $10.00 to www.pajamaprogram.org which provides jammies and books for kids in orphanages, group homes, and shelters.

23. Buy some gourmet bean dips, salsa mixes, or spice rubs (among other things) from www.womensbeanproject.com which provides jobs and job training to homeless women. And they just celebrated their 20th anniversary.

24. Lend $25.00 to www.kiva.org which takes your loan and helps woman all over the world start businesses. You can choose your cause and the money will be paid back.

25. Give $25 to Puppies Behind Bars: a program teaching inmates how to train puppies to be service animals.

26. Buy beautiful handmade jewelry from http://www.madebysurvivors.com/ which is combating human slavery and trafficking by providing training, job skills, and life skills to women freed from sex slavery.

27. A $35 donation to Sleeping Children Around the World www.scaw.org provides a BedKit that consists of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), clothes outfit, towel and school supplies for a needy child.

28. Give a $35 Gift of Hope to women and children rescued from Sex Slavery and Sex Trafficking at www.sharedhope.org.

29. $35 dollar will also feed a needy child for one month with Share Our Strength at www.strength.org

30. Make an online donation to www.doctorswithoutborders.org which provides aid in almost 60 countries to people suffering from abuse, neglect, famine, malnutrition, lack of health care and natural disasters. $35 will provide 35 vaccines.

31. And finally, because there are so many people on this Earth without clean and safe drinking water, you can donate $20 to http://www.charitywater.org/ and give one person drinking water for 20 years.


Have a beautiful December!

108 comments:

My name is PJ. said...

Well now, JennyMac, you have written many exemplary blog posts before (your gift for writing speaks for itself), BUT this one? This is, hands down, your finest piece of work to date!! I bow (very, very low) to your willingness and ability to call us all to arms. I will be sending this link to every person I know. I am EXTREMELY proud of you! EXTREMELY! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Jules said...

THOSE are awesome ideas! We also adopt a family. Hubby's work also adopts kids in an orphanage. AND we "have" a kitty that lives in a FIV (HIV for cats) shelter that we take care of. But many of the charities on this list, I'd never heard of. GREAT ones!!

Thanks!!

Heather said...

an excellent post, thnak you for al the links

Jen said...

I had just heard about charity water last week - such a good cause; I'll check out some of the others this week - thank you for sharing.

kys said...

That is a very comprehensive list. I'm sure we can all find at least one thing to do. You don't mind if I pass this on to my church's e-mail list, do you?

mo.stoneskin said...

Excellent list, although my book case has been repeatedly pruned on my wife's demands and cannot be pruned any further :(

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

That is such a great post. I just told my daughter last night that we were going to clean out her room and the playroom and then go and donate all the books and toys so that children could have a great holiday. She loved the idea.

Little Ms Blogger said...

And...if you want to challenge yourself to pay it forward for the next month and want support or further suggestions go to http://www.29gifts.org/

Little Ms Blogger said...

btw, thanks for the shoe link - I tried Nike and it was a bust. Their locations were outdated.

Dustjacket Attic said...

Way to go JM for posting some fantastic links to make giving so easy and for some great ideas for being there for our community and the world.
xxx

Simone said...

What a really fantastic post Jenny Mac, WELL DONE and thank you so much. I can see that many of these are internationally so I promise to do at least one. I am going to forward this list, if that's ok.

I LOVE the Talmud quote too...beautiful.

You are one fabulous girl for sure! xo

The Peach Tart said...

Very nice post and thanks for all the great links.

sheila said...

GREAT post! I do many of these things already, but many I've never heard of and they sound AWESOME! I like the jammies one!

I tweeted about your post with a link.

Julia said...

Great list. In fact I borrowed the list to re-post it to try to spread the information around as much as possible (obviously citing you as the list's creator), I hope that's okay. See my post here:

http://lookingformypearl.blogspot.com/2009/12/find-your-inner-philanthropist.html

Kristi Faith said...

Great post, the kids and I do charity or donation each and every year. There was a Christmas when our family was on the receiving end of some wonderful, charitable people and we make sure to give back each year. (Even though we only asked for jackets and shoes for the two kids we had, a secret person actually loaded up two vehicles and delivered them to our kids. I can't tell you how much we as parents cried for joy and our kids jumped up and down with smiles. Bless you for adopting a family.)

the walking man said...

OK

Chic Mama said...

Great list......will try and do some of them.

Joshua said...

500 grains of rice: Done. And pretty easy.

The only failing is that the Shelter Dog Food (there's a Cat link, too http://www.freekibblekat.com) only gives 10 kibble per day instead of 10 per right answer like the rice. Still.

-Joshua

strokeofliving said...

Thanks for this post. You rock - but you know that.

Anyway, I've been spending a lot of time in the Hindu community who praises God through service as one of their faith practices. I'm learning about food service and rather enjoying the education. That's tithing my time. Feels good!

Theta Mom said...

This is such an awesome list and perfect timing with the season! I'm bookmarking this page!

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Good morning!

I started out on your post thinking "Oh, our latest posts are so similar" and then you went the extra mile! Great, great links! I'm going to spend some time this morning doing some reading and probably donating on some of these.

Terrific Day! Have one.

Liza said...

Outstanding! One of your commenters said they were going to send your post to their friends. Yup, it's going to my entire address book too! I think I'll add it to my FB too. I finished chopping fruit for a dinner at a homeless shelter and read this and realized how much more I should, could, and will be doing!

KristenLisa said...

Love, love, love this post. Thanks for the links!

Too Many Hats said...

Awesome list and a great reminder.

Raoulysgirl said...

Wonderful post!

Share Our Strength and Doctors Without Borders are my two personal heartstrings.

It doesn't take much to really impact the life of someone else. Thanks for reminding us!!!

Dina's Days said...

Very inspiring. Thank you. I read somewhere every day write down three things you are thankful for in a journal. I started that (although I don't stick with it everyday) but it really puts things into perspective.

www.dinasdaysblog.blogspot.com

ellen abbott said...

Thank you JennyMac for putting all this info together.

Nonflammable said...

You are awesome! Thanks for this list. It feels good to help others.

Herding Cats said...

This is an amazing list. Thank you for taking the time to put this together!

Diva Kreszl said...

Hi! I found my way to your blog via 'Seens From the Back of My Eyelids' and am so happy I stopped by!!! Our family always tries to find organizations to help out during Christmas and throughout the year and as a Youth Leader in our church we try to get projects that the Jr. & Sr. High kids can help so your post today was a welcome surprise and I thank you so much for all this info. I am now a follower and am looking forward to visiting your blog often!

Michael Rivers said...

What a wonderful post!! Thanks for all the information.

Mrs Montoya said...

Love it, a lot! Do you mind if I share, too? The links are fantastic!

Kate said...

I'm going through quite a tough time myself at the moment but your list has reminded me of all the good stuff around me too - all the good stuff others don't have. Thanks!! Will work my way down the list.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I am amazed at all you have found here. I love this. Great list JennyMac...this will keep me busy for a while.
Suz

Scrappy Girl said...

I love all these ideas! I am going to check some out! Thanks!

Tam said...

What a great post - thanks for the reminder that we're far more fortunate than we know. We sponsor a family at the holidays too, but I'm going to check out some of these other opportunities!

JadeLD said...

Great list, I'm sure you will inspire so many people with these suggestion.
Jade

Candice said...

This is a great post. Yay, you!!

Yankee Girl said...

Happy holidays to you! What a great and meaningful post.

It's easier to lend a hand than most people think. Thanks for the reminder!

CatLadyLarew said...

What an awesome list, Jenny! Thanks for all the great ideas. Hugs!

Mommy Lisa said...

I love freerice.com

I have a friend whose brother and ex-husband donate their time each year to doctors without borders.

And NOW I am grateful for this post.

I have a stack of books that will go to our soldiers and I will find a retirement home for boo boo la la and I to visit. She loves older people and is not afraid of wheel chairs, etc. at all.

Kristina P. said...

Awesome. I bought a coat for local refugees and we will be making cookies to take to firefighters for Christmas.

Brandi said...

Love this post. You never know... the small kindness you bestow on another could just be the push they need to keep going (and I am SO taking my Navy nail polish to our local nursing home)! :)

Barbaloot said...

Thanks for sharing all those great ideas!

The (Un)Experienced Mom said...

Great post! We usually pick a name of a child off a tree and then shower them with gifts! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

Tamara
www.theunexperiencedmom.com

New England Girl said...

These are all such wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing them with us! I am definitely going to check a few out... It's so easy and takes hardly any time at all. :)
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! :)

Mommakin said...

Wow, what a wonderful post! You've really done your homework!

Bird Shit and Baby Caca said...

Would it be ok to give the local drunk sitting outside the liquor a bottle of vodka? It's still giving right?

foxy said...

Wow JennyMac, what an excellent post. You've made it so easy for everyone to do something. Thank you for this list. I've bookmarked it to be able to come back to...

Cathi said...

What a wonderful list! I am going to print this out and check each one out.

My hope is that people continue the generosity for these programs throughout the entire year!

Have a beautiful day! xxoo

CRY said...

I will be doing five of the list
your a great person to blog on this

Summer said...

Thank you for all the links. You are such a sweety.

Heather said...

I'm really liking the retirement community one. It won't be long, maybe I should hurry up and make some friends there.

AND I totally love BINGO!!

The Boob Nazi said...

Thanks for the volunteering list! As a poor grad student, I love to find ways to volunteer so I can help without giving away the little money I have.

Simone said...

Hi again JennyMac!
You don't have to post this but I just wanted to let you know that I just registered with www.kiva.org and made a couple of loans...and for both of the people I loaned to it was the final instalment they needed...yippee! I have heard of Kiva before but your post really made me get up and do it. Thanks for the reminder and for setting such a great example,
Simone :)

MommaKiss said...

I LOVE This post. Mind if I link it on my blog? Such great ideas!!

Southern Champagne Wishes said...

JennyMac, this list is great! I love, love, love donating and wish I could spend all day doing it (unfortunately I have to work to be able to do that, so...). I am so inspired to do so many of these things and so excited to read this list. I'm keeping this page bookmarked, so I can come back and add some amazing causes to my usual list! Thank you!

Rebecca Knight said...

I had no clue about a ton of these programs, so thank you for the ideas and links :D!! Some of these things would also make great Christmas presents if you contribute in someone's name ;).

Emily said...

Wow. Thanks for posting this. We are involved with several programs already, but I ws telling my husband the other day that I wanted to find some more and really work on teaching our children compassion, giving, and gratitude.

shortmama said...

What a great list of worthy causes. We love giving to others in our household too!

Corrie Howe said...

Thanks for putting all this time and thought into your post. I always have taken books to the local school, but a literacy program is a great idea!

I was proud when my teenager decided to give blood on his own for the first time.

And so many of the things you listed don't take a lot of time or money but have a huge impact on others.

tori said...

what a great post!! thank you for sharing all these links (it must have taken a long time-but so worth it) thanks!

Pricilla said...

What a great post. I volunteer at our food bank and the need has grown in our little community in the last year. It is very scary.

Our donations are down and demand is up we are hoping we make it through next year with enough food to meet that demand.

Lauren said...

What a great list of resources! Thanks!

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

This is wonderful! Thanks for putting this together.

JenJen said...

JennyMac: thank you for this! It's exactly what I needed!

Erin said...

Jenny--
I am going to share this if that's okay with you? What an amazing and inspiring list. Everyone can find something, especially me. And we all need gentle reminders. Thank you for posting such thoughtful ideas at such an appropriate time.

Ashley @ KiwisandCocktails said...

Those are great ideas to share!
I have done the normal food bank and toys for tots...but looking for a little something more, so this is great! Thanks for sharing.

Poindexter said...

Thank you for the wonderful ideas. Just perfect.

Prairie Girl Studio said...

thanks to 'my name is pj', i have not only taken your 31 days of goodness to heart, but i was compelled to share you and your goodness with a posting today ... thank you for putting a spark into the true spirit that we all are seeking these days ...
big hug and cheers!
prairiegirl

Mama Kat said...

This is a great list!!! Thank you! I'm definitely going to check out some of these options!

Blondie said...

Amazing post sweetie! Simone over at the Ironing Basket sent me over. I love the blog and have followed you! If you get a chance, check mine out! http://blondeepisodes.blogspot.com Kori xoxo

E @ Scottsville said...

Great post!!! So glad you're encouraging others (us) to get involved. =0)

Eva Gallant said...

This was a truly great list and useful post!

JennyMac said...

Thank you all for reading and I am happy to have you share it. I would love it if everyone we knew did just one thing on this list..imagine the difference!

I tried to email you Simone but your email is not on your site. :) I LOVE kiva...its so inspiring. And for some reason, Mozilla and Internet Explorer will not let me comment on your site today. BOO! My laptop has trouble sometimes with embedded comments.

Sally-Sal said...

The best thing about this post is your kind heart. :)

You just made my day, the way you decided to help someone else. Thank you for being you.

linlah said...

Sometimes it takes so little to give so much.

Baloney said...

Excellent. I will be passing this one along.

HalfAsstic.com said...

Jennymac, that was a wonderful list and so very appropriate for this time of year. I will be linking to it, (and crediting you, of course!), and challenging everyone to choose something and stick with it all year in 2010.
Thank you so much!

Lori said...

What a wonderful list and with web links to boot! Simone sent me over and I am so glad she did!

Kelly H-Y said...

Great post ... fabulous suggestions! Happy December! :-)

Intense Guy said...

This entry is as beautiful as its author.

I will try to do several of these and do my "share".

Tomorrow I'm going to a nursing home and singing Christmas songs with a small guitar playing group. Most of the time I just help the old folks turn to the right page in the program.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Wow! Thank you for those amazing ideas!

UberGrumpy said...

Thank you! Inspirational, apart from...

No. 5.

Please check my last post and never, ever do it again.

blueviolet said...

There are actually so many good ideas here that I'm printing it out. Thanks JennyMac!

Sabrina said...

Lots of great ideas in there. And a wonderful reminder to be thankful for everything we have -- no matter what time of year it is.

otin said...

That was a great list! I give to the goodwill and salvation army quite a bit. I do what I can.

K a b l o o e y said...

This is great! Thanks for making it so easy; I've been looking for more things to do with my daughter and I'm bookmarking and going though this with her tomorrow.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

You are truly a girl after my own heart JM! I will print your list out and share it with others. I am working on a book collection project now for our local elementary school, to ensure every child gets a book for Christmas. And collecting for the local food bank. Giving heals! And blesses.
Great Post!
<><

Cocaine Princess said...

Great post and what a great list. Have a happy December.

AnnQ said...

What a fabulous post...I now have a daily reminder email sent to me for the free kibble to shelter dogs, and am sending lots of these to friends and family...Project Night Night was especially touching...

Margo said...

Lovely post. I appreciate all the effort that went into compiling such a great list - so many different ideas that I didn't know about. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season :)

The Savage said...

People like you and your family MAKE Christmas. You are made of awesome, Jenny Mac. Made of awesome indeed....

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

Oh that is such a great list of things to do! You are so right... we are so blessed to have what we have...

Slamdunk said...

Comprehensive list--something for all. The give blood thing is not a gift that everyone can provide, but it is certainly a need that helps many.

Conquer The Monkey said...

This is so great, I think I need to send my readers, friends and family here to get this list,
thanks so much,
I am all about the giving back, this is fabulous.

LucyCooper said...

NICE list, Jenny Mac.

You can also give gifts in honor of family members or friends to many organizations, both national and local. Most of them will send an acknowledgement/ card to the honoree. My sis-in-law and I are doing this for Christmas and our December b-days.

I Wonder Wye said...

Excellent post... we have an angel tree and adopt a family, give away coats, and donate to the food bank and rice depot. And we donate to the animal charities and have a mustang sanctuary, so all in all, I feel pretty blessed as well......great list....

Little Ms J said...

I read the first sentence and thought of a smarmy little comment. Then I read the second and fell in love with you. I am a huge advocate of giving year round, but I love nothing more than making the most of the holidays for someone who is less fortunate. This year it is a party for the Make a Wish kids and a turkey dinner for a family whose child has cancer.

Happy Holidays, doll. I'm glad you posted this gem.

Rowe said...

Great ideas here, Jen. This reminds me how fortunate I am to step into a hot shower each morning, to have the convenience of running water and to even have a roof over my head. Homeless children is very sad to comprehend.

Jeff Wiedner said...

Thanks for the post, Jen! Really appreciate thoughtful posts on ways to be less focused on the usual consumerism holidays. Cheers.

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

Wonderful ideas! Thank you for sharing ... is it OK if I post link on my blog (and take all the credit ... haha ... kidding)? For real(s yo) I want to share these great options to give back over the holidays. Let me know if it is ok and I will share ... THANKS!

Word Designer said...

Hello,
I am here from Seens From The Backs of My Eyelids and I am so glad she sent me. This is a wonderful way to spread the blessings that have been shared with us. Thank you for all of it.

Word Designer
Architect of Prose

Laoch of Chicago said...

Right on.

Secretia said...

Jennymac, you did a wonderful service to humanity with this list. Thank you for your efforts. I'll select a few items myself to help others!

Sincerely, Secretia

kilax said...

That is so great that you adopted a family!

Thanks for the tips. I didn't even think of taking my old mags to a womens' shelter! I tried to donate them at my library but they wouldn't take them ;)

Kato said...

I will absolutely be coming back to this list time and time again.

Thank you thank you for posting this one!

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nice post here... and some great ideas for this christmas...

i followed a link here from the walkingman... nice to find your blog... a beautiful space