25 Ways to Spread Kindness during the Holiday Season (…without breaking the bank)

President John F. Kennedy once said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” We think that sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving prescription to spread a little (or a lot!) of goodness this year.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to save the planet or to make a difference in someone’s life. You can make a difference today, everyday… and change the world forever!

 

25 Ways to Spread Kindness this Thanksgiving (without breaking the bank):

1. SMILE!  “Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”  ―    Mother Teresa

2. Hold a food drive. Enlist help from family,  friends, and members of your community to host a food drive, collecting canned  goods for your local shelter or fresh produce for a local soup kitchen.

3. Donate old sneakers to Nike-Reuse-A-Shoe!  They’ll turn them into safe playground surfaces for children.

4. Bake a Difference!  Bake cookies for a local fundraiser to support a chosen cause or host a charitable bake sale of your own to benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

5. Give!  Give what you can, when you can.  As Anne Frank said in The Diary of Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” There is always something you can give.

6. Test Yourself. Learn new words with the free vocabulary test at FreeRice.com, and for every answer you get right, the site’s sponsors will donate enough money to purchase twenty grains of rice to the UN World Food Program.

7. Do consider using your skills, experience and talents to help out as an alternative to giving money.

8. Clean your closet and donate career attire to Dress for Success for women or Career Gear for men. Your donation will provide professional clothing to low-income people seeking employment.

9. Surf for the earth. Powered by Google, Ecosearch.org returns search results with an environmental kick: The site donates 100 percent of search revenues to nonprofits, such as Rainforest Alliance and the Sierra Club.

10. Tutor. Whether you’re helping a student understand Macbeth or teaching an adult the basics of reading, literacy tutoring can be a fun–and important–way to donate your time. Log on to LiteracyDirectory.org to learn more.

11. Get crafty. Put your creative talents and hobbies to work and make afghans for needy families or quilts for seriously ill or traumatized children.

12. Invite a solo friend or acquaintance to your holiday meal.

13. LOVE! “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, and don’t put up with people that are reckless with yours.”  ―  Mary Schmich

14. Volunteer to walk and play with homeless animals at a nearby pet shelter.

15. Give gifts that give back.

16. Donate books to a good cause (a nearby school, hospital or library).  You’ll give the tomes a second life and spare the landfills.

17. Give Blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives.  Donate blood at your local Red Cross. Community drives happen regularly and many large communities have places where you can donate throughout the year.

18. Don’t worry about giving “small” – “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  ―    Desmond Tutu

19. Give a small loan to help budding entrepreneurs by lending to a Kiva project.

20. Volunteer a few hours at a local food bank, community kitchen, hospital, elderly home or charity drive.  Your time is one of the greatest gifts you can give!

21. Knit for good. Knits hats for the homeless, blankets for newborn babies, teddy’s for foster children.  There’s nothing quite like a handmade gift.

22. Deliver Thanksgiving dinners to housebound people.  Contact your local Meals on  Wheels group and offer to deliver holiday meals to elderly and sick people in your area.

23. Donate coats.  Provide winter warmth for children and families in need: Donate jackets, mitts, scarves and the like to local coat drives or schools.

24. Thank a soldier! Show your appreciation for our Military Men and Women and Thank the troops. Send a card of thanks to a hero.

25. Make it simple, make kindness your religion. The spirit of Thanksgiving is all about the thanks and the giving.  It’s about  gratitude for your blessings and sharing with others. Express gratitude this holiday season with graciousness and gratitude.  And don’t forget — be kind to yourself too!  You deserve it.

 

D-I-Y Kindness-Chic: Quilts for Kids

(Photo Source: Etsy.com)

Each year more than 6 million children in America require hospital stays.  As wonderful and healing as hospital’s are, sometimes that therapeutic experience can be a little scary for young ones.

To make the stay a little less daunting, caring company, Downy  partnered with the nonprofit organization, Quilts for Kids to provide handmade-with-love blankets to the youngest of patients requiring a hospital stay.  Since 2009 Downy’s Touch of Comfort program has delivered more than 20,000 warm and cuddly blankets to help soothe hospitalized children.

If you’re a D-I-Y giver, with a flair for quilting, head over to downy.com.  Although the company has filled its quota of hand-made quilts, it makes it super-easy for sewers (even beginners) to get involved in the do-good, give-back efforts with Quilts for Kids, by offering a free downloadable Touch of Comfort heart quilt pattern  – the perfect way to cover someone with love!

Click “Like” on Facebook to Donate Free Juice to Children In Need

Got Facebook?  Here’s a quick and wonderfully easy way to give to a child in need, using your Facebook “Like” button.
Now through March 31, YOU can make a difference in the lives of hungry children and families by becoming a Sun Shower fan.
For every new Facebook fan, Sun Shower is donating one bottle of juice to Second Harvest-supported food banks across the country. 
Do it now. Do it for a kid.
Haven’t set up your own Facebook account yet?  It’s easy and free!  Look for the green Sign Up button in the upper left corner of the screen to get started.  Welcome to the Sun Shower Facebook Community!
Double the difference made and become a fan of Drenchers, too!

Today’s Pink Product Pick: The KitchenAid Cook For the Cure Artisan Mixer

In support of a cure for breast cancer, pink is a wonderful color for the celebrity appliance in your kitchen! When you purchase this pastel appliance, KitchenAid will donate fifty dollars to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Cook for the Cure! I love this mixer! What’s not to love? You can make anything from creamed butter, cookie dough and dough for bread. The mixer can be used at 10 different speeds, which gives you greater control in the mixing process. A large 5 quart bowl allows you to hold all your ingredients together without any major problems. The head of the mixer can be tilted back, which makes it very easy to access your mixture. The Pink KitchenAid mixer also comes with a 2-piece pouring shield, that also has a large opening to add more ingredients.  I especially love that $50 of my purchase goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer research foundation. I’ve wanted one of these for SO long, and I’m going to donate my older KitchenAid model to our local soup kitchen and treat myself to this beautiful Artisan model. I’ve been considering a stand mixer for a while, so this looks like the perfect model for me. So pretty…
http://www.kitchenaid.com/
$349



iCoke – Give your points for Peace

Give Your Points for Peace!

Peace One Day is a non-profit organization on a mission; to tell the world about Peace Day September 21 – the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence – and they need your help.

Learn more about Peace One Day

In 1999, filmmaker Jeremy Gilley founded the non-profit organization Peace One Day. His mission: to establish the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed date, and document his journey. His efforts were rewarded in 2001 when the day was adopted unanimously by the member states of the United Nations as September 21 – Peace Day.

Do your part to support Peace One Day on iCoke.ca:
Redeem 500 iCoke Points™ for the “Peace For One Day” mp3 – by Dave Stewart and Jimmy Cliff, and Coca-Cola will donate $5 – with the ultimate goal of raising $25,000 for Peace One Day.

 

Walk to Help Overcome ovarian cancer in the Winners Walk of Hope

Join Ovarian Cancer Canada’s 9th annual Winners Walk of Hope on September 12, 2010. The Winners Walk of Hope is the single largest fundraiser in Canada that supports ovarian cancer awareness, education and research. Last year 11,000 participants raised more than $2.3M. This year the goal is to raise a record-breaking $2.5M!

What you can do to support the walk:

~Join or Start a Team -Winners Walk of Hope events take place across the country providing participants with the opportunity to join together with thousands of others to overcome ovarian cancer. Find a walk location near you!

~Participate as a virtual walker – Can’t make it to Walk?  No problem, you can join as a Virtual Walker.

As a Virtual Walk participant you can show your support for this remarkable event by raising funds for Ovarian Cancer Canada without physically attending a Walk.

~Make a Mini Walk event in your Area – If there isn’t a national Walk in your area, why not create one in your community? To learn more about starting a Mini Walk please contact us by e-mail at info@winnerswalkofhope.ca or by phone at 1-877-413-7970 ext. 226.

~Donate – Every bit helps!

~Volunteer – An event like this is rarely possible without the dedication and involvement of volunteers.  Whether you want to be a part of the prize patrol, brochure distribution or food and beverage team, volunteering with the Walk is an integral part of its success.  Find volunteer ops here.

Family Philanthropy – Finding Family Service Projects

We know you’re busy, but it is possible to participate in family service project no matter if you’re short on cash or short on time. You don’t need to start a non-profit or donate millions of dollars to feel like you’re making a difference – even the busiest of us can donate some of our family-fun hours to a good cause. Whether spending time at home, in nature or on vacation, families can get enjoyment – and a dose of social awareness – from simple activities that double as a charitable boost. 
To find a volunteer opp or service project for your family, start here:


      Family Volunteering familycares.org

      Idea List Guide to Family Volunteering idealist.org/kt/familyvolunteer.html

      Doing Good Together doinggoodtogether.org

      The Volunteer Family volunteerfamily.org/


      Kids for Community – Youth Volunteer Opportunities Kidsforcommunity.org

      The Volunteer Family – thevolunteerfamily.org/

      The International Association for Volunteer Effort – www.iave.org/

      PBS Kids – www-tc.pbskids.org/zoom/grownups/action/pdfs/volunteer_guide.pdf

      The Nature Conservancy – nature.org/volunteer/

      Volunteer Spot – volunteerspot.com/

Bra Recycling – Providing bras to women in need

If you’re like me, when you hear the word “recycling,” you immediately think of a paper recycling or collecting containers of aluminum cans. Here’s a twist, however, on the traditional model of recycling.  One organization wants women across the country to think about recycling their bras, in addition to all the traditional recycling items.

The Bra Recyclers is part of the Bosom Buddy organization, an Arizona-based 501(c)3 organization.
Bosom Buddy Recycling will take your old bras and give them to deserving women around the country including women’s shelters, transitional housing, and breast cancer-survivor support groups.


We all have a few bras we’ll never wear again or that we never have worn due to fit, either way, don’t toss out that bra.  There are plenty of people in need of what you have, right now. Click here to learn more.

Recycling Your Bras in 4 easy steps:
Wash It. All bras should be washed.

Tag It. Fill out Bra Recycling Form.

Box It. Place your bras in a box or large envelope.

Drop It Off or Mail It to:

3317 S. Higley Rd, Ste 114-441

Gilbert, AZ 85297

How you can help in the Gulf Oil Disaster – No Matter Where You Live

When I see pictures or hear new stories on the Gulf Coast Oil spill, it infuriates and saddens me. I realize I can’t travel to the area to provide immediate assistance, however there are a number of things both me and you can do to help in this disaster. This week I’ll feature some great ideas to help out.

Today:  The National Audubon Society is encouraging you to write a letter to let your Members of Congress know why the wetlands of Coastal Louisiana are important to you, asking officials to Support Full Funding for Coastal Louisiana Restoration



The Audubon Action Center is asking for people to write to their senators and members of Congress to support President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, which includes $35.6 million for larger coastal restoration projects. The site has a suggested letter that can be edited and sent out.

In addition, The Audubon Society is encouraging members of the public to contact the Interior Department and encourage them to halt the expansion of offshore oil drilling in the eastern United States.

And, for those who live in the Gulf area who would like to get more involved, Audubon is recruiting volunteers to be trained to respond to the oil spill.
It’s easy to care in times of disaster.  Now is the time when a thousand small actions have the opportunity to positively influence the future. Get involved today!

USA Today: Kindness, Charity, Philanthropy and Social Responsiblity

Did you know that USATODAY.com has a feature dedicated to giving back? How great right?  Check it out here Kindness: New ways we give and volunteer.
As the website says,
Kindness is your daily source of inspiration and guide to making a difference in fresh and exciting ways, no matter where you are. Each day, this site will unearth unique stories of giving with exclusive interviews, fresh takes on news stories, plenty of tips, and links to interesting resources.”

Reporter Christie Garton reports on philanthropic happenings around the world – from heroes helping victims of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill to cross country bike tours for charity. Get a daily dose of goodness at USAToday.com!

Saturday May 8th STAMP OUT HUNGER

On Saturday, May 8th, 2010, Post offices across the United States will be collecting food items and deliver them to local food banks to help millions of Americans, including an estimated 49.1 million Americans who are at risk of hunger.  Stamp Out Hunger is the nation’s largest one-day food drive!

It’s Easy to Help!

All you need to do is just put out a couple non-perishable food items by your mailbox on May 8th and either your carrier or a volunteer will pick it up and deliver it to food banks. To Learn more go to helpstampouthunger.com
Don’t Forget to Help Stamp out Hunger on Facebook too…

Become a fan of Stamp out Hunger and Campbell’s will make 1* can of soup donation to Feeding America! (*Up to 1 million cans of soup)

The program which began in 1993 has helped donate over one billion pounds of food to hungry families. For more information on the “Stamp Out Hunger” effort in your community, ask your letter carrier, contact your local post office or visit http://www.helpstampouthunger.com/. You can also follow the drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger or text STAMP3 to 30305* to sign up for mobile reminders.

About Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup, baked snacks, and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands, including “Campbell’s,” “Pepperidge Farm,” “Arnott’s,” and “V8.” For more information on the company, visit Campbell’s website at http://www.campbellsoup.com/.

About Feeding America 
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. Feeding America is based in Chicago. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Feeding America  or follow our news on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Feedingamerica.


About the National Association of Letter Carriers
The National Association of Letter Carrier union is the collective bargaining representative for all city delivery letter carriers of the U.S. Postal Service throughout the United States, with 295,000 active and retired members. It is an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).


About the United States Postal Service
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no direct support from taxpayers. With 36,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, the Postal Service relies on the sale of postage, products and services to pay for operating expenses. Named the Most Trusted Government Agency five consecutive years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $68 billion and delivers nearly half the world’s mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 28th in the 2009 Fortune 500.

Drink to Help Haitian Mango Farmers

Drink Haiti Hope and Give Haiti Hope.

Purchase a bottle of Odwalla Haiti Hope Mango Lime-Aid and 100% of profits go directly to the Haiti Hope Project.
The Haiti Hope Project

In the wake of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, TechnoServe is partnering with The Coca-Cola Company on the Haiti Hope Project, whose objective is to create a sustainable Haitian mango industry and play a role in the island nation’s long-term recovery efforts. TechnoServe will help Haitian mango farmers grow their crops more efficiently, produce additional crops to boost their incomes and create businesses allowing them to access markets sustainably. One hundred percent of the profit from the Odwalla Haiti Hope Mango Lime-Aid will go to the project. The Coca-Cola Company has committed $3.5 million to the Haiti Hope Project. The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund has made the Haiti Hope Project eligible for $3 million in funding, and expects to soon obtain its board’s approval of the grant. The efforts of TechnoServe, The Coca-Cola Company and other donors and partners will help Haitian communities rebuild and create a better future.
To Learn more about raising a bottle to a more fruitful future for Haiti, visit Facebook.com/Odwalla.

Day 30 of 30Days/30 Ways to GIVE: Make a Difference, Everyday!

We’ve reached the end of our “30 Days/30 Ways to Give” program.  I thank you all for taking part in this inititiave during National Volunteer Month and I hope you each take something away, that you can do in your daily life, from this blog.

Mother Theresa once said, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Consider these words as you silence that little voice that says, “But I’m only one person,” and remember that small actions and decisions can add up to great change. There are thousands of people out there who feel the same way you do, who want to leave our world a better place—with everyday philanthropy, perhaps we can.

Stay tuned…