So much of the holiday season is filled with both the stresses and the joys of finding the perfect gifts for your family, friends, and significant other. We become so overwhelmed with that pressure, that it’s sometimes easy to ignore what’s going on outside of that bubble. This holiday season, and unfortunately every day, there are millions of people who won’t have their wants met. But even more importantly, many won’t have their needs met.
There are so, so many ways to help. You might offer up your money, your time, your prayers and good vibes. You might offer up your platform. Whatever it is you’re willing to give, it’s meaningful, and important, and there’s no time like the present to get started! In no way am I telling you what to do with your time or money here. What I am doing though, is telling you that I’ve done some research, and that my heart really resonates with what you’re about to read!
The Big Picture
I want to mention first and foremost, that we’ve experienced a ton of natural disasters in 2017. There are so many different ways to provide relief, and through a vast array of outlets. Most recently, parts of Southern California have been devastated by wildfires. I’ve attached an article here noting ways to help people and animals during this difficult time. Many parts of the US are in recover and rebuild mode. If you’d like to help, choose a cause or causes that are close to you and decide which way you best see fit to help.
The closest cause to my heart personally, is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. To put it bluntly, cancer is a bitch. Childhood cancer is something I can’t even wrap my brain around, and it breaks my heart.
What you ought to know:
- Approximately 75% of the funds necessary to operate and grow St. Jude are raised from donors like you or me.
- Families and patients never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food. Why? Because they believe that a family’s only priority should be their child’s survival. Incredible.
- 82 cents of every dollar donated goes to treatment, research, and the resources necessary to keep the hospital growing and saving lives.
If you want to learn more about St. Jude, I encourage you to visit their website. If you feel called to donate year round, consider becoming a Partner In Hope and making hassle free monthly donations. There are even fun add-ons, like delegating a portion of your donation to ‘End of chemo’ parties!
To the same tune, my awesome and inspirational friend Kayla, has a kickstarter for her sure-to-be incredible documentary, VINCIBLE. A little backstory here, Kayla was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at age 24. Yeah, you read that right. I happened to barge right into her life a few days after that diagnosis, and she’s been my hero ever since. She’s gone on to make an incredible recovery, meet the love of her life, and truly miraculously, give birth to a beautiful baby girl named Charlee (and yeah, that name is about as close to my heart as they come).
So, what does she do when she’s not kicking ass and defying the laws of nature? Well, that’s where VINCIBLE comes in. VINCIBLE is a documentary in process that follows the lives of young adults in the survivor, treatment, and unfortunately, near-end stages of cancer. Kayla is hoping to create a voice for the 70,000 young adults who are diagnosed with cancer each year. This demographic is one that hasn’t seen much of an increased survival rate in the last 30 years, due to delayed diagnosis, and a “You’re too young for cancer,” mentality.
What can you do?:
- Donate to VINCIBLE’s Kickstarter, which runs through December 22nd. They have exceeded their goal, but I know that every penny will be well used for the completion of this important project and in the young adult cancer community.
- Simply donate to VINCIBLE. The goal here is to raise awareness before the documentary is completed.
- Donate your skills or supplies to the VINCIBLE team. Do you have any production skills or equipment? Lend your time or your stuff to the team.
This week, as I’ve been struggling not to snack through leftover Halloween candy and an endless supply of chocolate chip granola bars, it’s really hard for me to even fathom hunger. Starvation. The huge number of people in every community that don’t know when they’ll have their next meal.
I feel really fortunate to have learned so much about the Mid-Ohio Foodbank through my employer. They put food on the table for so many people in our community. Be on the lookout for match days when their sponsors will match your donation! Check this out to learn more about ways to help the Mid-Ohio Foodbank! Wherever you are, I encourage you to do some research on eliminating hunger in your community!
I can’t believe I’m just learning about this, but each year, the Boy Scouts of America run a food donation campaign called Scouting for Food (freaking cuuuuuuute). This campaign simply leaves bags or boxes on the front doors of the scouts’ communities that are (hopefully) filled with canned goods to be picked up in December and delivered to local food banks and soup kitchens. This was all over my WV community, but I didn’t see it in my corner of the ‘midwest’ this year. Here’s to seeing what we can do about that next year!
Don’t have extra money or food laying around? Volunteer some of your time to your local food bank. Your time will make a huge difference in the effort to ensure no one in your community goes hungry.
Short on time? Make a quick phone call and contact your elected officials to express your concern with hunger in your area.
Our Furry Friends
Okay, what about your furry friends? Check out your local SPCA or animal shelter! If at all possible, I would suggest giving your time to this outlet. With a former employer, a group of us spent an entire day mostly cleaning up poop, to be honest. But after hours of scooping, scrubbing, and bagging, our hearts were all totally warmed to spend time with some of the animals that will find their furever homes through adoption. Learn more by doing some research on ways to help animals out where you live!
A Gift for Christmas
Let’s leave on a lighter note and talk about Toys for Tots. You know, Christmas isn’t all about unwrapping presents and stuff, but it sure does make me sad to think of little ones whose caretakers may not have the money to provide them with any toys. Enter Toys for Tots, with one simple goal: give hope to kids with a new toy for Christmas. Visit their website to learn more about the process and make the holidays a little brighter for a child!
Guys, these are just a few of the awesome ways to give this holiday season. What are some causes close to your heart? I’d love to know!
xoxo leigh ann