Friday, January 23, 2015

The heart that gives, gathers - Tao Te Ching



Every January I pick the charities I'm going to focus on that year so I can look for volunteer events and set our charity budget. Charitable donations of all kinds are very important to me and MFD. We believe in helping others and that life is not complete unless we're doing that. We believed that when we were young and struggling, hoping we could pay all the bills that month and eating noodles for dinner, and we believe it now. Even when you have no money, you have time, and time is much needed.

While I do give to help others, I also give because giving makes me feel good. There's something intrinsically, instinctively human in seeing a need and doing whatever small thing you can to fill it without wanting anything in return. I'm a reflection of my community and what does it say about me if I ignore situations in front of me that could use my help?
I wanted to share this year's choices with you not to be all look what I do but to spread the word about the charities I've chosen and tell you why I've chosen them. You might find one here that resonates with you, or it might inspire you to think about the impact you want to have in your community this year. The giving spirit can spread like a virus - when I hear of others helping, I want to help too. Let's spread the giving sickness like wildfire.

Project HOME
Their mission is quite simple: none of us are home until all of us are home. Project HOME works to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. I like that this organization is close to my office and helps the homeless people I pass on the streets and in the train station every day. Philly friends, the homeless outreach hotline is 215-232-1984. If it's freezing or if you see someone struggling on the streets, give them a call.
Closer to our home and his office in Bucks County, MFD volunteers with Advocates for Homeless and Those in Need, an interfaith nonprofit providing temporary help to the homeless and those in need by offering emergency shelter, food, clothing, and other related services with dignity and compassion. He works on Wheels to Meals year round and Code Blue overnights during the colder months.

Rosa's Fresh Pizza
I first mentioned Rosa's here, and have since shared updates on my FB page as they got facetime from the local Philadelphia media as well as Ellen and People Mag.  I am crazy about this guy's business model. He wants to serve me hot, fresh, delicious pizza for $1 and also give me the opportunity to feed someone else in a dignified manner that day? SOLD. You can also purchase t-shirts and sweatshirts to help the cause. When I can't make it down there, I simply buy Little Rosas online and I can feed one, two, five, 10 people with the click of a button. It reminds me of Mother Teresa. Do what you can. Rosa's gives you the opportunity to help someone with just a dollar.


Bark For Life
This is the first year in I don't even know how long that I will not be at a Relay For Life event. I love Relay because it honors those with all types of cancer, and unfortunately we know many people who have or had all types of cancer. Both Relays local to me are on the same day, a little later in the month than usual, and occur when I'm away on vacation. Since I can't physically be there, I'll be donating to a friend's team and forcing my dogs and two additional lucky handlers to participate in Bark For Life in May. Bark money goes to the American Cancer Society as well and supports their research, patient advocacy, and patient programs.  I'm also looking for a Pancreatic Cancer Walk in the Philadelphia area that my family can do in memory of my Grandmom. Please let me know if you know or hear of any.


Bucks County Housing Group Food Pantry
Aside from not having a home, nothing makes me sadder than thinking of people going hungry or being unable to afford to feed their families. This program is independently operated and funded. MFD passes by one of the food pantries frequently so he can drop off our donations. It's important to remember that they need food donations all year - not just at the holidays.

At Christmas we'll be adopting a family through the workplace of our friend Jack. I always want to do this and forget and end up spending most of my budgeted charity money with Toys for Tots. We'll still do some for that, but the majority will be for this to address specific needs of kids.

We'll also support charitable causes/activities/races of family and friends (usually Charity: Water, Lupus Foundation, Wounded Warrior, Juvenile Diabetes, National Multiple Sclerosis Society) as we typically do throughout the year, but these five above are where my attention will be focused: I want to keep it local this year. MFD has a few of his own to add to the list as well, I'm sure.

What about you? What types of causes speak to you? How do you give back?

Do you guys read Karen at Book Delight? Fellow readers, you should follow her. You'll enjoy her posts. Anyway, I'm over on her blog today talking about my five favorite books. If you know me, you know that was an impossible list to make. Click here to see it. Thanks for the invite Karen!

I have something special for you tomorrow! A super simple, healthy, and quick breakfast recipe from Nicole Marica. See you in the a.m.

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Linking up with Amanda for Friday Favorites.


27 comments:

  1. Awesome post!!! :) Giving back is so important, I agree!

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  2. You know this makes my heart happen. Nothing better than helping those in need when you can. Children, pets and cancer always make my list too.

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  3. this gives me the warm and fuzzies and not a lot of things do that because i'm a cold hearted asshole.
    that said, i love how you get so involved and give back; all humans should! i set aside a large sum of my (business) money to give back - i sponsor all of my friends who do any type of charitable event (ie. the Becel Ride for Heart etc), outside of that, i donate separately to the Heart and Stroke Foundation which is near and dear to me because my father died from a heart attack; i give to my local hospital because they're awesome and also to the mental health charity from my office since i was personally afflicted with PPD.

    i also plan on bringing kayla with me to local shelters (when she's older) so that we can contribute in some way, whether that's helping serve meals during the holidays or help package goods for food drives. i also read that there's a center that accepts donations of clothes/goods etc, sorts them and distributes them to other shelters and they were looking for volunteers to help. giving back is a very important thing to do!!!!

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  4. Saving this as a reference. I have donated to the food bank and should do so again.
    I know Sue does a pancreatic cancer walk in the summer. I will ask her. I believe it is in July and local. #keepongiving
    Love, your Momma

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  5. This is great! Continuing the cycle of generosity benefits everyone (both the giver and the receiver). I give to my church monthly and also give to support a few local organizations like Room in the Inn (providing food and shelter to the homeless in my city) and The Children's Attention Home/Palmetto School (provides shelter/safety/schooling for children displaced from their homes by DSS because of parents in jail, neglect, abuse, etc.).

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  6. Definitely saving this post--such great information here. I've been running miles for She's The First which is an organization that helps women become the first in their families to not only go to college but graduate. We also do other various charity events throughout the year, but we could be more purposeful with it.

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  7. We usually do a gift tree that is at our church during the holidays. It's important to me to teach my daughter that not every child is as fortunate. I'm also trying to do something with books and reading that I could share on my site too. My mom is a reading teacher and she was always involved in these special education charity programs that I would love to work with. Thank you so much for sharing your book picks today!

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  8. I need to do better about being a year round giver. I have time, I would really like to get involved with something for senior citizens as my Grandparents were so important in my life and I just adore old folks. My kids and I participate in one of our local talk radio guys Christmas charities... Clark Howard's Christmas Kids. We get a list for a child in need and then go shopping and purchase as much as we can for that child. My kids really get into picking the stuff out and thinking about how excited the kid will be!

    Love the Bark for Life idea!! We are always looking for fun things to do with our pup. I did not know about this... getting it on my calendar today!

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  9. I LOVE this post. I used to volunteer with an organization similar to HOME. I like that they get to the root of the issue, instead of putting a bandaid on it. You are a good human... :)

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  10. This year I wanted to run more, and since so many races are fundraisers, I thought that would be a great way to combine running motivation with charity. One cause that my sister is really involved with is the Back on My Feet program, which also works with homeless people. My sister is more involved than I am - she goes running with the homeless every week, but I figured the least I can do is sign up for the 5-Miler in March. And there's a couple other races - The Reindeer Run (Special Olympics), and I donated to my sister's Tour to the Shore for MS. Unfortunately the MS organization now sends me a but-ton of mail, so I might not donate to them again in the future.

    And then my favorite charity (the one I actually give monthly donations to) is the Nurse Family Partnership which I found about through The Center for High Impact Philanthropy. At some point, when funds allow, I might choose another one, but I really like the idea of maximizing the potential of donations, so I'll research it through them again.

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  11. love this post - i totally agree, hearing about other people helping, it inspires me to do the same. I have made it a goal this year to do something each month - even if it's something small, it's better than nothing at all, which is basically what I've been doing the past 20 something years.. Not on purpose, but life and time gets away from you. I'm not excusing it, I'm just trying to be better this year. I honestly didn't know where to start other than goodwill and the like, so I am going to look for places and charities like this around home. definitely adding a reminder to do the little rosa purchase though - what a brilliant company.

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  12. Wonderful post girl!!! As Amy said, I need to be better about giving year round and maybe making it a monthly thing!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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  13. very cool list, you rock. You know me, I only give to animal charities. Save all the doggies! It saves me from becoming an animal hoarder, because I can't resist those furry faces.

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  14. This is great! I always help around Thanksgiving and Christmas but year round would be great too! I need to check out what I can do around here.

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  15. I definitely need to make a list like this and set aside money every month. I typically don't turn down anyone that asks, calls for or mails donation requests, but it'd be nice not wait until December when they all ask. (This year, we spent as much on donations as we did Christmas presents for everyone on our list). My priorities are Charity: Water, AmfAR, and The Red Cross. And locally, I wait for our county wide double donation day and give to the library, Q Youth Resources (LGTBQ Youth), the homeless shelter, The Food Line, Seattle Children's Hospital, the Humane Society, and Easter Seals.

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  16. That Rosa's business model sounds so great! Make it so easy to give. I used to have money taken out of my paycheck that goes directly to charitable organizations I've selected. We gave to an org. that helps fight childhood hunger and another for people to have a place to get help setting up their first house/apartment. This year, I was inspired by an NPR TED Podcast to just be more aware of the people who need help around me. Even giving to the guy on the corner, which I never would have before.

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  17. what a great idea! it's not that hard to give back in some way. I currently volunteer at my local library and then I have a plan to create at least two bears to auction off for charity through the Quilts by Nicole page (I'm creating a lupus one in May to honor MJ!!). every little bit helps, thanks for sharing this excellent post!

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  18. I like your list. I've given to Autism Speaks as well as Project Warrior. I tend to keep my charities to special needs and the military.

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  19. I love how big your heart is!!! And I love that you are sharing the organizations in which you are focusing this year! Each one is such a great cause!

    I volunteer at the Humane Society, so i am constantly giving to them. I also plan to make the Feed the Firehouse Food Drive event that I did in December an annual thing for the blogging group I run. I may look for a few walk/runs for other fundraising events to participate in this year as well.

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  20. I also love volunteering and giving back to the community. So far Im in with the VA clinic, Children's home society of FL, Special olympics of FL, Victim service center of Orlando (sexual assault victims) and a few others.

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  21. I think it's amazing to hear about places like Rosa's. How awesome is that? So many businesses these days are greedy and all about money. I imagine they are also all about money, but they also care about people. So awesome! I think since I have a child, right now I am always wanting to help children, or families. And money isn't always around, but I agree time is a huge need. That can sometimes be more than money. AND - you can get your kids involved and help them to understand at an early age!

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  22. I am a lazy, lazy woman, so I ADORE charities where I can help just by clicking and sending money. Or by eating! I wonder if I can make it to Rosa's for lunch one day? Or instead of going across the street and buying pizza, bringing my own lunch and sending $7 of pizza through their site.

    We currently have a bunch of loans out through Kiva. In December we buy games for CHOP through the Child's Play organization. I give blood 2-3 times a year (saving lives by lying down & having a cookie - PERFECT for me!), and I'm thinking of starting up sending money to Habitat for Humanity.

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  23. I'm involved with a lot of children's charities because, you know, I love children. My heart breaks for them. But I made it a mission to help more with the homeless this year.

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  24. Bark For Life... how cute is that?! What a great idea!!!!!

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  25. Project HOME sounds like a fabulous organization. We support the Ronald McDonald House of Central Texas...I used to support through volunteering but as my available time became more limited, we switched to just supporting the organization monetarily. I volunteer my time with a middle schooler of an incarcerated parent, which is my favorite hour of every week!

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  26. Such a great post! I love that MFD volunteers so much too. You rarely see the men doing the leg work and I totally commend that :)

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