Sunday, November 11, 2007

Give


I believe in the Margaret Mead quote,

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
I am reminded that I need to figure out a meaningful way for my family to volunteer.

Here are a few of the resources I'm using in case anyone else is as anal as me planning ahead this season:


Charity Guide offers suggestions for making a difference by volunteering for just 15 minutes, a few hours or even on vacation.

Volunteermatch can find opportunities for you if you search on your own zip code.

Another good place to search is Idealist.

Visit Hands On Network for a list of local volunteer organizations that plan and manage hundreds of volunteer opportunities every month and all year long. They have family / kid friendly volunteer opportunities and a whole host of holiday projects.

You can also look up your local volunteer center here.

If you see an unmet need in your community, you can take on-line training on how to plan and lead your own project and recruit volunteers to help you here.

Want to travel? Find out how to help rebuild in the Gulf Coast (Biloxi or New Orleans) here.

Liv is organizing holiday packages for soldiers in Iraq. To find out how to help, click here.

To read stories that will inspire you, try this book.

Have other good ideas? Leave them in the comments for me.

42 comments:

slouching mom said...

Thank you for this list, and for the spark.

Anonymous said...

We had always given of our time and the boys toys...I worked for a social service agency in the eighties...I know I'm that old...and we delivered turkeys and the fixens to familys that needed them..took people to doctors and other important appointments..I became exhausted and we stopped. thanks for the wake up call.

mauniejames

tulipmom said...

Thanks for the inspiration. Every year we talk about choosing one of the eight nights of Chanukah and doing some kind of family volunteer project in lieu of exchanging gifts. Perhaps this will be the year.

Hetha said...

It's nice to see some Joy on the weekends :-) Thanks for both the inspiration and the resources.

Lisa Milton said...

Thanks for the ideas - I will pass them along, and get busy myself.

Have a great weekend.

Jen said...

Around this time of year I start stocking up on things like lotion, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, socks and underwear when I find them on sale. At Christmas I put them together into emergency care packages for and donate them to a local women's and childrens shelter. Now that my son is old enough to help out we do kid versions as well with stuffed animals and crayons and things like that.

I don't always feel like I have as much time to give as I would like but at least this is something that I know is needed and appreciated.

Not The Mama said...

Thanks for the list. I've been really feeling guilty lately for not doing enough for my community. I've been looking into some volunteer opportunities, but it's great to get some new ideas.

Queeny said...

I long to get into volunteering myself, and hope to inspire my children to do the same. I've started small, by volunteering with church events and donating to food pantries. But I'm definitely looking to do more where it serves more.

Paige said...

Me, I head down to local schools and volunteer to tutor/mentor children.

susiej said...

What a timely list. There is so much we can do -- and it's sometimes a matter of directing our energies. This is great.

flutter said...

Volunteer at your local food bank, they need the manpower. Also, when donating to toy drives remember that they serve little kids but also teens, so makeup and video games are things to think about

liv said...

Thank you for the word up. The love and outpouring of support is beyond inspiring!

Jenn said...

That is one of my favorite quotes.

Have this one hanging up:

"What I do today is important. I'm exchanging a day of my life for it". (Unknown)

Patience said...

Does your city have a thanksgiving meal for the homeless or something like that?? Many cities, mine included, do just that and volunteers line up for the opportunity to prepare, serve, and cleanup this one day of the year. It allows people including many children to see just how blessed their lives really are!

Something like this is really different that simply putting money toward some charity.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

What a great idea - lots of good links. My department at work is gathering donations for Heifer.org which works to provide livestock to poor families to help them have food and an income. Our compay matches donation's so last year we were able to send them over $16,000. We're donating again this year.

Family Adventure said...

The one thing that's always impressed me with North Americans is the strong volunteering spirit that emanates from so many of you. It's something we in Northern Europe could really learn a lot from!

Even here in the blogosphere, there's lots of admirable initiatives going around, including Philanthrophy Thursdays started by Jen M. (http://lottakids.blogspot.com/2007/08/philanthropy-thursday.html).

Thank you for the list. More food for thought.

Heidi

Devra said...

My kids and I have been increasing our vocabulary and donating rice at the same time. http://www.freerice.com/

It's something we do when we have some time and it is easy and can be done in any kind of weather.

I also like the ideas over at www.sharesavespend.com

I am not on the kickback list for either of these sites, I just like em!

furiousBall said...

these are some great ideas. i'm going through my own personal tough time and i've found helping others (while still making sure I don't ignore my own stuff) really can be therapuetic.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

I think the holiday packages for soldiers is an EXCELLENT idea!

Kaleigh said...

Since the kids are still under the minimum age to volunteer at the soup kitchen, we'll be delivering Meals on Wheels on Christmas Day. It's a great way to make a difference, and since we're staying home and not hosting company this year (and not doing gifts, either!), it will give a great meaning to the day. I'm so glad my kids are on board!

Avery Gray said...

We're not much for volunteering, but we have no problem contributing to worthwhile charities. We suck, I know. But the way I see it, we're making all the rest of you look good!

Beck said...

Let's see....
we like... Heifer International (www.heifer.org), Sleeping Children Around The World (www.scaw.org), The Canadian Foodgrains Bank (www.foodgrainsbank.ca) and we try to do much of our Christmas shopping through fair trade organizations (like www.tenthousandvillages.com).

Holly said...

A while back I took some left over stickers in to our local library. (They let the kids pick a free sticker when they come in. I had found out that the libriarians were providing the stickers.) You would have thought I brought in a pot of gold!!! Somedays it is the littlist things that can spark the giving spirit.

Thanks for inspiring your readers with this post!

the end of motherhood said...

Every Tuesday, ahem, well almost every Tuesday, I reconnect with my 2007 New Year's Resolution which was to connect with something bigger than myself. So Resolution Tuesday is the day I use my blog to try to do that - it's a way of giving back on a regular basis. Last week I posted about Catalog Choice, a free service that lets you opt out of catalogs that you don't want clogging your mailbox. This Resolution Tuesday I am going to post about the African Medical and Research Foundation. There is so much good work being done, with Resolution Tuesday, I am just trying to do my part, on a weekly basis...Besides, I think it is the only New Year's Resolution I could even remember by November, much less still be acting on.

Shannon said...

Great ideas. Thank you.

crazymumma said...

There are so many ways to help locally... I am sure you will find something.

Jenifer said...

I like the idea of something local, we always try to balance by doing something local (food bank for example or clean-up) with something a bit further. Our school supports the Shoe Box campaign which is really great for kids to help with.

rak said...

nice post--- it is sooo important that we give back to our community. thanks for that reminder:)

Jenny said...

Beautiful work, my friend.

karrie said...

The Free Rice site a pp mentioned is entertaining, but I think it is a scam. Consider how many hits they are getting vs. what they claim to be donating? Suspicious....


I wish there were more ways to volunteer with small children. I'm likely passing through New Orleans later this winter, and it would be great to help in some way, but I'll have M with me. (Maybe I just need to look harder---I'll be back if I find something.)

One thing to keep in mind is that volunteering tends to trend seasonally. People are hungry, homeless, neglected and in crisis year round--not just at the holidays.

Aliki2006 said...

Thank you *so* much for this--I've been mulling this very thing over myself, and it's good to get a kick in the pants, so to speak, and some useful links.

mommiebear2 said...

I have signed up to be a volunteer with Casa de Alabanza which is a foster program here in Houston where I go and help feed, play, do laundry, sweep, etc at these foster homes for children 6 & under. I am still waiting to be approved but I sure hope I get to do this.

Anonymous said...

My favorite activity is participating in the Achilles track club. It has existed here in NYC for decades, but I think it might also have nationwide chapters. We run with disabled athletes - many are blind, so they are perfectly fast, but need a guide. Volunteers are also needed to walk with those who are in wheelchairs, or to walk the guide dogs. It's a great way to stay active and offer a service! If kids are old enough to handle dogs, this could be a great family activity. Might be tough with the younger ones, though...

Mary Alice said...

Help troops call home for the holidays. Most troops are authorized one call home once a week…but during the holidays they may want to call Grandma, AND Mom and Dad AND their spouse and children…so they need phone cards to help with the expense of calling back to the states….Regular citizens can purchase phone cards through the Military Exchange that will then be distributed to our troops serving in Iraq and Afganistan.

https://thor.aafes.com/scs/default.aspx

K said...

I've been in the "Big Sister" program for 12 years. It has changed my life.

I know it is not for everyone, and it is a huge time commitment but it's an amazing program and a way to have an incredible impact on a child's life.

My theory is that if every single family who has "enough" found just one child who has "nothing" - we could eradicate childhood poverty in our communities.

Anyway, just wanted to put a plug out for that to anyone who is looking for volunteer opportunities! : )

Moxie-Mom said...

I volunteer to drive the ambulance in my town.
I also created and maintain their website.
I also design the newsletter for my child's daycare.

Re-reading all that make me sound snobby. Sorry for that. The feeling I get from volunteering is all I ever need. Good thing because it's all I ever GET! Talk about thankless jobs!

painted maypole said...

awesome. thanks.

JCK said...

Thanks for the list and ideas. This time of year is always a great opportunity to help those less fortunate and to enable the kids to be a part of that.

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

Thanks for the list -- I'm always thinking that we should do something with the kids.

I know in my neck of the woods, MUST Ministries is a great one to work with -- Less than 10% of their donations go to "administrative" the rest go directly to help those in need.

We do food banks and things through the school, but I think we need to start donating our time as well!

megachick said...

thanks for the inspiration. i have been surfing volunteer match for the last hour looking for a good fit. the hard part is finding something i can do that's not during regular work hours!

Janet said...

Great list.

Our local Family and Children's Services has an Adopt a Family Holiday Program. This year we are participating. We will be matched with a local family for whom we will buy things off of their wish list for the holidays, including food. It helps children who would otherwise receive nothing on Christmas Day.

ALM said...

Don't forget the senior citizens! If you have a special skill, perhaps teach it at a senior center? An assited living? Nursing home? Or just volunteer to do some friendly visiting... Many seniors are isolated, especially as it starts to get cold...