Tuesday, November 8, 2011

There is Always a Bright Side

Despite my rant earlier this week about the holidays, I am bound and determined to make it more about the spirit of the holiday than any sort of gifts or money. I am looking into volunteer work but also want to do some little things that make me feel the holiday spirit.

1) I will be walking/running some sort of Turkey Trot. This has yet to be determined if it is in Ann Arbor or Detroit but have to see if the race fee fits into the budget.

2) Gave blood last week. Next time to give: 12/31/2011. I am very appreciative of the fact that I give blood fairly easily (I'm a quick "pumper"...TWSS) and there is a donation center right down the street. I highly, highly encourage everyone who is able to donate to do so. It is something that is free, easy, quick, and can potentially save someone else's life. There are also donation events that are geared specifically towards soldiers/veterans and children.

3) My Christmas cards this year are a beautiful design from UNICEF. The cost of the cards are more than I normally spend but with a 30% discount at Barnes & Noble and donation to a good cause, I couldn't resist. While I was buying my cards, I also donated a book to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital for only $3.99. It truly doesn't take much.

4) I was enjoying my ritual of going to B&N, ordering coffee, and reading magazines and I stumbled upon "Oprah" Magazine's list of low cost ways to donate to charities. I wrote my favorite/most budget-friendly down on a napkin:

For as little as $7, you can give an animal immunizations, food, and personal items to help them feel more comfortable in their surroundings.

For only 50 cents, you can donate one book to a child in Africa. Think of what $5 could do!

This non profit was started by two teenagers to connect those stationed overseas to their families back home. You can donate used cell phones as well as money. $4 for one calling card to a soldier. 

Create Now serves vulnerable kids ages 2-25 who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, orphaned, are left homeless, runaways, teen parents, substance abusers, victims of domestic violence, children of prisoners, gang members or incarcerated.They teach the kids how to express themselves in a positive way and your donation can help with supplies and events.

 For $3, you can supply a child with drumsticks to rock out with! The minimum donation is $10 which could give a lot of kids their chance to rock out and follow their dreams.

MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Your donation can help with supplies needed to administer vaccines, medicine, and vitamins.

5) Volunteering locally. My internship site became a referral agency for a local organization called Warm the Child. They give $90 to low income households that will help in buying winter clothing and gear for children. A volunteer takes the family to Target and will help them get the appropriate jackets, pants, shoes, and accessories for children to help with cold winter months. They are looking for volunteers to take the families shopping and I might try and help with their organization.

As you gear up for the holiday season, please consider either donating some of your hard earned money, giving the gift of life with a blood donation, or even spending some time volunteering with a local non-profit. The joy you will feel will last year round.


  1. Cell Phones for Soldiers is AWESOME! I found out about them a couple years ago, and I gave them our old phones we had been hoarding after our free upgrades. I even sent them an old MP3 player I had purchased in Korea. Those phones are priceless though. Nothing beats a phone call when your loved one is overseas.

  2. I agree. I have donated my last two (okay, only two) cell phones to domestic abuse organizations that provide phones for women (typically) in difficult situations. I figure if I don't need my phone then at least someone can get some use out of it.