So, I am participating in a collaborative blogorama called Holidailies, in which participants try to update daily during the month of December. I had a lot of fun doing it last year because some really great sites participate and it’s well organized and I like the concept of writing for you, gentle readers, as a gift, because that really is why I run this site. At any rate, this year the people who organize it decided that it might be nice to unite as a collective and contribute to a charity. Hence, the Holidailies Charity Project.
Basically, people who are interested in the project are writing posts today about charities which they think should be considered. Then, the organizers are going to review the suggestions and decide on one charity which we will try to support as a group; the idea is to have one day this month dedicated to fundraising, and to pool all of our efforts to make a difference for a deserving charity. (Not that the rejected charities are undeserving.)
I really like this concept for two reasons: one, charity is really important to me, and two, I think that a lot of people are going to write about small local charities, and it’s possible that a really cool underfunded charity could get a sudden windfall of money, and that’s pretty awesome.
Before I talk about the charities that I think should be considered in the Holidailies Charity Project, I wanted to talk for a moment about charity, because I’m not sure that I have talked about this on this site before, which is actually kind of surprising.
I happen to believe that contributions to charity are not just important: they are vital. As someone who grew up extremely poor, I benefited both from the kind actions of individuals and from local charities which tried to keep an eye out for kids in need, and people in need in general. I got winter boots one year because of charity. I was able to go on school trips because of charity. I got to fly an airplane through a charity. And I was able to go to college because of charitable donations to scholarship funds.
I really feel that as a society, we need to support each other, and we need to extend a hand to people in need. I want people to have access to things which will make their lives better, whether those things be coats to keep them from freezing, or books to enrich their minds. In line with these values, I donate to local charities how and when I can, and I also donate to my alumni fund. As a human being, I feel a need to practice kindness in any way that I can, even if that way is small.
Maybe I haven’t talk about charity much because I don’t think it’s something to brag about. I am not proud of donating to charities, it’s just something that I do, like paying the electric bill. I’m not really a fan of tooting your own generosity horn, but I am a huge fan of encouraging people to donate to causes they support.
So I’m nominating not one, but a few charities to the Holidailies Charity Project, and I will contribute to the charity which is chosen, and I hope that you will too, gentle readers. And if you don’t like that charity, then I hope you pick another one, because all of this holiday season stuff is supposed to be all about sharing. If you’ve never had to wonder where your next meal is coming from, if you’ve ever owned more than one pair of shoes, if you’ve never had to make a choice on the basis of money, that’s great, but think for a moment about those who have, and donate in their honor. Money is a powerful tool; why not turn some of yours towards something good?
The list which follows is in no particular order, and you should feel free to donate to any and all of these charities whether or not they are selected for the project. Long-time readers may be surprised to find that three of the charities below are specifically focused on children’s welfare, since I have expressed my feelings about children vocally on numerous occasions. I may not be a fan of children, but that doesn’t mean that I am a fan of children not being able to read, not having food, and not having shoes. Children are not given a choice about the kinds of lives that they live, and childhood is the best time to reach someone, to make a difference, to empower a young mind. These charities are on the list because I think it is important to contribute to children’s welfare, and because they are great groups, and because poor kids can grow up to be awesome people if you give them a chance.
The Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund. The fact is that we have a lot of very needy children in Mendocino County, and that really sucks, and I really like what the MCCF does. I think that a lot of local people have deluded themselves into thinking that this is some kind of perfect paradise where nothing goes wrong: this ain’t paradise, and MCCF is a vital cog in our community even if many people haven’t heard of it or don’t think it’s necessary.
One Laptop Per Child is a non-local charity, I will grant, but it’s a really good cause, and I would love to put a twist on it; we could donate as a group through the Give One, Get One program, and then donate the “get” laptops we receive to a needy school in the United States. I know that I have some teachers among my readers…and I think that they would probably be able to point to some needy children who could really benefit from having personal computers. One of the major flaws in the OLPC program, for me, has been the focus on overseas schools; I would like to see people paying more attention to the plight of schools in the United States.
Book Angels is a program run by a local bookstore which puts books in the hands of kids who can use them every year. This year they are partnering with the local library as well to help stock the children’s section, so either way a donation is a strike in the battle for literacy. Literacy is important. I like books. I am deeply distressed to know that some children in this county do not have books.
Project Sanctuary provides assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Donations help to support the work of this organization, which includes a safe-house, a 24 hour hotline, and a variety of other services. Domestic violence is awful, and it happens, and it will not stop happening, but we can try to make the best of a bad situation.
Ahimsa House is a shelter for animal victims of domestic violence. Also not local, but it’s run by an alumna of my alma mater, and this cause is very important to me, which is why I’ve included it on this list. Ahimsa and hundreds of other such shelters across the United States protect the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence.
There are many more charities which I could name, but I think that five is sufficient, given that Jette and Chip are probably going to have a lot entries on this issue to pore through. I commend them for this idea; individually, we can all of course make a difference, but collectively, we could make a huge difference. I’m sure that numerous worthy charities will be offered for consideration, and it’s going to be a tough choice.
Christmas used to be about remembering the unfortunate and doing what we could to improve their lot; let’s bring that back, shall we?