Thursday, November 15, 2012

Giving Back!: Where to Give in Our Communities #Volunteer #Donate


During the Holidays, we all feel a sense of need to give but something usually makes us put it off.  Maybe it is the lack of money or time  that makes us hesitate or put it off until tomorrow. Whatever it is, we need to push aside our own problems and reach out to others. There is always someone somewhere that is in need more than ourselves.

I am sorry if that sounded preachy... Superstorm Sandy has got me thinking. Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away and I think of all the families that have had everything taken away. What are they thankful for? They are alive.

The one thing that we all have in common with each other regardless of race, religion, political views, beliefs, etc. is that we are all alive. Each of us have needs to survive on Earth. There are a lot of people reaching out to the Hurricane Sandy victims to help them and that is wonderful but what about the people in need in our own backyards?

Look around in our communities and see the tragedies and miracles that surround us. People come together to help others, not just for the Holidays but year round.

We think more of the homeless in the Winter months when it's cold and wet outside and we are snug in our houses. Many of these people living on the streets or half-way houses need our help. Many have fallen on bad luck, have health problems, young children, and/or have been abused by the system and others.

When I think of the Holidays, I think of Toys for Tots and Spark of Love. These are local charities that give toys to children who would otherwise have no cheer to open during the holidays! My family and I try to put aside a little money to put a smile on their faces every year.

Money gets me thinking, not everyone can afford to make a gift of money. This doesn't mean that they can't do something for others, it means that maybe they can donate something even more precious, their time. Can we donate an hour of our time to read stories to children at the local library or school? What about seniors that don't have many visitors that could use a cheerful face? Do you have a skill that is in need to help with costruction or put on a play?

Everyone of us has something to contribute to others to put a smile on their faces. Helping others really puts a smile on mine! Try smiling at a stranger, you will be amazed at how many people smile back. Then there are also the people who think that we are crazy and keep their children closer because of a simple act of kindness. Keep trying! That person may smile at another stranger and make someone elses day.

I have compiled a list of local charities that are near and dear to many peoples hearts.  I hope that even if you are unable to help by donating money or time, maybe you can donate a smile.

This list is ever growing and I would love for everyone to add to the list. Please email me at Kirstin@SoCalKidsOutdoorAdventures.com your ideas and local charities.

Adoption/Group Homes:
Five Acres
The Orangewood Foundation
Penny Lane
Hillsides

Animals:
The Wildlife Waystation

Arts and Literacy:
Milk + Bookies
Adopt the Arts
826 LA
LA Conservancy

Cancer and Other Illnesses:
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The Pablove Foundation
City of Hope
-Melissa Reyes on City of Hope
St. Judes
The ALS Association

Children:
UNICEF
Make a Wish Foundation
Girls Inc
Ronald McDonald House
Starlight Foundation
The Eli Home
The Boys and Girls Club

Conservation:
Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup
Surfrider Foundation

Cultural:
The Walking Shield

Elderly:
Senior Serv

Families with Grief After a Child has Passed:
The Unforgettables Foundation
Rainbows
First Candle

Homeless:
Mary's Kitchen
The Lunch Bunch
Good Shepard Center
Roosters Foundation
Working Wardrobes

Holidays:
Toys for Tots
Spark of Love
Operation Christmas Child- US

Individual Fundraisers:
The Ride for Jon
Give Big- in Riverside

Military:
Am Vets
Fisher House
Operation Gratitude

Mothers in Need:
The Sheepfold
Help a Mother Out

Volunteering:
South Bay Volunteer Center
Big Brothers and Big Sisters

Water Pollution:
Water.org

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