Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: donation

Did you miss me?

That’s right people, I’m back!  I can only hope that you missed me as much as I missed you!  I do have to admit however that I have throughly enjoyed a little break form the blogging.  It’s funny how you don’t realize how much work something is until after you’re finished.  There are nights when I get home from school and the fact that I don’t have to write a blog is what I am most thankful for.  Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system let’s get down to business.  Just in case you’ve managed to go all day without remembering, today is Monday.  For most people that means an extra cup of coffee, hitting the snooze button one more time, or a well deserved adult beverage at the end of the day.  It also means new beginnings.  Since this is my first post of 2012, it only makes sense that I’m thankful for a new year, a new semester, and new chance to blog!

It's the year of the Dragon people!

Life is all about beginnings.  We are born, we start school, we start college, we start a career, we start a family, and the list goes on and on.  It’s easy for us to forget that we even though we like new beginnings and what they represent, we didn’t really have it all that bad to start with.  Orphaned children in Uganda on the other hand, deserve a new start.  There are over 2 million children who are orphaned because of war, poverty, AIDS, or famine.  New Beginnings Charitable Trust works to provide the resources these children need for a safe place to call home, somewhere to receive medical care, and the education they deserve.  NBCT started by purchasing 8 acres of land in the Nakasangola District of Uganda near the local school.  Your heart will break when you read the stories of the brave children whose spirits just can’t be broken.  The team from Northern Ireland works closely with a carefully chosen African staff to make sure they change the lives of Ugandan children one at a time.  Nothing says new adventure like starting a new business.  I mean it is called the American dream for a reason.  New Profit Inc. exists in order to help entrepreneurs find a way to make their dreams of improving the lives of children, families, and communities come true.  Some of the most innovative organization I’ve ever come across have been non-profits.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch ridiculous infomercials as much as the next gal, but I would much rather give my hard earned moola to an organization that is changing lives.  Can I get an amen?  I know I don’t loose any sleep over the donations I gave to charities last year, but I bet you’ve got a ThighMaster taking up space in a closet somewhere.  Sorry Suzzane.

New Beginnings Charitable Trust Donation

New Profit Inc. Donation

So here’s to you new beginnings!  Sure, we’re all about you this time of year, but I have a feeling this year you’ll be sticking around.  You represent all the things we hope for and dream of.  You’re a huge part of our life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Without you there would be no new years, new semesters, and new babies, and who doesn’t love a new baby?

Welcome to the world baby Connor!

Week 52-The Final Countdown, Day 5-Garage

Well the country roads have taken my back to the place where I belong in WV.  I loved being with my family and friends but there is something so wonderful about coming home to your very own house and sleeping in your own bed.  I also never knew how nice it was to have a garage until we moved into this townhouse.  My grandmother had one when I was growing up, but I was definitely too young to appreciate it.  Being able to unload all of our stuff out of the rain today when we got back was worth it’s weight in gold.  It still needs a little bit of TLC, but I know I’m only going to be more thankful for it in the winter months to come.  Plus, where else would we sell all of our old crap out of?

That looks about right...

The Good News Garage gives low-income families in New England an affordable and reliable transportation option.  GNG is different from other car donation charities because they try to repair as many cars as they can to provide them to others.  We need cars in this country to go shopping, go to work, and to get to the doctor.  Over the past fifteen years GNG has given away more than 3,800 refurbished vehicles.  GNG will also come and tow any car that is being donated for free, or you can drop it off any of their locations six different New England states.  Plus, more than 85% of people who received a vehicle from GNG said they experienced increased economic opportunity and improved quality of life.  Even though I’m sure the garage they use to fix up all these donated cars is way bigger than mine, without it, all of this good wouldn’t be possible.  The second best thing a garage is good for, storage!  I know even in the short time we’ve lived here we have lots of items that have found a home in the garage.  Charity Storage is a non-profit that had the bright idea to designate one storage unit for donated items at already existing storage facilities.  I think this is genius.  That means people who are currently renting storage units, people moving out of them,  and auction buyers (you know you’ve seen Storage Wars) are all able to donate any unwanted items right there on the spot.  Once the unit gets full its contents are auctioned off and the proceeds from the sale go to local and national charities.  The storage units already have the space, goodness knows we already have the stuff, so CS just organizes it all to benefit charities.  I have a love/hate relationship with ideas like that CS because they are so amazing, but I wish I’d thought of them first.

Good News Garage Donation

Charity Storage Donation

So here’s to you garage!  You’re there to make sure our groceries and our bags stay dry when it’s nasty outside.  You’re also pretty convenient when it’s a wee bit chilly outside.  You give us a place to store our Christmas decorations and old memories.  The building of many birdhouses, flower arrangements, and band practices have occurred in within your four walls.  You’re also awesome because of your cool door that opens at the touch of a button.  Thanks for giving us a little extra coverage that helps out in a big way.

Week 51-Meet me in… Day 6-The car

Woo hoo games!

Well six hours later we are officially in NC!  I love being home.  Especially when it’s been three whole months since I’ve been here.  I know that doesn’t sound like a long time to some people, but for me, it is.  I love being with my family, and seeing all my friends when I come home.  I also really don’t mind the car ride.  In fact, I kind of enjoy it.  It gives me time to think or read or play games that I would normally be too busy to do.  Somehow being trapped in a car for hours on end gives me the permission I need to relax and do whatever I want.

One of the best parts of taking a road trip as kids (and even as an adult for me) are the games you get to play and bring with you.  Donate Games works hard to be sure that children with rare diseases can play all the video games their little hearts desire.  DG collects new and used video games and gear and repurposes them so they come back to life for their new owners.  Started in 2008, DG has grown tremendously over the past three years and has donated more than 3,000 new video games to hospitalized kids.  Jim Carol was inspired to give back  after his son was diagnosed with a fatal form of leukemia, and he saw the joy and comfort video games brought into his son’s life.  DG teams up with other charitable organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, XBox, and EA Sports.  If you’re feeling especially moved by DG’s cause, you can sign up to host your own game drive!  DG will hook you up with all the posters, collection boxes, and pick-up arrangements.  Child’s Play is another organization that uses the power of the video gaming community to benefit sick children.  CP has a network of over 70 hospitals world-wide where they donate toys, books, and video games to help brighten the day of kids who could really use a burst of sunshine.  CP works in two ways.  They work with their network of hospitals and their staffs to set up gift wish lists full of all kinds of fun stuff.  If you click on a hospital location on their website you can see the list and send a gift of your choice.  CP also accepts monetary donations that they put towards purchasing new consoles and games so children and their families have an enjoyable distraction from their otherwise uncomfortable situation.  Life is too short not to play games! 

Donate Games Donation

Child’s Play Donation

So here’s to you cars!  You give us the perfect excuse to kick back, relax, and be a kid again!  Unless we’re driving and then we should definitely be an adult and pay attention.  The ABC game, the name game, Eye-Spy, you name it and most people have probably played it at one time or another in the car.  Thanks for being one big arcade on wheels.  I’m pretty sure I hear the sound of parents everywhere agreeing with me.

Week 51-Meet me in… Day 5-The Couch

It has been one of those lazy, rainy Sundays that I love.  It was filled with lots of catching up on TV shows, sleep, and quality time with my family.  Long story short, the couch has been my best friend today.  We bought this little love seat before we moved to New Jersey and it has served us well.  It’s the perfect size for the two of us, or the four of us, if the puppies jump up for a snuggle.  I think when you work really hard all week you can really appreciate the down time you get on the weekends.  When you have the hectic and unpredictable schedule of a graduate student, rest and relaxation is on the top of your thankful list.  Especially when you have the whole week off from classes because of Thanksgiving this week!

Music to my ears 🙂

We all have our favorite furniture in our homes, but what do you do with those items when you have loved them to pieces?  Donate them of course!  The problem is some of us don’t even know where to start looking when it’s time to donate items.  Luckily for you and me Donation Town takes all the guess-work out of donating.  Started in 2008, DT wanted to be sure that they were focused on helping people donate non-cash items.  DT also lets you know which charities will come and pick up your charitable donations, which is perfect for those of us who can never seem to make it down to Goodwill or Salvation Army.  Your donation is also still tax-deductible, and the bigger your couch the bigger the deduction you’ll get.  Lots of people are totally unaware that great charities have pick-up services.  DT realized this and decided they could get help get the word out.  It’s a totally free service run by people just like you and me.  One of my favorite shows to watch on Sundays is The Sopranos.  Lorraine Bracco, or Dr. Melfi as we all affectionately know her, has written a booked ironically called “On the Couch”.  She isn’t just at home sitting on her couch though, because she’s on the Board of Directors for the Riverkeeper Inc, which is devoted to protecting the Hudson River and it’s tributaries.  Despite what you might think, the Hudson is a healthy ecosystem that is full of life.  It also provides safe drinking water for 9 million people who live in and around New York City.  The Hudson is also a great place to play!  Millions of people go swimming, boating, and fishing in the Hudson every year.  When you live in a concrete jungle like NYC it’s nice to have a place to get away from it all.  Since 1966, RK has been an advocate for clean water through education, legislation, and enforcement.  I love the Hudson and miss seeing it everyday.  It’s nice to know RK is protecting it so it’ll be right where I left it when I go back and visit NYC.

Schedule a Donation Town Pick Up!

Riverkeeper Inc. Donation

So here’s to you couches everywhere!  You’re the place where we crash after a long day or week.  You come in as many colors and styles as our imaginations can come up with.  Sometimes you recline or can be pulled out, which makes you even more comfortable.  Thank you for being there when I’m feeling lazy, and not judging me.  Seriously, that’s hard to find these days.

Nap for one please!

Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 2-Adam

Adam loves to ride!

It’s always hard to move to new place where you have no family or friends.  We were really lucky that we met some great people really quickly after we set up camp here in WV.  The best part of the story is that we met Adam because of the non-profit organization the American Red Cross.  Adam is also a serious mountain biker.  It seemed like he was at a race every weekend this summer kicking butt and taking names.  Adam also has a big heart and was one of the first people to volunteer a charity for people’s choice week.  So this one is for Adam and his bicycle loving ways.

Re-cycle is a charity that is dedicated to proving cheap and sustainable transport in Africa.  Bicycles are so important to those on a limited income because it provides them the opportunity to get to work and school on a consistent basis.  Bikes can also be adapted to carry heavy or bulky items so small-scale farmers and traders can reach a broader customer base.  RC takes used bicycles that are donated, checks them over, and refurbishes them so they are ready for their new owners.  If you think about it, it’s really a win-win for both the UK, where RC is based, and Africa.  People in Africa get a sweet new ride, and it helps reduce waste and landfill products across the pond.  About 400 bikes are sent to seven different African countries each shipment.  RC works with organizations in Africa to make sure those that their donated bikes get to those who need it the most.  I think for most people, myself included, a love for riding a bicycle tends to start from a young age.  Bikes For Goodness Sakes shares the goodness of bicycles with unprivileged children.  BFGS works with local bike shops to host events and distribute bikes to children.  Each bike also comes with a personal biking riding lesson and a custom fit helmet.  Safety is number one people.  Since their first bike giving event back in 2008 they have gifted 512 brand new shiny bicycles to deserving kids.  Good bikes to good kids is the motto of BFGS.  I used to love riding my bike so I can definitely relate to that feeling of accomplishment and pride you feel as you ride off into the sunset with your training wheels for the very first time.

Re-cycle Donation

Bikes For Goodness Sakes Donation

So here’s to you Adam!  You’re dedication to changing people’s life through the Red Cross and your mountain biking are both inspiring.  Sure I may say that I hate you because you can eat whatever you want and never gave a pound, but obviously I’m only slightly jealous.  Maybe if spent as much time on a bike as you do I could eat a couple more brownies a week too.  Thanks for making us feel at home here in WV, sharing your love of riding with us, and being an all-around cool kid.   

Week 44-Rocktober!, Day 6-Let’s celebrate drug dealers!

Yea I bet that title got your attention huh?  I don’t mean those drug dealers on those bad corners in the big cities, I mean your local pharmacist who helps you combat your common cold.  It’s only right to celebrate American Pharmacist Month!  This was another topic that just fell into my lap as I was taking a break from all my school work and playing on good ‘ole Facebook.  I love the time I worked for the School of Pharmacy at WVU, and gained an incredible appreciation for how tough becoming a pharmacist really is.  Obviously I’m having a little fun with my blog title today, but I’m so thankful that there are pharmacists out there keeping me safe when I am taking prescriptions.  Plus, drugs aren’t cheap so it’s good to have friends with perks.

The challenges of being chronically ill are a mile long, but one thing those patients should never have to worry about is being able to make their premiums or co-payments.  Patient Services Inc. saw this need back in 1989, and decided to do something about it.  They help provide a “safety net”, and a real piece of mind to the people who need it the most.  PSI also helps patients locate the right insurance for them that gets them the most bang for their buck.  Shopping around for insurance can be confusing, frustrating, intimidating, and discouraging.  PSI really tries to eliminate all of this negative energy and help patients have a positive experience with insurance and health care in general.  The PSI payment card is accepted at over 59,000 pharmacies across the nation (and growing).  I’m sure that would make any pharmacist proud.  I can’t write this blog without talking about the great students and staff at the WVU School of Pharmacy here in Morgantown.  They have been leading the way in teaching pharmacy students, research, and patient care for nearly 100 years.  WVU SOP is educating their students with the knowledge and experience they need in order to conquer and prevent diseases affecting the state, nation, and even the world.  WVU SOP students are also out there volunteering for multiple local and national charities every semester.  Seriously, they are a good bunch of apples.

Patient Services Inc. Donation

West Virginia University School of Pharmacy Donation

So here’s to celebrating our friendly neighborhood pharmacist!  They are there for us for our regular prescriptions, new ones, and even when we don’t want to take what we’ve been prescribed.  They smile, hand us our little bag, and send us on our merry way.  Pharmacists are the glue that keeps our world of sickness, mental health, and emotional stability together.  Thanks for making sure we don’t fall apart no matter what life throws at us.

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 5-The Home Depot

I’m gonna be really honest right now.  I don’t have quite the love affair with Home Depot that my husband, or most men for that matter, has.  Here’s what I do have a love affair with though: pictures hung, desks put together, shelves built, and our lawn mowed.  I guess that means that on some level, I really do love Home Depot, because without them none of those things would get accomplished.  And since we’re being honest, I actually really like the orange aprons the employees wear.  I don’t know what it is about them but the color just makes me happy.  And you know what they say, happy wife…happy life.

It turns out that The Home Depot is so invested in the communities they serve that they created the Home Depot Foundation in 2002.  The motto of the store may be more saving, more doing, but the foundation is all about improving lives and improving homes.  HDF works with local non-profits and volunteers from Team Depot to help repair damaged homes and other facilities that serve disadvantaged people.  For the next three years, HDF has decided to focus on military veterans and their families as they return home from service, and discover new physical and financial hardships.  HDF will invest over $30 million dollars to renovate and repair the homes of these deserving individuals.  Remember those aprons I love, well they even have an awesome program called Aprons in Action.  You can see how HD associates are volunteering their time to make a difference with non-profits and vote for which ones deserve more funding.  HD also works with Good360, formerly known as Gifts In Kind, for their Framing Hope program that donates unsold home improvement products to local nonprofits who focus on providing affordable housing.  G360 is another one of those charities with a simple yet brilliant idea.  Take product donations from America’s top brands and retailers and turn them into goods for the greater good.  Any company that can leverage $70 in product for every $1 in funding is a key in my eyes.

The Home Depot Foundation Donation

Good 360 Donation

So here’s to you Home Depot!  You know, the more I type this blog the more I like you.  You have all of the essentials for home improvement with some fun things thrown in there as well, and you give back to your community.  You’re a stand up store.  Thanks for helping us save more money, do more things.  For ourselves and more importantly, for others.

I just love those aprons!

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 2-Macy*s

When I need essentials that only a department store can provide Macy’s is my go-to store.  They have everything.  At least the good stores do, and if you can’t find it in the store you can most likely find it online.  Let’s just say I got a little spoiled going to the Herald Square Macy’s in NYC when I needed some new clothes or fancy cooking pots.  Now we have to travel about 45 minutes to a Macy’s store, but I’m still a fan.  I really fell in love with Macy’s when we registered there and we got points (that translated to dollars) for the presents on the registry that other people bought us!  That’s right we got the presents and the points to buy more stuff on our registry that we didn’t get.  Double-dipping rocks my world.

Climb those books!

I’m not going to try to impress you with a bunch of fancy numbers today, and I really don’t need to because the work Macy’s is involved with speaks for itself.  Macy’s has teamed with Reading is Fundamental, the nation’s largest and oldest literacy organization since 2004 to help children “Be Book Smart“.  RIF’s mission is to motivate kids to read by working with them, their parents, and their community to make reading fun!  RIF dreams of a literate America where all children have access to books so they can discover the joys and value of reading.  RIF’s founder Margaret McNamara could see just how fundamental reading was 45 years ago when she started the program in Washington, D.C. in 1966.  My favorite part about RIF is that they give disadvantaged children a chance to own books, not just go to their local or school libraries and check them out.  And they don’t just have some assembly line where they hand out the first book they grab out of the box to any child either.  They set out dozens of books for children to look through and decide on their own which they’d like to have.  I don’t know about you but that would make me want to read!  Another organization that Macy’s and it’s employees whole heartedly supports is the United Way.  UW is one of those great charities with a simple mission.  Improve lives.  Isn’t that really what it all comes down to?  We are all connected in this world is one way or another, so when one of us succeeds then we all do.  UW focuses on encouraging financial stability and independence, improving people’s health, and helping children and youth reach their potential through education.  I know I said I wasn’t going to through a bunch of numbers at you, but this one is pretty impressive.  Macy’s employees and the Macy’s Foundation donated $10.7 million dollars to UW just last year.  Again, double-dipping rocks my world!

Reading is Fundamental Donation  and get Book Smart

United Way Donation

So here’s to you Macy’s!  There is something that makes you undeniably magical.  You always seem to have just what I need, and lots of other things I can’t live without once I walk through those doors.  You were there when we registered for our wedding, you’re there for us when we need to buy baby shower gifts, and I know you’ll be there for life-changing organizations for years to come.

Week 33-Modern Marvels, Day 6-Stove

I’m not sure how many times I’ve said I like to cook, and therefore eat, over these past 33 weeks but I can’t say it enough.  One of my favorite culinary traditions in our family is Mexican Monday!  It doesn’t matter how good or bad your day has been a little bit of salsa can only make it better.  We had some delicious nachos for dinner, and they would not have been possible without our stove.  Stoves aren’t a new invention by any stretch of the imagination but they sure beat the heck out of cooking everything over an open flame or in the microwave.

Building a stove in Honduras

In this day and age everyone is looking to do things as efficiently as possible.  Trees, Water, & People is helping people throughout Central America and Haiti build healthier fuel-efficient cookstoves.  More than 80% of families cook over open wood fires which causes deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and respiratory infections.  Since 1998 TWP have built more than 46,000 Evo-Stoves, Justa stoves, and Rockets that use up to 70% less wood than traditional stoves.  The other great thing about these stoves is that they can all be manufactured locally using all local materials, and they are extremely low-maintenance and cheap.  It would only cost a family an average of $10.50 a month to run one of these stoves.  TWP is proving that helping people and the planet simultaneously is possible, and even fun!  Another easy way to help out the planet and people is to donate your old stove when you decided to upgrade.  The Vietnam Veterans of America have a program called Pick Up Please, where they will come and pick up your old appliances!  All you have to do is schedule a pick-up online, leave your clearly labeled donations outside on the designated day, and VVA will leave your tax deduction receipt on your door.  Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!  They don’t just take stoves either.  They will take your old clothes, books, bikes, stereos, shoes, tools, you name it, and they will more than likely take it.  It’s nice to know your old stuff is going on to have a new life after you.  Plus it gives you a great excuse to get new stuff for your new life.

Trees, Water, & People Donation

Schedule a time for Please Pick Up to come to your house! or Vietnam Veterans of America Donation

So here’s to you stoves!  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Viking, GE, Whirlpool, or Kenmore because a flame is a flame.  Without you it would be much more difficult to make brownies, lasagna, or cheesecake.  There are times during the summer where Mr. Grill gets used a bit more than you do, but it’s not personal, you just make the kitchen so dang hot!  Thank you for cooking up good food and good memories.

No Kitty! Bad Kitty!

Week 24-Do I have to?, Day 2-Take out the trash

Yes you are!

Taking out the trash was another chore I was not really a fan of when I was growing up.  Truth be told, I’m still not a fan.  It’s heavy, it usually stinks, and it always needs to be taken out at the most inopportune time.  Seriously, think about it.  I bet the last time your trash needed to be taken out you were also cooking dinner or you were running late for work in the morning.  I also love to play the see-how-much-you-can-stuff-in-one-trash-bag-before-it-breaks game.  It seems like you can always fit at least a couple more paper towels or junk mail before you really have to take it out.  In reality, having trash means that you have plenty of things to survive and then some.  So even though I really don’t want to, I’m thankful for that big pile of trash in my kitchen that needs to be taken out as I type this.  Which proves my first point by the way.

How many times did you sit there and class and doodle while you were suppose to be listening to Beowulf or how to find the right angle of an isosceles triangle?  Probably quite a few, and then you balled up that piece of paper and threw it in the trash right?  I bet you didn’t know that doodle could have helped people with epilepsy.  National Doodle Day has been going on since 2004 and has helped to raise over 200,000 pounds for the UK charity Epilepsy Action.  EA works to help everyone understand what epilepsy really is and make sure people don’t form their opinions or knowledge of epilepsy on fiction and myths.  Epilepsy is simply the tendency to have recurring seizures.  EA advocates for those who suffer from epilepsy because they have the right to have opportunities like everyone else, so they are able to reach their full potential.  So the next time you’re doodling on a conference call, save it to remind you to donate to your favorite charity.  I know you guys have all heard the old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  Charity Buzz capitalizes on this fact for all kinds of charities.  CB auctions off one of a kind of experiences with celebrities, travel packages, and designer merchandise.  You can bid to meet Harry Potter or President Clinton, or you can bid to win a Nintendo 3DS or a beautiful designer chair.  So maybe most of this stuff wouldn’t be considered trash by anyone, but it still helps to raise a lot of money for great charities.  So whether you’re a big spender or a penny pincher, there is something for you.

Epilepsy Action Donation

Charity Buzz Donation (go ahead, have some fun and bid on something!)

So here’s to you taking out the trash!  You are a real pain in my you know what sometimes, but today I’ve decided to change the way I think about you.  Every time I throw something away I’m going to think about how lucky I am to have something extra to put in the stinky can.  You have also made me re-evaluate what I throw away.  The more things I can give away so others can enjoy it, means the less times we’ll have to see each other.  Thank you for making me realize one man’s trash is another man’s charity.