Archive for the ‘Give Hope’ Category

Holiday Hope: Little Gifts Equal Big Smiles

A little gift can go a long way…especially when you live in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. For children living in the slums and rural areas on the island of Hispaniola, gifts are a rare, or even nonexistent, treat. But if you’re like most Americans in the current economy, the idea of sending a gift to a child in another country seems really far away as you look at your Christmas shopping list.   

That’s why packing a simple shoebox (we all have one or two of those lying around!) with basic items like soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, hard candy and a couple of dollar store toys is a perfect way to make sure a child in need gets a Christmas present. In fact, if you’ve recently visited the dentist, you probably have an extra toothbrush and tube of paste lying around. Soap-it almost always comes in packs of four or more-just add one of the bars to the shoebox. A child on the edge of the cholera outbreak in Haiti will greatly appreciate your gift as she washes her hands free of the germs that could make her seriously ill. Of course, you can get fancy by purchasing a plastic shoebox and a few higher end items if you can, but whatever you can afford will be perfect and make a child very happy.

How can you do this? Send a  shoebox present through New Missions. Serving in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, they make sure kids who may not normally get presents are blessed this Christmas. And believe me, that $2 jump rope will be treasured. What little they receive, they are resourceful with it and make it last and last.

Got kids? They will have a blast helping pick out items for the box. Go to shoeboxdrive.com for a list, packing instructions and drop off locations for Central Florida residents. If you are not local, directions for mailing are also included.

Boxes are being collected throughout December, so add an extra little gift or two to your shopping basket or bag and help a child have a reason to smile this Christmas.

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Holiday Hope: Get Christmas Cards and So Much More!

The holidays are almost here! Time for shopping, gift giving, card sending, baking, feasting and, most importantly, spreading HOPE this season. Looking for hope-giving ideas? Starting today, I will be posting several ways to spread joy where it’s desperately needed. Some ways will involve directly helping with a need while others will provide you with a unique gift for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life with the proceeds benefitting a great cause. 

Let’s get started!

Got your Christmas cards, yet? Even if you have already picked out your favorite box set and sent out greetings to every cousin on your list (in which case, I’m VERY impressed-will you address my cards, too?), why not send out a few more for a good cause?

Hope for the Homeless

Coalition for the Homeless, a Central Florida agency which provides meals, shelter for entire families (a rarity), education, advocacy and numerous other services for the homeless, is offering holiday card sets for sale. The cards are simple but elegant with a red background and white script. Two families impacted by the Coalition’s efforts are featured on the back. Inside, a message tells the recipient that, by purchasing the card for them, you made a donation to the Coalition.

So, not only are you giving Aunt Molly a Christmas card, you are also giving her the gift of a donation to a worthy organization in her honor! Plus, the price is affordable. At $2 per card…they come in boxes of 10…it’s approximately what you pay for fancy foil cards, anyway. Expect to receive your order in five business days.

Own a business? Coalition for the Homeless will also customize your card with your company logo…offering another great way to show your clients how much your company cares.

Here’s the link to the info and order sheets: Holiday Card order form

Feed the Hungry

For a few dollars more, you can help out another great Central Florida organization: Second Harvest Food Bank. The food bank distributes donated food to hundreds of Central Florida agencies. Their $5 holiday cards feature a green background with a child’s handwritten wish list. The inside greeting also explains to your recipient that you have donated to the food bank on their behalf. Here’s the amazing part: they will address and send your cards for you! I’m not kidding! And the best part? The proceeds from each card provide twenty meals for those in need! Seriously!!! 

For more info: Holiday Cards

TONS of Other Causes

If you’re interested in sending cards in support of other causes, check out Good Cause Greetings and Cards for Causes. Both offer several categories of organizations…from the environment to health…education to international…and so much more. Each category is filled with tons of causes. Plus, you can choose from many different card styles. 

Join me in sending greetings with a purpose…and spreading hope…this holiday season!

Next up…

Have you purchased a pair of shoes to go with your holiday outfit? In the next blog, I’ll be sharing a great way to spread a little hope with that simple shoebox.

Extra Halloween Candy?

It’s the day after Halloween…and the recovery has begun. Cleaning up cobwebs, putting away costumes, sorting candy…lots and lots of candy. Unless you had a late night trick-or-treating rush by the middle school boys wearing monster masks, you’re like me and have a sack or two of the sweet stuff left over. What to do with the extra confections…besides leaving them out to tempt us with all that sugary goodness and potential weight gain? Fortunately, we have a few options to do good things with our extra candy.

If you are out of candy but still want to participate in one of these great goody give-a-ways, now is the time to purchase more candy. Stores have slashed the price of Halloween themed sweets so you can get some really good deals.

Care Packages for the Troops

Hundreds of dentist offices across the country are offering a candy buy-back. Most are holding their buy-backs today, but you might find some offices willing to take candy over the next few days. If your children are the ones handing over their candy, they can earn neat prizes (like light-up toothbrushes) or get paid an average of a $1 per pound of candy. The candy typically is donated to Operation Gratitude to put in care packages for troops. Our extra candy makes great gifts for homesick servicemen and women. However, they also use the candy to build relationships with the children in the areas where they are serving.

For more information on Operation Gratitude or see how you can help them directly: http://www.opgratitude.com/

To search for a participating dentist and learn more about the buy-back program: http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/

Keep Giving to Kids

Many organizations that work with kids are looking for sweet treats. Check with your local Ronald McDonald House (visit www.rmhc.org to locate one near you) and see if they accept candy donations.

Also, children’s programs at churches use candy for various activities and events. Many ministries, especially small churches with equally small budgets, appreciate any extra candy you can offer.  

Sweets for Seniors

Of course adults of all ages love candy and organizations like Meal on Wheels (www.mowaa.org) can help you distribute your stash. Visit their website to find your local program, then search their needs list for candy requests.

For a personal touch, pass out bags of candy at a local nursing home.  Fill sandwich bags with your extra candy…or pick up treat bags at the party store for an extra special touch…then drop off bags at the front desk. Of course, if you can pass out bags in person, you’re guaranteed to make the residents’ day. Either way, be sure to call the nursing home first to make arrangements.

Have fun giving away your candy!