This is gonna be brief, elves, because I'm 1 day post-surgery and grogged up on Vicodin. All hail the mighty lady Vicodin! zzzzzzzzzzAnyway, here's my idea for this year's Xmas project. This year, I suggest that we pick a theme. We can start nominating themes on this board, and take a board-wide vote at the end of November. This would enable folks to join in the Xmas project in their own communities, in any way they can, big or small. We would still have a Chicago component, in order to keep the tradition alive, but we would also be able to include people who cannot afford to participate in the Chicago component, as well as people who live too far away. After Xmas, I will post the Chicago stories, and everyone who contributed to this year's theme in their home community will post their own stories as well. What do you think?I would like to make the first theme nomination for this year's Xmas project: HUNGER.I have two ideas for the Chicago component for this theme:(1) There is a church on the south side of Chicago that serves an extremely impoverished neighborhood. Every year, the pastor - who himself experienced chronic hunger due to poverty as a child - fasts for the entire month of December (to remind himself of his childhood suffering, he says) while he holds a food drive for the children and families of the neighborhood so that every neighborhood child can eat on Xmas Day. It takes him all month to get the food sufficient to feed the families of the neighborhood for just that one day.Last year, for the first time, his food drive made the local news on Xmas Day (which is how I learned of it). I was extremely moved by the efforts to which poor families were going in order to share with their neighbors the food they had. I was thinking that we could send food or grocery gift certificates, but also blankets and toys for the children. I could deliver items to the church, or you could send things directly. I know that the church focuses only on feeding the children of the neighborhood, and that those children do not get toys or warm clothes on Xmas.(2) There was a recent article in the Sunday NYTimes on hunger in the U.S., and it focused on Pembroke County, one of the poorest counties in the country. Pembroke is within an hour's drive from Chicago. Apparently, chronic hunger is rampant in Pembroke, and the pictures of the poverty were devastating - children living in shacks with no heat and dirt floors, and so on. I'm sure I could track down some sort of church or relief agency in Pembroke, and we could attempt to feed the children of Pembroke for Xmas Day.I am open and eager to hear other nominations for themes as well, along with ideas and suggestions. Please remember that we don't have to do a Chicago component - we can make this year's project all local, or we can switch cities. I am open to wherever this year's blessing will take us.One favor I ask is that you all publicize this post, and the beginning of this year's project, on other boards. I'm pretty knocked out by yesterday, and will be taking a break for a few days. So spread the word, elves, and let's get to work - it's Xmas time!bookgrrl
Another idea might be contributing to Covenant House's Bed and Blanket Drive.If you're not familiar with The Convenant House, it's a homeless shelter for teens between the ages of 18 and 21 (prior to 18, they will feed you and allow you to stay for 24 hours, but you have to go back to your family). If you visit their website (www.covenanthouse.com or .org ... don't remember) you can find their details on the Bed and Blanket drive.As someone who actually lived in a Cov House when I was 19, they are one of my favorite charities.
I like St. Vincent de Paul. (Note: if you're anti-Catholic, well, it's Catholic. And so am I.) They do a lot of different things, but IIRC, a big one around this time of year is the food drive. You can probably find a "council" near you:http://svdp.bluestep.net/my/shared/custompage/custompage.jsp?_event=view&_id=445505_c_sU127440_s_i131702Cheers,Daniel Dauenhauer
I like St. Vincent de Paul. (Note: if you're anti-Catholic, well, it's CatholicWe have a St. Vincent de Paul shelter and food bank in the 'city' next to us. Helping out their shelters and food bank is helping out people in need regardless of religion. So if anyone is anti-Catholic, but pro helping out people in need - you can help. Or at the very least, check with your local social services department to find out how you can help.Odee
I'd like to share something that we do every year that others might consider. The Salvation Army sponsors "Angel Trees" in the local malls. Paper angels with information about a needy child are hung on the trees like ornaments. You pick an angel and buy something the child needs and a toy, if you can afford both. The angel lists all the child's sizes and what they need or want. Sometimes it's something as simple as underwear. Years ago my family and I decided not to buy just one thing for the child, but to buy a bunch. Then, we got concerned that if there were many children in the family, it would be difficult for a parent to explain why one child got only a toy and shirt while another got a whole bunch of stuff. So, we talked to the volunteers and asked if they could give us an entire family. They were more than happy to do so.Now we get a large family, 5 or 6 kids. We buy each child a pair of jeans, pair of nicer pants, shirt, sweater, coat, socks, underwear and a toy. If the kids are close in age, we try to coordinate the colors of things we buy so they can be used by the younger kids as hand me downs. My SO and I don't have kids and have never really been around kids, so it's sort of a hoot to do the shopping because we really don't know what we are doing. We always go to Sears as the salespeople get into helping us and they have a "Kid's Club" which gives you 15% off your next purchase after you buy $100 worth of stuff. We have the first $100 rung up, then use the 15% off on the remaining items.I know not everyone is in a position to do as much as we are lucky to be able to do, but if you can help a family just by buying a few things for each kid, I know it helps tremendously.In addition to the gifts for the children, the Salvation Army tries to give each family groceries for a holiday dinner as well. And, all of the families are screened by the Salvation Army to ensure they are in need. Happy holidays!
bookgrrl,First off, I hope you are feeling better soon. I "missed the boat" so to speak the last year or so to get involved in the Xmas projects here (I found this board early this year). I definitely want to get involved this year and I like your idea a lot. I'm also looking forward to seeing what other ideas come up as well. I'll also make sure spread the word to the other boards I frequent.Donna
kira,My company participates in the "Angel Trees". Locally, there is a company called "Angels Watching Over You". Now I believe they basically tend to the elderly year-round, but they run a program with the town's social services to obtain wish items for local kids.Odee
bookgrrl, let me add my sympathy for the very difficult time you are facing - I hope you continue to find strength in the 'little things'; You show great grace and dignity.I cross posted your post to the BBQ board, lot's of good people with big hearts over there.Our company does the angel tree, different populations every year: children, elderly, mentally challenged adults in a group home. We also work with local Hunger Task Force and do a food drive. Food and clothing - gotta make sure the tummy is full and the toes are warm up here in the Frozen Tundra.ßÐ
bookgrrl ~ I heard about your efforts here...from my pal 3BD...over on the BBQ board. 'Tis a very special, groovy kinda thing you're doing...and I'd love to help. Just let me know how I can best participate. I've been involved with "Project Warmth" in my area for the past few years...and have been supporting the efforts of "Harvesters" in the Kansas City area...since 1989. http://www.harvesters.org/Best Holiday Wishes, and Good Luck with your project. "As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap"Chez
We do things every year for the needy. For instance,Each of my boys purchases and gives a gift to a needy child from the Salvation Army giving tree at the local mall.For three years, we coordinated the food and gift purchases for the families whose names we received from our local welfare office and homeless shelters through our church for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The last two years we just donated!Every year, we send gifts of books (Harry Potter) and board games to the St. Mary's Home for Boys in Beaverton, Oregon.I bake pies and take to the homeless shelter at Thanksgiving. Every year, we take the scouts and sing carols at the local nursing home and take cookies to share.It really doesn't take much effort to provide some relief to those in need. Dropping off a can of food for food drives when you leave the grocery store, donating school supplies in the fall, or buying winter coats that go on sale in the spring and donating that winter. It's easy, really.I encourage everyone to look at their own local community and provide some relief to those in need. It is good for our children to see that some other children will have a Christmas because we made an effort. It can (and hopefully will be) a life long lesson that will recur every year of our lives.L
Count me in from the UK, but please, can we still do something for Mrs Celestine and the little girls from last year? It was suggested last year but fell by the wayside and those little girls have been on my mindJess
Bookgrrl,I must say you are an inspiration to us all. I just now went back for the first time and read your Santa post from last year, and as I sit here wiping the tears from my eyes, I am filled with overwhelming admiration and longing to be a part of this year's project.Whatever is decided, please let me know whatever I can do to help you. As you may know, I lost my mom this year and I have been feeling the ever-approaching dread of my first Christmas without her looming over my head for weeks now. But in reading about what you have been doing, I see that my problems are small in comparison and I want to do whatever I can to make someone happy this year.Bravo!You are a true hero.ROTJob
Hey bookgrrl,Hiya from the boy nurse!I like the idea of hitting the hunger aspect - I know Fool Filanthropy supported "Second Harvest" last year --- I think we should ask that they do that again.But, I am all for helping you with the project you are setting up!Let me know what needs done!Jeff
Bookgrrl~Hope you're on the mend, Jewish mothers can't stop worrying.I'm eagerly waiting to jump on board this year's project, no matter what it is. I am SO pumped for this. Tell me what you need, I'm there!Lumpy
I'm eagerly waiting to jump on board this year's project, no matter what it is. I am SO pumped for this. Tell me what you need, I'm there!I second Lumpy. We'll do something locally, but your idea has reached critical mass, and I want that mass to be bigger!photon
Even though my DH and I will be quitting our jobs on Nov 22, I still plan to something locally, but I would also like to do something to help out whatever project is decided upon here. I am in WV so it will probably have to take the form of a donation or gift certificates, but please let me know what you need. I have friends living in Chicago and I will send them a copy of your email to see if they are interested as well.Ravenstyx
<<<<(1) There is a church on the south side of Chicago that serves an extremely impoverished neighborhood. Every year, the pastor - who himself experienced chronic hunger due to poverty as a child - fasts for the entire month of December (to remind himself of his childhood suffering, he says) while he holds a food drive for the children and families of the neighborhood so that every neighborhood child can eat on Xmas Day. It takes him all month to get the food sufficient to feed the families of the neighborhood for just that one day.>>>While I will participate in local food drives again this year, do you know of a website or any contact information to assist other drives such as this one?PS...Looks like your Git Ya Butt Up - It's Xmas Time! post made the front page of the FoolProject Xmas!Foolish Elves unite! It's time to make a difference (free Community trial required).
Hey Dana, I'm having a hard enough time trying to get the northern Cal Fools together at one time for just about anything, so I don't know if there are enough interested parties in this neck of the woods to pull off a community thing, but I'll be willing to try. In fact, DH and I are hosting a housewarming party next weekend to which we have invited all the Fools in the Cal Kingdom we can find, so I'll toss the idea around then.If, for some reason, it just won't work out here, you can then count on me to do exactly the same thing that I did last year. Even though I've yet to secure employment in my new town, we'll manage to find a way to contribute the same amount. It's important. Of course, the contribution should remain anonymous.Thank you for spearheading this once again. You are a true angel.elizabeth
Hey there! This is a wonderful idea. I am in northeastern Connecticut--the poverty pocket of the (reputedly) richest state per capita in the country. Our church has an angel tree for the Salvation Army, another tree for foster children (our "rich" state provides $150 a month for each child--no matter their needs), and then we have a two-week period where we collect unwrapped gifts for the children of the residents of the Niantic Women's Prison. The women can then give a gift to each of their children. Then, when the tree is finally bare, we decorate it with hats and mittens for the local homeless shelter. If you are looking for local projects, these are suggestions. We have so much (otherwise we wouldn't have computers to read this, right?) I think sharing what we have is a "must". I would be more than happy to follow the crown on this board. I like the Chicago idea a lot. I had no idea that dirt floors existed in this country any more. Jac
bookgrrl,I have been lurking around here (FoolUS - FoolUK being my other home) for a good while, picking up tips and enjoying the discussions. It seems crazy that it is possible to be moved by stories of people so far away, and with whom one has had no contact whatsoever. Over the last few weeks I have read of your own personal tragedy, and I am so, so sorry. But I am truly amazed, even inspired, by the strength of character you have in you. To be able to think of the needs of others at a time like this for you is more than I could do, I am sure. I have thought about your proposals to make a difference over Christmas a lot over the weekend, and it really puts most of us to shame.Take care of yourself, and all good wishes for the future to you.D
I think that helping kids is always a good thing and so that would get my first vote. My second vote would be something for veterans (and by coincidence, here it is Veterans' Day). I feel helping veterans is our obligation as Americans.Here in Boston, we have the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans. The shelter takes in veterans (those who fought in a war or were "just" in the service) who agree to be sober/drug-free (they provide counseling). Then they get them into a program to learn job skills, get a job, and eventually help them to move on to their own apartment. I love the work they do first, because it's for veterans, and second, because it goes beyond just giving them a place to crash: they teach them real life skills and get them back into society. The people who work and volunteer there are just great. Having said that, regardless of where we end up, I am looking forward to participating! Please keep us posted!
BookgrrrlI know I'm a week behind, but count me in too. Here in London, Capital Radio organise "Share a Capital Christmas" with fundraising drives and donation drop off points. They give food parcels and toy parcels to needy families. Whilst I will be giving something to that, I'd like to contribute towards your Chicago efforts, too. Let me know how you want to proceed.I hope you're recovering well.hugsPam (too much work, not enough Fool time...)
I know I'm a week behind, but count me in too. Here in LondonI always thought London was ahead of us, and only by 6-8 hours :)(too much work, not enough Fool time...):( so trueOdee
Count me in! I like the focus on feeding (and hopefully providing more) things to these extremely poor families. If we do go with either option, please get us as much info about the included group as possible. (Which I'm sure you would do). I know the focus is on feeding them, but if we can do that and more, why not? The more we know about the size and ages, the more we'll know what we may be able to contribute.I suspect I'm not the only one who would cut back expenses in other areas if it mean that a last, possibly missed, child got a little something extra for Christmas.RC"I could've got more...I could've got more, if I'd just ... I could've got more ..."