Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Season of Giving 2014? Splendid!

In 2012 and 2013 I spent December blogging about the different organizations I would be making donations to both locally and nationally.  Unfortunately I'm not really in a position to do that this year.  I also decided that this, my last year in my twenties, would be a year spent trying to make the world a better place.  I am happy to report that I believe I achieved that on a small scale.  

This December, I am not making donations, but I will highlight the organizations to which I have already made donations over the course of the year.  So instead of my 2014 Season of Giving lasting just a couple weeks at the end of the year, I prefer to think that it lasted much much longer.

In July and August, I participated in two separate birthday challenges.  One begat the other, in that after hearing me talk about Julia's birthday challenge, Tina was inspired to do one of her own.

Today I'm sharing the finer points of Julia's Birthday Challenge.  Julia describes her challenge as "part photo scavenger hunt and part service-a-thon."  Participants photograph themselves doing charitable acts and/or making donations to charities and submit them to earn points.

How to gain points:
Donate clothing, books, food, or other items!
1 point for every 2 items donated

Volunteer your time! 
10 points per hour

There are so many places that you can volunteer your time! Here are some suggestions:
· Your public library
· Nearby meal center or food bank
· Local animal shelter
· If you are in the Decatur area, check out the GoodSamaritan Inn!
· If you are in the Chicago area, sign up to volunteer with Chicago Cares or DuPage Pads!

Donate money to a charity!
1 point for every 2 dollars donated

Suggested organizations: Alzheimer's Association and American Cancer Society.

(Just a quick note to put things in perspective: If each one of you donated $10 to a charity during the month of July, our total contribution would add up to more than $1,000!)

Raise money for charity!
10 points per hour, 1 point for every 2 dollars donated
Similar to donating your own money, this version involves donating your time and other people's money!

Ideas: Host a penny drive, have a bake sale, run a 5K or other race for charity, play an instrument on a street corner, have a garage sale, make crafts and sell them, build a banana stand, etc.

Pick up trash around your neighborhood or at a local park!
15 points per hour

Give blood! 
30 points for successful donation; 10 points for attempting to donate if you are deferred or denied. (Extra points for plasma/platelet/double red cells donation!)

Visit the American Red Cross website to find a place to donate near you!

Mow a neighbor's lawn!
15 points per lawn

Visit people in nursing homes! 
20 points for each visit

Bring flowers, sit and chat, play a game or do a puzzle, read to someone, play a song on your guitar, etc.

Organize a trash clean-up or recycling drive in your neighborhood!
15 points for initiative, +10 points per bag/box of trash/recyclables collected

Join Big Brothers Big Sisters!
50 points for pledging to participate for one year

Something else!

Any charitable activity that is not listed above will still count! Just send me your photo and a description of what you did and I will calculate your points.

This year participants could work as teams to earn more points.  I worked with my friend Gabe, and we called ourselves Chambana Domination!  And dominate we did.  Between the two of us, we made 2 donations to Goodwill, 2 donations to Connections (a resale store run by Courage Connection), monetary donations to Planned Parenthood and Leukemia & Lymphoma Research, 6 volunteer activities, and 1 blood donation.