I’m swamped with work this week, trying to jam as much freelance stuff in before the holidays so I’ll have some money to spend for gifts, charities AND to actually, I don’t know, EAT.
I also let myself get sucked into writing another steamy short story that’s due for submission on December 1, and that might be my biggest challenge yet: essentially three days for several drafts and a submission package? What are the chances I can do it? But I’d like to get into this publisher, and they’re invitation only with the exception of anthologies. I also have a terrific idea, I just don’t know if I can do it justice in time.
ANYWAY! The point of today’s post is to turn people on to my favorite charities that I give to over the holidays. I may only be able to give a few dollars to each, but I always try to spread the word the best I can — a lot of people giving only a few dollars adds up to a lot of dollars!
1. Santa Paws DriveNot every pet is as spoiled and lucky as my girls — lots of wonderful food, a house kept cozy and warm, a wood stove and endless places to snuggle up, and so many toys they lose them under the furniture and still have plenty more to spare. Plus, they have us, their people, who love them and do everything it takes to keep them safe, healthy and happy, whether they like it or not.
Animals living in shelters are lacking those things. They don’t have their own people, their own forever home. The annual Santa Paws drive is the brainchild of Pimp & Moo’s mom over at The Daily Cute. It sends out cash donations and toys for kitties, puppies, and other homeless animals to try to make their holiday a little more joyful.
One of the best animal charities, the ASPCA gives lots of other ways to help homeless and abused animals besides just giving money. A great one is their shop, where you can get some great gifts AND help animals. The entire site is worth a look.
3. Amnesty International – It’s easy to forget the way people around the world and even in our own country suffer when we are wrapped up in our own challenges. I often think that while there are a lot of obstacles in my life, that my family struggles, at least none of us are political prisoners. I don’t have to worry about being shot in the head for going out in public without following certain edicts. I have a college education, and no one threatened my life to try to stop me from pursuing it. I don’t worry about being tortured when I speak up against my government.
Many millions of people around the world don’t have those luxuries. Amnesty International works tirelessly to assist those who don’t even have the most basic civil rights or anyone to advocate for them. I often give money to AI and AIUSA, the American arm — injustice happens here, too.
4. The American Red Cross — Another one I’ve often given to. When I was in graduate school, my very first apartment burned down, and the Red Cross absolutely saved my bacon. They put me up in a hotel until they could help me find a new place, they gave me vouchers for food and clothes. Most of all, they lent a shoulder to cry on at the scene, when I was watching everything I owned go up in smoke. Then this year, they were there when Superstorm Sandy hit, and now I understand they are really hurting for blood and donations as the work to help those still in need goes on.
5. Toys for Tots — Kids don’t understand what a bad economy is. If they believe in Santa, the heartbreak of an empty Christmas tree because their parent or parents can barely put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads breaks my heart. Even if I only have a few dollars, I always try to buy something that might bring a smile to some child’s face. Santa should visit everyone. (If that’s what you celebrate!)
There are so many more. I try to give to the North Shore Animal League, Habitat for Humanity, Feed the Children, and others, but the above are my targets for this Giving Tuesday. If I have more money later in the month, I’ll give more.
What are you giving to those in need this year?