A new year has begun with new opportunities to help those in need whether in our own neighborhood, school district, church community, or in the communities where we travel. Where there are people there is always a need. Frequently communities have "Day of Service" organized around Martin Luther King Day which is just around the corner. Check around your community for those opportunities. Or be the change-agent in your company/church etc and create an event for next year!!! Instead of just saying that things need to be different let's BE the difference! <3
What about starting a "Warm Hands, Warm Hearts" collection at your office/book club/scout troop/church? DollarTree and similar places sell simple gloves for around $1.00 a pair. You could raise funds to provide gloves to your local shelter or school. If you have 10 people and everyone chipped in $2.00 you could make an enormous impact for the cost of a cup of store bought coffee. Or perhaps folks would prefer to purchase on their own and donate those gloves. Loop in your directors, administrators, CEOs and presidents and put the full court press to them to join in! Start a friendly competition between departments! Imagine being ensured that the kids walking to school or adults waiting at bus stops all had gloves to protect their hands this winter? Warm their hands and warm everyone's hearts. Take An Extra Bag to your store today and donate to protect the precious hands in your community.
Are you thinking of doing a Secret Santa at work? How about you do a Secret CHARITY Santa instead? Your coworkers, friends, family can agree upon a dollar amount and then donate that money to a worthy charity in your name instead of buying gifts that perhaps we don't really need or maybe don't even want! (it's rough out there, isn't it! ;-) ) Take An Extra Bag and DONATE your gift expense instead of spending it on each other. The impact on those in need is far greater than the impact on each other, I'm sure we'd agree. You'll leave your office or family holiday party feeling like you ALL really made a positive, loving difference! "Wow, we donated a total of over $100 to charities today!" And if you work in a large office building maybe you can make it a friendly competition. Whichever department donates the most wins a pizza party sponsored by the CFO! Circle the wagons and make this count! Think of what the kids will learn, too! You got this! Let's make a positive impact on our communities this season!
Thanksgiving is coming up! Are YOU hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe your family goes out to dinner instead - cuts down on dishes! Use the gathering of many to start a canned/dry goods collection! Are your friends bringing a dish to pass to a holiday party? Send out a quick email and say, "Bring a dish to pass for us to enjoy and a can or two of soup to donate to those in need". Imagine how easy it will be to feed more than just your guests! Thanksgiving holiday party at work? Put the same idea into motion - "Bring your favorite casserole and a box of cereal to donate to our community food pantry!" There's plenty of time to plan this and make it happen! Get cracking and Take An Extra Bag to your holiday function and donate to your local food pantry!
I'm in the midst of relocating and what a great time to really, truly face the items in your life that you almost never use. Take those pieces and find them a new home PRONTO! Putting away summer clothes and taking out winter clothes? Also a great time to find items to donate! You can turn the chaos into charity, clutter into gifts! Go through your dressers or closets this weekend and free yourself of the things you're really not using. Pass them on to an organization that would be over the moon to have them. Appliances, shoes, mirrors, bath products, winter clothes and more! Take An Extra Bag of gently used items to your local shelter and give the gift of security to another today.
We just had the first day of Autumn 2016! Woohoo! I love autumn. One great thing to commit to is as you put away your summer clothes and unpack your winter clothes take a good honest look at your things. Are there pieces you are no longer wearing, no longer fit, no longer like that could be donated to folks in need? Have your kids outgrown clothing that's just taking up precious space? Let's get those items to your local shelter or good will! Even if it's just one bag to donate those pieces could make ALL the difference. What about winter boots? Holy moly those are important for folks to have in rough weather areas. Please Take An Extra Bag and pass on your gently worn clothing, shoes, and boots for folks in need. You'll have less clutter and they'll have a chance to be warm and dry this season.
Lets stay focused on kids returning to school and let's think about more options to help ALL kids have a great year! Reach out to your local school principals or cafeteria directors to find out how to make sure all kids eat even if they don't have the money. For example, can you and your neighbors, book club, bible study group, Zumba class, poker crew start a fund that could be used to cover kids who either forget their lunch money or their parents cannot afford to cover their lunch costs? We've all heard the amazing stories of corporations or individuals paying off kids school meal debt. What if you and a group of kind souls vowed to keep debt off the table when it comes to school meals? I know you can get this going. All it takes is the desire and good souls around you. Take An Extra Bag and commit to no child missing lunch in your local school! You got this!
Will you be hosting a Labor Day cookout? Take advantage of the numbers of folks you'll be seeing and ask them to bring one item to donate to your local food pantry! "Hey guys! In addition to the dish to share on Monday please bring one can of soup or box of cereal to donate to XYZ Food Pantry! Instead of only having a good time we'll also be doing a good deed!" It's so easy and you'll be amazed at how many items your crew will gather! Take An Extra Bag and turn a good time into a good deed!
Kari Stiles, RN, BSN, WCCN, CRRN. Philadelphia Metro Area, Pennsylvania.