RHODE ISLAND! Imagine having or being a sick child and having to celebrate your birthday not feeling well and being stuck in a hospital. The Confetti Foundation of Rhode Island is here to help children have a happy birthday and remove the stress for parents! They provide everything but the cake (obviously concerns about diet restrictions, allergies, and overall health of the child prevent this from being a reality). There are many ways to help Confetti Foundation including being the eyes and ears at your local childrens hospital! Be a secret spy that helps to change a childs hospitalization for the better or Take An Extra Bag of birthday supplies if you are in or near Rhode Island! For some children this could be their last birthday party so please reach into your heart and help out this awesome charity! http://confettifoundation.org/give/
MONTANA! Meet me in Montana... Imagine Missoula has created an awesome charity that is, in fact, a network of "friends" to help those in need. They "exist to help create a community of friends that is there to help - to fix a window, to build a fence, to paint a house, to plant a garden. To lend a helping hand or a listening ear. To make a difference right here in Missoula by meeting real needs and helping people live more beautifully. Simply by being good friends." You can get involved if you live in the Missoula area by sharing any skills or help you might be able to provide, you can donate basic goods like non-perishable food items or cleaning supplies, you can shop on AmazonSmile and donate to Imagine Missoula, or you can donate direct funds through their website. You can check them out at Imagine Missoula right here on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/imaginemissoula/ or their main website http://www.imaginemissoula.org/2010/10/who-we-are.html Please Take An Extra Bag to help the framily of Missoula Montana or start a charity like this one in your own community! How fantastic is this idea!!
WYOMING! Kindness Ranch http://www.kindnessranch.org/ is a one-of-a-kind animal sanctuary specifically for animals rescued from laboratory research and testing. They use a foster-home approach to rehabilitate any animals they receive so they might be placed in forever homes (cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, horses). If they are too debilitated to be safely placed, they remain on the ranch until they cross the rainbow bridge. You can spend a weekend or a week in a cabin at Kindness Ranch as a volunteer feeding and caring for the animals, learning about the difficulties they've endured, helping them socialize to encourage future placement, and supporting the endeavors of the passionate volunteers and staff. You can also Take An Extra Bag to donate animal supplies, blankets, toys, all of which you can purchase via their site established through Amazon. http://www.kindnessranch.org/about-us/wish-list. Please help these sweet animals have a better life and Take An Extra Bag!
UTAH! Children and the Earth has an admirable and passionate mission to "provide underprivileged and at-risk children with special opportunities they would not normally receive, while creating a positive environment for mankind." Their efforts include financial support for unexpected funeral expenses for any member of the family, support with medical bills particularly for children suffering from life-threatening diseases, funding for a family trip ( like Disney World a la Make A Wish style )during a family members last days, along with additional support like food, school supplies, clothing, etc for families struggling with unexpected hardship. Read some of their stories and you'll be beyond motivated to help. Take An Extra Bag while in Utah - now or during winter ski season - and help the Children and the Earth, literally. http://childrenandtheearth.com/ways-to-help/
SOUTH DAKOTA! Generosity, courage, respect, and wisdom are the values ingrained in the Lakota people. ONE SPIRIT is a foundation based with the Lakota reservations in South Dakota working hard to maintain tradition and culture along with keeping their people fed, clothed, warm, and educated. "They are a sharing society - when one eats, they all eat - or they all do without." http://www.nativeprogress.org/index.php/en/lakota/about-lakota-indians Unemployment, poor health and healthcare access, and living below the poverty level plagues the Lakota as much if not more than other cultures. I'm providing two links - one to their Okini list of families needs. You will notice that much like other areas of the nation it's multigenerational homes and beyond including families taking in Lakota in need of help. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0ApTAXFy5cfA_dG9sQ2RNMHRXVFE0Tk84VnNFLVRzdmc&single=true&gid=0&output=html I'm also adding in a link to their website for you to browse to explore other options for helping them.
NORTH DAKOTA! Oil boom, natural gas boom, homelessness boom. The lure for work of all kinds sent many running for North Dakota's 2.7% unemployment rate. However, ND saw a homeless rate increase of 200% as a result. Ruth Meiers Hospitality House is trying to meet the demands and continue to support the disadvantaged of North Dakota but they need your help. First, they are seeking volunteers to help manage the day to day operations of such a high demand. Second, they have a "wish list" on their main page with easy-to-donate products that could make a difference in the lives of so many. Third, you could always donate money to support this hard working organization. Folks report sleeping in cars and on the streets during the North Dakota winter which has an average temperature of 12 degrees farenheit - AVERAGE of 12 degrees. Ruth Meiers is trying to keep that from happening again this year. Take An Extra Bag and make a difference in the lives of some struggling folks. http://www.ruthmeiers.org/
NEBRASKA! I am awe struck by Food Bank for the Heartland. In 2013 they delivered 12.6 million pounds of food and serviced 286 food pantries. Originally serving Nebraska only the need was identified in western Iowa and so FBH expanded it's services. In addition to the expected food pantries they created Kids Cafe which offers dinners to kids in at risk areas, summer delivery program for kids called Kids Cruisin' Kitchen that travels to highly trafficked areas with kids under 18 offering them meals during the summer, FBH also delivers to elderly ensuring meals when there might otherwise be none. If you are heading to the Heartland or live near Food Bank for the Heartland I hope you'll consider a fundraiser, food drive, or opportunity to volunteer to help this awesome organization reach those in need. They need our support! Please Take An Extra Bag in Nebraska or western Iowa and reach out to Food Bank for the Heartland! http://www.foodbankheartland.org/about/history.aspx
IOWA! FAMILY, Inc in Council Bluffs, Iowa play a pivotal role in the lives of families with babies, infants and young children in Iowa. Through donor support they offer classes on infant massage, classes for parents to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome, home visits to assess car seat safety, home safety, breastfeeding, and maternal depression assistance. Since they provide their services free of charge for those in need they'd welcome your help with some supplies or financial support. The Shaken Baby class is fascinating to me and I'm certain they've saved many infant lives because of it, don't you think? Take An Extra Bag to Iowa and support FAMILY, Inc with their family outreach programs! http://www.familyia.org/donate/
HONDURAS. Honduras has been in the news quite a bit lately as many of the immigrants found crossing the US border are children fleeing from Honduras. Roatan, Honduras is a prime international diving destination so plenty of money comes to the islands. Still, they struggle to care for their own. Clinica Esperanza was started by a nurse from Ohio over 30 years ago quite literally at a kitchen table. With help Nurse Peggy has developed it into a full fledged healthcare clinic including international internships for nurses and physicians. Hopefully this will be my next international trip - to put my skills to use in Honduras. If you or anyone you may know is heading to Roatan for diving or just for an exciting vacation please consider helping out this amazing organization with in kind donations. They struggle to provide basic supplies like Tylenol, Benadryl, antibiotic ointment, etc. It's so simple. One more bag with donations of desperately needed supplies that we frequently throw out because they've expired. Please open your heart to these amazing workers and their precious population of families, children, and elderly who welcome your kindness.http://www.clinicaesperanza.org/
Kari Stiles, RN, BSN, WCCN, CRRN. Philadelphia Metro Area, Pennsylvania.