The month, 50% of the profits from this blog are going to Heifer International. This year, instead of the usual family gift from my in-laws, (Christmas dishes, Christmas carousel, cheese slicer, giant advent calendar) they gave, in our name, a donation of a flock of chickens through Heifer International. I was really excited. I’ve been trying to get RID of stuff so I was thrilled to not have to put another gift on the storage shelf in the basement. But even more exciting was the fact that I got to sit down with the boys and explain this to them. I’m a cry-baby, so I was all weepy as I told the boys about this. I told them how Grammy & Gramps save money each year to buy our family a present and how this year they took that money and bought a flock of chickens for a family in another country. We talked about how with the flock of chickens the family could now have eggs to eat so they wouldn’t be hungry anymore. We talked about how they could also sell the eggs and use that money to buy other kinds of food and also to send their children to school. We talked about how they could also eat the chicken meat. We talked about how they would also give another chicken to someone else so that they could do the same thing. And all because we didn’t get a present to open that year, another family’s life was going to be better. We talked about how we would still have presents at Christmas but all because we were getting one less present, someone else was going to have enough food to eat. AMAZING!
It’s pretty amazing. We’ve now started to let the boys pick out something at Heifer International on their birthdays. They have fun choosing from among the different animals. We go in and read about what the family will get to do with their animal and how it will help them.
I want our boys to have an understanding of how things are in other parts of the world and to see that there are things that they can do to help.
This month 50% of the profits from this blog will be going to The American Red Cross.
I recently gave blood at a Red Cross blood drive held at my husband’s office. Making regular blood donations is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. With my kids in school every day, I now have the time to make this a regular commitment.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the need there is in the world. I want to help, but I’m not sure where to start. Giving blood seems so simple, so basic. I’ve got some to spare, and my body will replace what I give. It only takes my time. Yes, I feel a little lightheaded and am tired for a day or so, but I can save someone’s life. It could be a baby, a child, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a grandparent. It could be anyone. We don’t typically get any notice when we need blood so we all rely on others donations so that the blood is available when we suddenly need it. So I give my blood now, so that it will be there to save someone else. I hope there is enough blood in the blood bank to save my loved ones should they ever need it.
I first heard of Elie Wiesel in college when I read his Holocaust memoir Night. It moved me deeply at the age of 18, but it brings me to tears as I read it again 20 years later. I am newly horrified by the brutality these millions of people endured and I am angered at the indifference shown by the rest of the world and I commit myself once again to do whatever I can to not be indifferent today.
Elie Wiesel said in his 1996 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: “Wherever there is indifference in the world, that place must at once become the center of the universe.”
My husband taught high school English for a time early in our marriage and he had his students read Night each year. After each class finished the book, he gave his students the option of sending Mr. Wiesel a personal letter to share their thoughts and ask questions. Each year, several students opted to send their letter and each year Mr. Wiesel took the time to write back to the students, thanking them for their thoughtfulness and answering their questions with hope and encouragement — evidence as strong as any that Mr. Wiesel remains committed to changing the world for the better.
This month, 50% of the profits from this blog are being donated to The Elie Wiesel Foundation. The foundation’s mission, rooted in the memory of the Holocaust, is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.
This month half the profits from neveroutgrowyourcar.com have gone to Kiva. Kiva is one of the many microfinance organizations now in existence and our family has donated to them several times over the years. As one of our “Christmas countdown” activities, each of the boys gets to choose someone on Kiva to donate to. Through the site you can narrow down your search by sex, country or even sector (agriculture, arts, clothing, education, health, retail, etc.). Right now they just enjoy getting to look at the map and choose the country they want to focus on. Primo had recently heard about the earthquake in Haiti and asked if there was anyone in Haiti he could choose. So we narrowed down our search to people in Haiti. Then we looked at the photos of the people, read their name and a little bit about what they wanted to borrow the money for. Throughout the year the boys will ask about the person they lent money to and how they are doing, and we can log into our Kiva account and see if there is an update.
I love micro-lending for several reasons. The first is that it allows people to help themselves, to decide what they need, and to provide a way for them to do it themselves. And the second is that once the loan is repaid you are notified by Kiva that your money is available to be redistributed. So the money that’s donated once will help countless people over the years as the original money is lent out and repaid and lent out again over and over again until one day, I hope, there will be no more poverty.
I’m a bit of a book slut. Not only do I read a lot (I mean a lot a lot), but I read more than one book at a time. More about that in a future post.
I recently finished The Power of Half. It’s about a family in Atlanta who sold their mansion and gave half of the money to charity. When this family first told people their plans the reactions they got were shock and surprise. People looked at them like they were crazy. Their teenage daughter explained, “We’re not giving half of everything. We’re just giving half of this one thing.”
Inspired by their story, I’ve decided to give half of this one thing. Half of any profits I make from this blog will go directly to charity. Each month I’ll post about who we’ve helped.
I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.