National and international charities do great things, but in my opinion it can be difficult for everyday folks to get involved (outside of writing a check.) It can also be difficult to see the immediate impact an organization might have. That's why it's a great thing to get involved locally if you can.
Two of the issues that really touch my heart are homelessness and cancer. I want to share a bit about my two favorite organizations.
Children Today is a non-profit organization in Long Beach, California that has dedicated itself to helping homeless families. They provide free child care, preschool and family support services to infants and children up to six years of age who are facing homelessness.
They have created a few daycare centers specifically so that homeless children can have a safe place for the day as their parents try to get off the streets. Parents are able to get job training, go to appointments, see case workers, etc knowing that their kids are being cared for while they do it. Those who have jobs can earn money to support their families without worrying where their children are.
I have toured one of the daycare centers and it brought me to tears. For some of these children it's the closest thing to a "home" experience they have had. At meal times, every single member of the staff sits down, family style, with the children and they all eat together. There isn't a big turnover in either the staff or the children. They bond, they care about each other. It's wonderful.
As parents do well enough to move into their own homes and apartments, Children Today helps to find them donated furnishings, housewares and clothing. An organization, impacting lives, one family at a time. They're fabulous.
We can't always contribute financially, but we have been able to donate household items and clothing, and I have been able to donate some of my subway art pieces to their fundraisers and auctions. Getting involved feels good....
And then there's stupid cancer! It hurts so many people in so many ways, but one of the things people don't think about as much is how much it hurts financially. Enter The Beckstrand Cancer Foundation.
If you're in chemo (or have a child who is) are you able to work? Do you need to choose between paying for medical bills and keeping your lights on? Do you have kids that need babysitters? Did your income get reduced by half because you or your spouse can't work...? Beckstrand comes in and helps pay for things like your mortgage, transportation, utilities, food... whatever people need. They are angels.
|The boys' father, about 9 months before he passed away. Cancer is cruel and affects every aspect of one's life. |
He was weak, couldn't work and was wiped out financially by his illness. Cancer is evil.
I wish we had known about Beckstrand back then. When my BFF found out about Beckstrand Cancer Foundation, she committed to the cause immediately and is now their National Spokesperson. (I'm super proud of her and the work she's doing.) We saw first hand how cancer can decimate a family financially.
Beckstrand is raising money and then directly paying bills for people who are already under tremendous stress. Fantastic! Good works that have an immediate impact on the people who need help...
Do you have a favorite charity or cause that you support? How do you show that you care?
Kleenex brand, America’s softest tissue*, knows that once one experiences the softness of Kleenex brand tissues, they will be eager to share it with other cold and flu sufferers, friends and strangers alike, as a way to show they care. This cold and flu season, make the care complete with a Kleenex Brand Care Pack, and together we’ll turn a seemingly-small gesture into something bigger, to make everyone feel better. Visit kleenex.com/softness to learn more.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Kleenex via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kleenex.
about Vivienne Wagner