Getting involved and giving your time to support good works.

One of the things that I am going to strive for in 2013 will be to get more involved with charitable organizations in my community.  If you’re feeling sad or low, sometimes the best way to feel better is to help someone else.  I have two organizations that mean a lot to me.  They’re doing great work and they are doing it locally.

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.

Beckstrand’s sole purpose is to help with finances for people going through cancer treatment.
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.

Last year I shared the loss of Devin and Conner’s dad to colon cancer, and I have previously shared about my friend Donna, who lost a 4 year battle with breast cancer.  During that 4 years she couldn’t work as much, had astronomical medical bills (even with good insurance) and tried experimental treatments (that weren’t covered by insurance.)  The financial hit was a big one.  My BFF, HH and I all helped with fundraisers and auctions and spaghetti dinners, trying to raise money.  

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?

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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


  1. says

    My cousin is currently going through chemo treatments & there is a foundation similar to this one that is helping her out. Thank goodness because she is a single mom of a daughter & then recently in the last couple years has taken in her 17 year old cousins daughter & her twin 10 year old sisters… 4 girls on her own. The adoption process was complete last month. Amazing person & so glad that there are places like this out there to help out!

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