Friday, December 11, 2009

Catchin' the Spirit

Friday, December 11, 2009

I've jokingly told my friends and family that I'm boycotting Christmas this year, and I bet a lot of you can relate: too much stress, too little time to sit back and remember what it was that you used to love about this time of year, and too many annoying advertisers screeching that you're a bad parent or friend or loved one if you don't BUY STUFF - and lots of it.


But here's the thing: buying the usual run of candles and foot massagers and, yes, even outrageously funny gift books [wink wink] for my loved ones doesn't get me in the holiday spirit. Frankly, most of these gifts don't get them in the spirit, either.

"Gee, you shouldn't have. No, seriously."

I found inspiration in the form of Wreckie Collette Yates (no relation) and the Charity Cake-Wreck-a-thon she and some friends recently put together in Brighton. See, they asked friends and community members to bring in horrendously decorated baked goods (and boy, were there some doozies) which they sold at a local train station. In one afternoon they managed to raise 450 pounds for two cancer-fighting charities.

(From the left, that's Rachel, Collette, & Helen)
The power of Wreckage, used for good!

Now, Cake Wrecks is the sole source of income for me and John. (We used to be painters, but the economy nixed that.) However, thanks to you readers we can still afford to to give a little.

Which got us thinking: If 3 gals can use Cake Wrecks as a springboard to organize something that cool for charity, why can't we? And since Wreckies are some of the most creative, giving, and nattily dressed folks we know....

(You continue to rock, Mary Beth.)

...then why not get you, the evil wrecky henchpersons, involved?

So here's the deal: instead of buying gifts or trees or decorations this year, John and I are going to donate a minimum of $200 to a different charity or worthy cause, every day, for the next two weeks.

Which ones?

Well, that's where you come in.

See, we have a few organizations in mind, but certainly not 14. So, I'm asking for your recommendations.What are you passionate about? Where do you volunteer your time, talents, and money? Who do you know that needs help? Tell me in the comments (not e-mail!), so that we all can read and learn and maybe even give a little together.

Oh, and if you're worrying that CW is going to turn into a charity-pushing propaganda site for the next few weeks: don't. I'll just be adding a footnote to each day's post giving you the name of the organization, a one-sentence summary, and a link if you want to learn more.

Now, John and I will be choosing each day's charity based on our own individual passions - which might not match up exactly with your own - but even so I'm going to issue you a little challenge. Ready? Here 'tis:

Give one dollar to each day's charity.

If you each give one dollar - just one solitary smackeroo - together we can raise over $80,000 each day. BAM. Just like that. Imagine that 14 times over, all for worthy causes. Imagine the number of lives that could impact. Imagine, if you will...the bragging rights.

Yeah, you heard me. When you get involved in something that awesome, you get major bragging rights.

Ok. So. You pumped? You with me? You...ready for this post to be over? Heh, I hear ya.

Today's charity is Charity: Water. These guys use 100% of all donations to drill wells and provide clean drinking water to developing nations. Believe it or not, 1 out of 8 people on the planet lack this basic life-need, and every $5,000 builds a well that serves over 250 people.

Go here to donate your $1. That's the CW campaign page, where you can watch our progress, leave notes, and learn more. (Watch the video: it'll make you do a happy dance.) I've set us an easy goal - just $20K, or 4 wells - so I can't wait to see how far above and beyond that you guys are going to get us.

It's just a dollar, guys. C'mon. Let's do this together.

Note: PayPal *is* an option to donate, if you click here and hit the red donate button. A few caveats, though: PayPal takes $.30 of your dollar in fees, and your donation can't be tracked as part of the CW campaign that way. However, the point here is to give, so if you're only comfortable using PayPal, then please do so!

Update: One well down! That's right, guys, as of 4PM EST, we raised enough to pay for one well! Just three more to go...
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AllBlueZoo said...

As a military spouse I would be remiss if I suggested anything BUT the USO! It is such a wonderful organization that benefits our men and women in uniform, their families and our brave veterans. We have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of some of the wonderful things the USO puts together from a comfortable place to wait at the airport, to care packages for my deployed husband and a place to escape the heat on a summer day in Chicago.

Please consider www.uso.org as one of your charities of choice :)

Janel Waters said...

DEBRA.org is the research foundation committed to helping families with a horrible skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa. This is the worst disease you've never heard of. It mostly effects children and is usually fatal.

For more information please visit www.debra.org.

There is no treatment for this disease and there is no current cure. EB sufferers are usually wrapped head to toe in bandages like a mummy because even the slightest friction (even a hug) can tear the skin leaving the person covered in wounds compared to 3rd degree burns.

We need help, we need funding and we need a cure!

Emily said...

I love this idea. Okay, maybe I won't buy my traditional gift to myself this year (hmm... was going to be the Cake Wrecks book), but I think this is a great idea.

The places where I volunteer/support etc:
American Red Cross - obvious. They do so much and have some of the lowest overhead.
The Measles Initiative - one dollar can provide a measles vaccine. 450 people die from measles every DAY.
American Cancer Society - My dad died from cancer. I've got cancer susceptible genes. This is a big deal for me.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - kids get sick. Not for profit hospital. I volunteer there and it's just.. amazing.

falnfenix said...

my suggestions are:
the MS society
local pet shelters (not the ASPCA, as cash sent to the national org doesn't filter down to the actual shelters)
local food banks
also, if your local branch of the VA accepts donations, PLEASE consider them.

kacyd said...

St. Jude Children's Hospital is a great one, and especially close to my heart right now since one of my best friend's sons will be starting treatment there on Monday. They have done amazing things for children's cancer research.

Thanks for doing this - what a great way to celebrate the true meaning of this season!

Twirly McSwirl said...

Oh, and also for Alzheimer's research. I honestly don't know any specific charities for it, but I'd love to see money go there.

Kimberly Chapman said...

Awesome idea. I'm a frugal nut and not pleased with the mass consumption that comes this time of year either.

Looking forward to your other charitable selections. I personally won't do any religious-based ones because of my pro-choice, pro-gay-rights stances, and I'm not keen on anything war-related, but I'll give to most other environmental, social justice, kids, and animal causes (well, not PETA, but most other animal causes).

If there's a non-religious homeless shelter or assistance group in your area, that might be worth looking into, since it's cold out there right now.

Em said...

Oh yeah! I wanted to say thanks for doing this too!

I agree with other people's suggestions of Heifer International, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society.
The V-DAY Campaign started by Eve's Ensler is one of my favorite charities ever. All proceeds go to stop violence against women all over the world.
www.vday.org

Katie said...

Please donate to Debra (http://www.debra.org/). My daughter is 2 years old and has this disease. Debra has done wonderful things for us and they help countless families across America.

Elisa said...

The Fistula Foundation is one organization that I would love to donate to.

Mercy Corps is one that I give to regularly.

Eastern Tibetan Training Institute is one that I'll be visiting and possibly collaborating with in a few months.

Anonymous said...

Doctors Without Borders

I won't use PayPal either. Hope there is another way to contribute to these charities.

Shawna Fay said...

TOYS FOR TOTS!!

I was also going to suggest the American Cancer Society, since most of us know someone who has been affected by the horrors of cancer.

I was reading through the comments and read the one person who said they are goign through a foreclosure and won't be able to buy gifts for their children this year. That's when I thought about Toys for Tots, it's the perfect holiday organization!

You guys are doing a wonderful thing and as a long time reader, I think you just solidified why many of us check your blog each day. Yes, the cakes are funny, the comments are even funnier, but your spirits are the best!

Danielle said...

This is a great way to let others know of good charities to donate a little to this holiday season. My charity of choice this year is www.passportswithpurpose.com. Every $10 get you a chance to win a prize while you are helping to build a school in Cambodia.

MK said...

Kudos for a wonderful campaign! I reiterate the other poster's recommendation to check out Charity Navigator before donating; it's a wonderful site.

My suggested charities:

The American Hospice Foundation
http://www.americanhospice.org/

Citymeals-on-Wheels
http://www.citymeals.org/

Thanks for the inspiration and daily laughs! Best, MK

Anonymous said...

Where many of my charity dollars go:

Susan Komen Foundation or other breast cancer-related charities - in honor of my grandmother who had breast cancer and several of my former classmates who have been battling the disease the last few years (we're only 35!)

National MS Foundation - in honor of my sister-in-law who has the disease

Autism Speaks - a condition becoming more and more prevalent in children, most treatments are not covered by insurance, leaving parents heavily in debt

AmyRaz

Justina Clayburn said...

I would like to join in the push for the National MS Society. My mother, grandfather, cousin's wife and several other family friends all have this debilitating disease and to further research into treatment and a cure is always on our minds.

Also, something that promotes research for Pancreatic Cancer is on my heart. I haven't done enough research to see what Pancreatic Cancer associations are the most legitimate, so I'd hate to suggest a company that wouldn't be a good one.

Also, for all of the charity minded people out there: look at goodsearch.com. Goodsearch is a search engine much like Google, but for every search that you do the charity of your choice gets 1 cent. It may not seem like a lot, but think about how many times you search for something in a day, a week, or a month. A lot of pennies grows into quite a bit of money (and you don't have to spend any).

Heather said...

Wow. What an inspiring idea. Thank you, thank you for challenging the consumer culture! My husband and I moved away from gift-giving years ago and just started giving to charities.

In addition to groups doing great work fighting poverty at home and abroad, we give most of our money to a group working to change the system on behalf of victims of war: The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict http://www.civicworldwide.org. CIVIC not only is responsible for establishing U.S. government funds to help the victims of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is also working to change the international rules so that warring parties are responsible for ensuring that they help the innocent victims caught in the crossfire.

Caitlin said...

please consider the B+ foundation (bepositive.org)
they raise money for the families of those battling childhood cancers, all in the name of an amazing boy, Andrew, who was lost in July 2007. This money goes to help pay bills and other expenses so parents can focus, instead, on getting their children healthy again. Pediatric cancers are extremely widespread, but the research into curing these diseases is enormously underfunded.

It's an amazing charity, please please please check it out!
-Caitlin (Wilmington, DE)

Jennie said...

May I suggest 3 of my favorite charities.

Rescue Ink
http://www.rescueink.org/
Tough guys with heart who rescue abused animals.

Save The Chimps
http://www.savethechimps.org/
Provides a sanctuary for chimps who've spent their lives behind bars in research labs.

Room To Read
http://www.roomtoread.org/
Builds schools and libraries in the developing world. Providing education for millions of kids.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any money to donate, but there's this website called FreeRice. It's an online game, and as you play, for every question you get right, the website will donate ten grains of rice to the hungry. Best of all, it's free to play, and you don't need to register- just open the website and start playing. There are subjects to choose from, and multiple choice answers for each subjects questions. I'm using some of my time to play- that's my donation. You can sponsor the website organization too! So, if you need ideas, well....

str4y said...

Groups I feel really deserve a little extra blunt for being awesome:

The Humane Society: I have never had anything but good experiences with them. They treat the animals they take in well, AND the people coming to look at the animals. The Humane Society where I used to live actually managed to raise enough money to build a new set-up that didn't have kitties closed in 2x2' cages, and it would be wonderful if all of them could do the same.

Seva Foundation: They do all kinds of great stuff in under-developed countries...they don't just throw some food at impoverished areas, they give education (not of the missionary variety) and medical care. They do a lot that really helps in a way that isn't just short-term.

Your local library: without the library, I might not have survived my childhood and teens, and from what I know, libraries never have enough money to go around.

lynellenyl said...

This is a great idea, Jen and John. I may not have a lot to give, but I can do a dollar a day for a while. Thanks for setting this up.

Here are some of my favorite charities:

Save the Children

Compassion International

Habitat for Humanity

Heifer Project

Susan G. Komen Foundation

National MS Society

And, I know it's kind of local but the Oregon Humane Society just rescued almost 200 dogs in the last week from two horrible situations. They could use all the help they can get to get these dogs healthy and adoptable.

Patricia said...

Doctors without Borders is one of my favorites. I also give regularly to Habit for Humanity, March of Dimes, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. There are so many worthy causes out there. What a fabulous idea!

Sarah, Blackheath said...

Totally awesome idea!

PEAS - Promoting Equality in African Schools - gives free education to children in Uganda who otherwise would have to go to work.

Sarah xx

Carrie said...

www.hspca.org (main page)
http://hspca.convio.net/site/PageNavigator/about_us_important_facts (Fact page)

Since a lot of people have already mentioned the ASPCA (which is only one shelter in New York, not a national shelter - common misconception) I'd like to also nominate the HSPCA (Houston SPCA) because they do so much work and help hundreds of thousands of animals/livestock/exotic animals and their animal cops team covers 8,000 square miles. They also are always right in the middle of the hurricane relief efforts rescuing animals - when Rita struck they helped take in animals at the Astrodome for temporary housing and also went to New Orleans and surrounding areas to rescue animals and they did the same thing after Ike.

I think this is a GREAT idea and cannot wait to see all the wonderful charities that get support! :)

Anonymous said...

Please support Doctors Without Boarders. They go to the worst of the worst war zones, even when other organisations pull out. They treat anyone in need regardless of who they are and what they do.

Anonymous said...

I love to donate to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. It's a non-profit group of children's hospitals that provide top rate care for children and families even if they can't pay for the services. The people at this organization really do change the lives of these children and their families.

Carol said...

Wow....that really is an excellent way to help a whole lot of people! I've been doing more giving this year too -- my kids and I bought 10 ducks from World Vision's gift catalog that will be helping our 2 needy families somewhere by providing eggs and ducklings that they can sell.

I recently heard about Child's Play -- it buys games and game systems for children's hospitals all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Lots of the charities already suggested sound awesome so I don't really want to add any, since I'd like to see some of these charities get all the money they can.

Can I just request, however, that you avoid any religious and/or political charities (including military family charities), as you will be likely to alienate some people and run the risk of not being able to support a charity the way you really want to!

Nikki said...

This is FANTASTIC! I LOVe it! I wish more people would do this for the holiday.s and all year around!

Literacy Bridge is a small non-profit that's just getting started, but it's really doing great things! Please take a look and see if you agree:

http://www.literacybridge.org/home.html

Anonymous said...

Project Peanut Butter (food themed)
http://www.projectpeanutbutter.org/

Environmental Working Group
http://www.ewg.org/

Those are my picks!

-Keith

Lisa said...

http://www.jakesfoundation.org/

This is a great family who has made lemonade from lemons. Jake won his battle with cancer. This foundation helps families impacted by pediatric cancer. Very worthy cause.

Lisa

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend Aiducational International -- http://aiducation.org/

Aiducation gives merit-based secondary school scholarships to students in Kenya. They accept pay-pal, and 100% of your donation goes towards funding the school costs.

Lian said...

According to the World Health Organization’s 2001 estimates, sexual and reproductive health problems account for 18% of the total global burden of disease, and 32% of the burden among women of reproductive age worldwide. Each year, over 530,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth; most of these deaths are avoidable. Three million people die each year from AIDS. Almost all of these deaths occur in the developing world.

Marie Stopes International provides vital sexual and reproductive health services to some of the world's poorest people. Their work has transformed the lives of millions of women, protected the health of tens of millions more and is making an important contribution to the reduction of global poverty. They are one of the largest international family planning organizations in the world. In 2007 alone, they provided over five million people in 40 countries with high-quality health services, including family planning; safe abortion & post-abortion care; maternal & child health care including safe delivery and obstetrics; diagnosis & treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases; and HIV/AIDS prevention. They work in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Pacific and South Asia--40 countries in all.

Around the world, Marie Stopes International Partners have become major players in national health systems. In Tanzania and Malawi, the organization provides nearly 20% of all family planning services. In Bangladesh, they have over 120 clinics and rural outreach teams throughout the country, protecting over one million women per year from unwanted pregnancy. In Afghanistan, Marie Stopes International works closely with three government ministries to provide sexual and reproductive health services to more than 435,000 people; offer outreach services to more than 182,000 women; train more than 1,000 health professionals; and promote the rights of women.

Marie Stopes International’s services are delivered through clinics (including mobile clinics), rural outreach teams, community volunteers, social marketing and franchising, work-based initiatives, peer education programs, community based-activities, and refugee/IDP camps.

http://www.mariestopes.org

Stacey L King said...

FABulous idea! (and for PayPal only folks, I used the paypal browser plugin to donate without any problems).

My youngest was born with CHD, so the Children's Heart Foundation is my cause of choice. http://www.childrensheartfoundation.org/

Lady in Waiting said...

Heifer International, March of Dimes.

Phoebe said...

A project close to my heart is Breaking Ground (http://home.breaking-ground.org/) which I watched go from just my roommate wishing she could build a better school while teaching English in Cameroon, to a fully blown non-profit for sustainable, grassroots change in that country. It is still a fairly new organization, and any help it receives would make a huge difference.

What she and her friends have made happen there is amazing. Proof that anyone and everyone really can start saving the world!

april said...

I vote for "One Million Can"!

http://onemillioncan.com/

Sullivan's Mom said...

Saving Little Hearts
Congenital Heart Defects are the #1 birth defect in newborns! After our son was diagnosed with complex CHDs, we joined - they do some great things....they put together care packages for families with extended hospital stays - perfect for the holiday season!

Lexy Zimba said...

My first favorite charity organization is Miracles in Motion, which is a riding center for disabled students in Iowa. It is an amazing organization. The students love the horses, and the horses love them back! I have volunteered there for many years (all through high school), which means getting up at 6:30 am each Saturday morning, but it was so worth it. The volunteers are amazing and the classes are very rewarding. You can see improvements in your student. I have been moved to tears when we have a student say their first "Walk on" or even the first time they hold the reins for the whole class. If you want more information please go to http://www.miraclesinmotion.net

My second favorite organization is Chefs for Schools. CHEFs stands for cheap, healthy, eco-friendly food. The organization promotes healthy eating habits for all people, but especially focusing on disadvantaged people in New York City. The organization is just starting to get up and running, but it is a community partner with the Food Bank For New York City. For more information please see http://www.chefsforschools.org/


Thank you for doing this it is a wonderful thing. As a college student just trying to make ends meat I will not be able to participate in the donate a dollar a day, but I like to think I more than make up for it with the time I spend volunteering. Volunteers are one of the hardest thing for organizations to get, sometimes even harder than money! If you cannot donate your money, don't feel bad, just donate your time!

Laura Q. said...

I'd like to recommend United Way. They do great work. I volunteer at our local Crisis Center, which is a United Way organization. The Crisis Center includes a Crisis and Suicide line, Senior Line (for lonely elderly people), Teen Link and Kid's Help Line, and Rape Response Line. A lot of our calls come from people who don't have the resources and support that many of us take for granted. It's really an important organization that helps a lot of people.

Nani said...

I vote for the Kyle David Miller Foundation. After their 3 year old son was tragically killed in a car accident when the seat belt holding him into his booster seat failed, his family started the foundation as a way to promote proper car seat safety and to give 5-point harness car seats (which are safer than regular seat belts - that's why race car drivers wear them!) to needy families.

In today's western society the majority of families travel on the roadways and far too many children are sitting in inadequate or misused seats. An estimated 85-90% of all car seats are installed or used improperly, and as a result hundreds of children are seriously injured or killed due to completely preventable misuse. Current laws protect children only to a minimum, and by offering and promoting extended use 5-point harness seats, the Kyle David Miller Foundation is helping to keep our children safer for longer.

http://www.kyledavidmiller.org/

- Nani S.
Mom to an extended rear-facing 16 month old girl, and an extended 5-point harnessed 5.5 year old boy.

Days said...

May I humbly suggest that Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, which raises money to research a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy? SMA was recently deemed to be one of the top ten(if I remember correctly) diseases close to being cured.

You can read more at: http://gwendolynstrongfoundation.org

PinkCupcakeArts said...

I would like to recommend StopDiabetes from The American Diabetes Association (I didn't notice if anyone else had mentioned it before.)

http://stopdiabetes.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SD_homepage/

(http://www.diabetes.org/)

When my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last January, we had no idea what we were up against. Neither one of us had ever dealt with diabetes or diabetes related illnesses (since then we have learned that he has a long family history of diabetes and that his diagnosis was almost inevitable.)
So we turned to the internet and found the ADA website. From there we were able to find TONS of information and tools that he uses every day to LIVE with his diabetes, not just exist. We use the things we have learned to be pro-active about his health, and we couldn't have done it without the ADA. (Well, we probably could have, but they have the largest amount of info packed into one space.)

Becca said...

Make a Wish Foundation- they give dying children's dreams come true!

Anonymous said...

Ronald McDonald House charities. We stayed at one while our 5-month-old son was in the hospital for heart surgery. I don't know what we would have done without it ... and we were only there for a week! Some people are there for months.It was a godsend to be able to do there and get a little sleep or a decent meal.
Now, we donate baked goods (no Wrecks ... I think :) as often as possible.

Krista said...

This February will be my third year leading a group of middle and high schoolers to raise money for 30 Hour Famine from World Vision. All around the world teenagers spend 30 hours together fasting, raising money, learning about poverty, especially in other countries. All the money collected goes to provide food, education, clean drinking water, health care, and help make people self sufficient not only in other countries, but in the US as well. Just $1 a day can feed someone for that day. You can also sponsor a child and buy livestock and seed for people as well. It is a wonderful charity and I love the fact that teenagers have played such a large role in it. The websites are www.30hourfamine.org and www.worldvision.org. I am also on the board for a new charity called North Country Animal Assisted Therapeutic Program. We use horses and other animals such as dogs to provide people with disabilities therapy free of charge in Michigan. Seeing what a huge difference therapeutic riding can make in someone's life is just amazing. We are also wanting to start treating soldiers with various disabilities, including PTSD. Many soldiers in more rural areas of the country don't get the treatment they need because the care the government provides is too far away. We don't have a website, but if you are interested in learning more about therapeutic riding, there are some wonderful websites out there that have some great videos and information.

Krista

Anonymous said...

Please, Please, Please donate to The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. You can even donate to my family's team...The Fox-Lucidi Team in Jefferson County, NY. There have been multiple members of our blended family that we have lost and are supporting as they battle different cancers. This one is the nearest and dearest to my heart.

Tammy
lane52403@yahoo.com

Kimmad said...

OK, my own personal charity reco: the Magic Foundation
My son has a growth hormone deficiency which requires us to give him daily injections. He's 3, so this is not as easy as it sounds. The Magic Foundation is devoted to children with all kinds of growth problems, and they are a great resource for those parents with these special children. Yes, I'm extremely passionate about this...

they can be found at http://www.magicfoundation.org

Thanks! Kim

Dana said...

My twin boys were born at 24 weeks and we are extremely blessed that they are happy, healthy 15 month olds today. I cannot say enough about the March of Dimes. Without the research they support and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)Family Support Program, I do not believe my boys (or my sanity) would be here today.

Anonymous said...

I have to second (or third or fourth...) www.heifer.org. Not only do they give animals to help people get continuous food & income, but recipients then pass along animals to others who are in need. My husband and I have started buying whatever animals we can at Christmas in honor of our friends and tell them that when we send them their Christmas card :)

There are so many other good ones, too, though...
-K.P.

Megan said...

Personally, I'm a fan of these organizations:

1. MADD: Mothers Against Drunk Driving. My grandparents were struck and killed by a drunk driver when I was a young teenager. The drunk driver was 3 times the legal limit (.24). My hope is that others don't lose their grandparents or other loved ones to such selfishness.

2. American Diabetes Association: My mother had juvenile diabetes from the age of 9. It affected her life completely and even a kidney-pancreas transplant didn't outlast the damage done by this ravaging disease. Mom died at age 56 in 2007.

3. City of Hope: A cancer research hospital located in Duarte, CA. They helped in my sister's brain tumor treatments when she was 8 in 1981. They also employed my husband as a research scientist for a couple of years. It's a special place and I've talked to people from various regions of the country who've been treated there.

4. St. Jude's just because. I've had friends whose kids were treated there and it's so amazing

rebecca said...

Great Idea! I love the first charity choice, and suggest readers check out the group We Add Up - http://www.weaddup.com/ - to help promote causes, including "Drink Tap!" to remind us here in the US to drink our nice, clean tap water, rather than impacting numerous resources with bottled.

Christy said...

What a great idea! The charity I'm going to suggest has to do with cakes. Birthday cakes for children. Free Cakes for Kids provides a free birthday cake to children whose families may not otherwise be able to provide or afford one. This was started by Toni Paulos in GA when she made a cake for her 8 yr old foster child and the little girl began to cry because she had NEVER had a birthday cake before! Since then, other generous cakers, working with Toni, have started local chapter in cities throughout the USA, in Canada, and UK. We recently launched the San Antonio, TX chapter and have made four birthday cakes to date. The main website to the organization is www.freecakesforkids.com, and the local chapters are listed on the two volunteers pages.

Liz said...

I was so inspired I donated $5 :) Not much but I am jobless, but I love Paypal for making it so easy to dinate!

I'd like to make a suggestion for a charity, though I don't know of an American one (cannuck here). Allow me two seconds to tell you my story:

My father died of brain cancer when I was 14. I hardly even got to know him. He had 6 tumors in his brain and more in his lungs. He went paralyzed down his left side and was only 51 when he died. He suffered with it for over 2 years.

I'd really like, in my heart of hearts, to see something go towards cancer, regardless of the type--though brain cancer is of course what pulls at my heart strings. Think you can do that for lil' ol' me?

Erin said...

March of Dimes -
Last Thanksgiving my twin sons were born at 27 weeks weighing 1lb14oz and 2lb5oz. Without the research funded by March of Dimes (specifically the lung medication surfactent), I would not have 2 healthy, happy 1 year olds (19lbs each!) wrestling each other on my floor right now.

Great idea - will definitely be donating!

Krystine said...

Heifer International FTW!

Also, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is an organization that works with kids in the foster system, and helped three of my adopted brothers and sisters. They're amazing! From the website: "CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home. They stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence—the one adult who cares only for them.

Last year, more than 68,000 CASA volunteers served more than 240,000 abused and neglected children through 1,018 program offices. CASA volunteers have helped more than two million abused children since the first program was established in 1977."

http://www.casaforchildren.org

Lisa said...

The charity I donate the most time, money and effort to is Autism Society. http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=donate_home

I have 3 family members with Autism varying from 'Classic' to Asperger's, and so this one is always on the hot seat. :)

Lazy Menu said...

World Vision. I sponsor two girls in Zambia, Dorcas and Teletha. They are about the same age as my boys and they've almost removed my desire to keep trying for a girl of my own! So, that's how they've helped me. World Vision also makes sure they have clean water, clothes, and tries to make sure they go to school. They also teach them about Jesus. And, I don't have a problem with that. Jesus was a good guy.

I love getting letters from their community. And, I'm looking forward to when they are old enough to write themselves. See, this is all about me. I'm not expecting them to give me grandbabies or come over for Sunday supper in 20 years. But, I'm looking forward to watching them grow up knowing that I'm able to do a small thing that makes a big difference in their lives.

Kristin said...

I agree with the KIVA suggestions, as well as Feeding America and Habitat for Humanity, and the Humane Society International.

I also think an international AIDS/HIV charity would be a great idea: maybe AVERT. Also Amnesty International

Lauren said...

Hi Jen and John!

This is a wonderful post and a wonderful idea.

My name is Lauren; I'm an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at a small Red Cross chapter. I sometimes think the American Red Cross is in a funny position--everybody knows about us, which is a blessing; but this also sometimes means it’s easy to take us for granted. But the work of the Red Cross is so essential and so, so lovely—and so dependent on YOU. When there's a disaster (some 70,000 a year!), we're there to provide the victims with all their basic needs--food, shelter, counseling, and much more. I've witnessed first-hand the passion and commitment of our disaster volunteers, out of bed at three in the morning to rush to a house fire. We educate over 15 MILLION people every year in disaster-preparedness and lifesaving skills (CPR and first-aid, babysitting, lifeguarding--trust me, you know SOMEONE who's taken a Red Cross course!). Through us, some 4 million people give blood--a way for the average person to literally save a life--every year. We also (little-known fact!) exchange more than a million emergency messages between service members and their loved ones annually.

There's so much more to say--but this is already too long! Like I said, I sometimes think the Red Cross, because of its very reliability and steadfastness, fades into the background a bit. But I truly believe that this country would feel, instantly, if the Red Cross were not there to provide our vital services--entirely funded by donations of time, money, and blood.

Thanks so much for the chance to tell you about this organization I care so much about, and best of luck with your wonderful endeavor!

Lauren

SouthAfricanSweetie said...

Props to you, CakeWrecks for doing something philanthropic this year! Acts of kindness seem to be few and far between in my neck of the woods, unfortunately.

Here are my two charity suggestions:
The Humane Society. Why? Because I own two shelter dogs, and they have enriched my life far beyond I ever expected. Without the humane society (and their funding) I may have never found them--because they would have been euthanized right away. Funding gives the humane societies across the nation food, electricity, and vet resources help these wonderful animals find new homes.
And, the American Cancer Society. Why? I lost my mom to colon cancer in July of this year, and the ACS was there at every turn to help us with resources, support and information. She was only 55, and early detection could have saved her life--if we had known.

And the last one, which I know you probably won't choose but which I'd like to tell you about is the Hanne Howard Fund in the Lenana Slum just outside Nairobi, Kenya. Hanne Howard is my distant cousin, and she works tirelessly at this orphanage for AIDS orphans, using funding entirely out of her own pocket and whatever donations she can get. She provides children who have no chance at life an opportunity at education, at access to the outside world, and for even the simple things like a clean bed, food, clean water, and someone to love them.
Here in the link if you'd like to learn more about her efforts:
http://www.hannehowardfund.org/

OK, now I've blathered on for too long. Best of luck, and thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

I would like to nominate Honor Flight Chicago for your charity list! Honor Flight Chicago provides veterans, especially those who served in WWII, a chance to visit the memorial in Washington D.C. that was erected in their honor. Our veterans have given so much, and yet many of these individuals have never even seen the memorial, let alone get an opportunity to both be honored and have a chance to say goodbye to those they lost in battle.
http://honorflightchicago.org
Thank you so much for this!!
Maureen

PUMPKIN said...

Definately Heifer International. They give hope and skills. A great organization!!!

Lumy said...

I don't know if they have to be national charities - if it's okay, I want to suggest something in my local area that is a huge part of my life. Eastside Community Center in Columbus, Indiana.

This is their website: http://eastcc.org

It's just a little building that puts out free meals every Wednesday, does free meals on Thanksgiving (and various other points throughout the year), adopts a family at Christmas, has family-friendly activities, and provides a place for meetings for anything from AA to the local Writer's Group.

They host classes on resume writing, interviewing, have financial literacy classes, and help people with their taxes. Most recently, they've become a part of the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network. That's just a small amount of what they do on a regular basis.

And, they rise to the occasion. In June 2008, Columbus had an awful flood. Plenty of people had their homes destroyed or severely damaged. Only days after the flood, Eastside began delivering a meal every day to hundreds of people who were working on their homes, and to the people who were helping. And they went going, long after everyone else had stopped delivering or helping the flood victims with food. They went through to December, ultimately serving 38,413 meals. I actually texted my mother for that number, and she knew it right away, because that's when she started working for them. She started that, and she continues to volunteer for Eastside nearly 60 hours a week for nothing.

Eastside does so much and they have so many plans for the future. I grew up with them, and I know there are many worthy places, but I think it would be absolutely fantastic if you could help them.

- Sarah H.

Anonymous said...

I nominate New Hope Outreach Ministries. I have been on their trips, I have met John and Evelyn, and I have spent time with them and their staff. I can tell you that they are committed and passionate about what they do, and they do awesome work around the world. www.newhopeoutreach.org

Amanda said...

With great power comes great responsibility, eh? Way to use your platform for good guys!

The group I'd recommend is http://www.creativitytour48.com We are Destination ImagiNation alumni who are taking a road trip through all lower 48 states this February to promote this fabulous program.

Destination ImagiNation is an after-school activity in which students work in teams to solve mind-bending Challenges. Teams of students from kindergarten through college are challenged to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions. You may remember the program's predecessor, Odyssey or Olympics of the Mind.

I support this program because I think it's the one of the best way to solve a lot of the issues raised by the other charities listed here. If we teach our kids how to think creatively and work together, they will be better prepared to come up with real solutions to things like disease, war, and hunger.

Plus, on our journey, we will be "wrecking" the nation. We're asking teams to send us decorated lawn flamingos so that we can "flock" national landmarks. We're hoping our flamingos will be ridiculous enough to bring lots of attention to the kids' creativity and this wonderful program!

Thank you for this opportunity!
Amanda

Lady Anne said...

What a marvelous idea! My sister has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), so I have a particular interest in that. For some reason, it is also hitting our returning service personnel very hard, with twice as many cases as the general population.

Anonymous said...

I would like to recommend the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins (www.alscenter.org). They do such great work with patient's who have Lou Gehrig's disease. They focus on research as well as patient care.

Jaclyn

Krista said...

Almost forgot. I used to work in the dementia units of a nursing home. Very rewarding, but also very heartbreaking. Any alzheimer's charity would be great. Also, big animal lover, so charities that help animals would be great. And cancer research. I lost my sister and grandmother to cancer, both my parents have had cancer, my friend's husband just died of cancer in his mid 30's, I could go on, but you get the idea. Cancer has probably touched every person in this nation and everyone is at risk of developing cancer. I think it should be a given that we need to support cancer research.

Krista

Anonymous said...

Yay! I gave dollahs. I'm so swank.

You should consider at least one animal rescue organization. They're really suffering in this economy.

Rowan said...

Thanks for all the laughs- you folks always make my day!

Now you (and all your fans) have a chance to make MY day. You see, I run The Creative Oasis, a non-profit art studio in the heart of State College, PA (y'know, by Penn State University..) We are 12 years old, and are the largest public non-profit art studio in the whole county. And we are 100% volunteer run. All of our staff, our teachers, and yes, even our Illustrious Director (me), donate our time to keep the place up and running. We provide summer camps for kids aged 5-17, adult education, and a public gallery where local artists can sell and showcase their work.

The economy has really hit us hard, to the point where we may have to close our door for good. Our income just isn't covering our overhead, which is relatively low. We've got wonderful staff, programs, facilities and students...but what we really need is donor support.

We're not curing cancer, or saving the glaciers...but what we do every day is touch and enrich the lives of the community around us. My volunteers (and myself) have given thousands of hours of our time to make this a success. What keeps us going is the knowledge that giving people the gift of art is something you can't put a price tag on and it changes lives.

Won't you help us continue to make a difference?

http://www.thecreativeoasis.com

Thanks,
Rowan Rose
Director
The Creative Oasis

MorningStar said...

I second the Child's Play recommendation(www.childsplaycharity.org).
Not only do they help hundreds of children each year they show the true power of the internet (it was start by the writers of a webcomic).

Whitney said...

I don't envy the task yall have ahead of you choosing your charities. I've teared up just reading through everyone's suggestions.

I have several charities that are close to my heart but I recommend:
alz.org

I lost my granny this year but before she passed it was the hardest thing seeing her lose her mind (as she would say), not know who we were, etc.

Off to donate to Charity: Water!

Jessica said...

I also say the March of Dimes. Prematurity is not their only concern. They also focus on lots of different things that affect newborns including heart defects. We support them in honor of our youngest who was born with ToF. They are always needed support.

jjensen1313 said...

Great idea which makes me love your site even more!!

Habitat for Humanity is a GREAT charity that gives back to a person not just a home but a sense of accomplishment. Each habitat recipient is required to put in hours building other people's homes before they become eligible to receive their own.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea! I also vote for a local no-kill animal shelter or animal rescue organization.

Cathie said...

http://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/humanitarian-services/

LDS Philanthropies assists with both emergency response--often times they have semitrucks full of supplies waiting for a hurricane to pass so they can go in and deliver them--and longterm projects like clean water, neonatal resuscitation training, wheelchair distribution, etc. Although it is affiliated with a religious organization, aid is offered to everyone. They often partner with other humanitarian organizations throughout the world, including Catholic Community Services, Islamic Relief, and the Red Cross.

You can actually donate on the website to the specific projects, or to the general fund. The other great thing is that all of the money goes to the project it was donated for--absolutely no money is used for administrative costs, which are paid from other funds. It's awesome.

Danielle W said...

What an awesome idea! I'm definitely participating.

Oh and, I think it's so awesome that you guys can support yourselves on this now! We bought one copy of the book as a gift but now I'm regretting not buying several (one for me of course!) Guess I need to get some more! :D

Dlinthe said...

Autism Speaks.

As a person who deals with a mild, high-functioning form on a daily basis, I have a great respect for those who dedicate their lives to helping those with Autism and seek to find a way to alleviate the symptoms and eventually cure it. It's a tough thing to live with some days on my level, and the parents and loved ones who have the patience to care for their family members who have extremely severe forms of it is just an incredible thing. I just think that groups like Autism Speaks offer hope for the future of it all.

Amanda said...

Taylorstale.com

I would highly recommend Taylor's Tale, because every child deserves a second chance. A friend's sister is living with Batten disease.

Batten disease is an inherited, neurodegenerative disease that primarily strikes infants, toddlers and school-aged children. Presently, there is no treatment, and it is always fatal.

Taylor is currently 10 and we are fighting to find a cure!

Anonymous said...

http://www.endfistula.org/index.htm

Fistulas are a large medical problem in developing nations where women are married young and get pregnant before their hips finish developing. The pregnancy typically will result in the death of the baby and do damage to the mother making her smell no matter how much she cleans. She is then typically considered cursed and a pariah by the community and lives her entire life in isolation. $300 can pay for the surgery to repair the fistula and $60 can pay for a c-section to prevent it from happening and save the baby.

I think this is a very good cause and one that is probably over-looked for some big name charities like some of the ones mentioned. Help raise awareness of an issue that some may not even know exists please.

Love you guys, so proud that you're representing O-town :)

Anonymous said...

http://www.freetibet.org/

Free Tibet! Tibetans aren't allowed to teach or learn their native language or customs in their native land, and now that they have been spread around the globe, it is a constant struggle for them to maintain a connection to their rich and ancient culture. In the past ten years, twenty Tibetan families have moved into my town in Connecticut, and every day I am moved and awed by their kindness and goodwill, qualities that are sorely lacking in the world today. If this beautiful culture dies out, it will be a major loss, not only to Tibetans, but to the entire world. Freetibet.org is not just about ending Chinese occupation (which is vital); it is also about education, so that Tibetans the world over can hold on to their language and culture, as is every human being's right.

M said...

Not sue if this has been posted, but always make sure you research your charities before donating:

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

There are so many deserving places out there, but there are also charities that need to be much more efficient and cost-conscious.

Oh, and my vote is now and will always be for the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA.

Julie said...

One of my favorites and the place that helped us find our precious daughter Daisy, is Reece's Rainbow. www.reecesrainbow.org. Andrea, the founder, started Reece's Rainbow in 2006 to help bring awareness to children in Eastern European countries that have Down Syndrome and other special needs. Sadly, once these children reach the age of 5, they are transferred to mental institutions where most won't survive the first year. Through Andrea's mission, she raises grant money for each child in hopes of those children being adopted out of the poor conditions they are in or out of the institutions they are forced into due to their special needs and placed with forever families. In the few years Andrea has started Reece's Rainbow, over 300 children with special needs have found their forever families and many, many more are due to come home soon. Without her and Reece's Rainbow, we would have never found our daughter, and we certainly would have never been aware of the conditions that these precious children face, due to their special needs. I encourage everyone to stop by Reece's Rainbow and help out in any way possible. Donate, Pray, Adopt, whatever you feel led to do. I promise, your life will be forever changed by these special little ones.

Anonymous said...

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation

www.wffoundation.org

Helps the families of fallen and hurt firefighters.

My fiance is a wildland firefighter, to us this is one of the most important places to give.

Second on our list, the Humane Society, I'm a sucker for a cute face!

Andi F.

Tamara said...

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is a wonderful organization of volunteer photographers that come to the hospital and give a portrait session to families that have a stillborn baby. It gives these families the only pictures they will have of their baby which is an important part of the healing process.

Amber said...

Susan G. Komen foundation, the ASPCA, Saint Jude's Children's hospital, and the Shriners are usually my charities of choice. Those people do amazing work.

Anonymous said...

Another reader here that never posts! LOL

May I suggest:

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
www.jdrf.org

Great organization trying to find a cure for juvenile diabetes that affects so many of our kids!

Patrick said...

Patrick

My charity suggestion is HATCH.

Hatch is a Houston-based charity origanization that provides positive role models and safe environments for GLBT youths in the city. Through this organization we help young people trying to understand their identity find their place in the world, and help them cope with the coming out process. My social group the Houston Area Bears donates a lot of money from our fundraisers to this group and I've volunteered there as a peer counselor. It's a wonderful organization and I've seen a lot of great things come out of it.

http://www.hatchyouth.org/

Anonymous said...

The Pajama Program!

www.pajamaprogram.org

They give warm PJs and good books to kids in need - many of whom are waiting for adoption. It would break your heart to know the number of kids in shelters that don't have pajamas.

This is a perfect charity for the cold holiday season :)

Thanks Wreckies - you make me laugh every day!

paddlemama said...

Samaritan's Purse (http://www.samaritanspurse.com/)
is an incredible relief organization that responds to disasters and desperate situations all over the world. They are also the people who distribute Shoe Box gifts to children all over the world through Operation Christmas Child.

Rochelle said...

I support Right to Life. The organization raises awareness to help protect unborn children.

Heather said...

Love it! Thank you for doing this.
My faves include Heifer International (my big sister is getting chicks for Christmas this year! heh), World Vision, my province's Children's Hospital, Operation Christmas Child, and the AIDS orphanage in Cambodia where my little brother is currently doing a one year internship: http://placeofrescue.com/
And of course the list could go on and on!! Thanks again for doing this. GREAT idea!

Mea said...

I strongly believe that any donation towards SNAP (Spay and Neuter Programs), humane societies or the ASPCA would go a very long way.

In the current economy, many people are having to make the hard decision to give up their animals, which is overloading the system. Those that keep their pets are often unable to have them spayed or neutered, which results in more pets with no homes, again, overloading the system. It's amazing what just a few dollars can do for these organization, and I think they're a very worthy cause.

Having lost someone in the last year to Hodgkins lymphoma, The Lukemia and Lymphoma Society is dear to my heart, as are Team in Training and City of Hope. Any of these organizations could really use the help, and they do so very much good.

Hayley said...

I really respect what Love146 is doing. They're working to abolish child sex slavery and exploitation.
love146.org
Hayley

Babsiegirl said...

I'm going to recommend American Rescue Workers in Baltimore, MD. This is a faith-based organization that provides overnight emergency shelter for homeless men, a residential substance abuse recovery program, a convalescent care facility for medically fragile homeless men, a soup kitchen feeds the residents and overnight guests daily and anyone who is hungry twice per week, and a children's ministry that provides emotional, spiritual, and material needs for very poor urban kids. Please check them out at www.americanrescueworkers.org . And as another poster had suggested that we include in the post, they do accept donations by paypal.
My parents are the commanding officers of this ministry, so I can personally verify that they are doing an excellent work in their community!

Elaine said...

I support dinnergarden.org They send seeds to anyone who needs/wants them in order for people to grow their own food so that they will spend less at the grocery store and not be hungry.

gamed-94050 said...

I'm big on supporting Veteran's groups-national or local, specific branches or all, doesn't matter to me. Lately we've supported the US Navy Veteran's Association in sending care packages to out to all our overseas troops.

Also-why do so many Christmas cakes seem to be made with Valentine's heart pans? Just wondering.

thesacredandtheprofane said...

I work for HSI, a nonprofit in Minnesota that provides mental health, chemical health, and elder health services. You can learn more about our vast array of programming by checking out our website at hsicare.org. If you want to set up a similar campaign page like the one you are using for the water donations, you can go through GiveMN.org and create your own campaign for HSI.
Hope that is helpful, and feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.

Anna said...

My charity of choice would be The National Eating Disorders Association.

Nationaleatingdisorders.org

As a nurse whose sister spent 8.5 years with an eating disorder, I began volunteering for them out in Seattle. Now in recovery for over a year, my sister loves cake again and is a healthy strong person. NEDA helps so many people and is a really awesome group of people!

Debra Svedberg said...

I gave a dollar, but mostly because the only extra cash I have is in a paypal account, so that payment option made a difference for me.
I hope we can make a difference!

Heather said...

I'm a big fan of the Electronics Frontier Foundation. They really impress me and I'm so glad they exist...

(http://www.eff.org/)

AJ said...

The American Red Cross.

SIX DAYS after my son was born, a tornado ripped thru our town and hit our house. The Red Cross provided us with clothes, diapers, baby bath, lotion, shampoo, etc. for him and food and clothes and other basics as well as vouchers to purchase other essentials for hubby and me. I don't know what we would have done without them stepping in so quickly and making sure the area families had what they needed. Therefore they are near and dear to my heart.

Anonymous said...

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center or Hopeline (1-800-suicide) is a great option, it not only helps people dealing with things like depression and self-injury, it provides information for the people who love them.

I also agree with the other posters who listed Heifer International, it's a great organization.

Invisible Children is an awesome organization working to help children affected by war in Africa, Uganda particularly.

This is a great idea!
Anne

Lauren Elyse said...

GMHC (http://www.gmhc.org/) works on stopping AIDS and HIV. They are especially close to my heart because when a good friend of my mother's was dying of AIDS in 1985, they were the only people helping him. They made his life as comfortable as possible at the end, when insurance and many doctors looked at him like he was some sort evil being just because he was gay and had AIDS.

I know it's a really personal reason to support this charity, but they went out on a limb to help others when society was shunning them. For that, I think, they need real recognition.

dutchdish said...

I would say I'm lost for words, but that rarely ever happens to me, so I won't lie! This is awesome! Great way to do some good and a great way to celebrate the holiday spirit! This is a far greater gift than anything you can buy in the shops, and I'm just guessing it reaches a lot more people as well. *applauding till hands are sore*

I'd like to nominate some charities as well. So far I have three, but I might be back tomorrow with more names (Oh, and forgive me for not reading all 222 comments to see if anyone else mentioned these already...)
Wine to Water: http://www.winetowater.org/ (Bartender goes charity)
Living lands and waters: http://www.livinglandsandwaters.org/ (cleaning up the Mississippi and also restoring the natural environment)
Heifer International: http://www.heifer.org/# (giving cows to poor people in Africa, who give the offspring of their cow to someone else)

Renee said...

I am a big giver to my local Food Bank. I spent six years on their board of directors and volunteer there often. I think it goes nicely with todays water charity as food and water are the basic necessities of life.

Stacey said...

Wow! What a great idea! I am in for $1 a day.

I would like to see some medical organizations considered, like Doctors Without Borders or a similar smaller operation Floating Doctors.

Trevor said...

What's up with that first cake? I didn't know aliens celebrated Christmas too!

jenconbar said...

love this idea.

I am a selfish creature--while I wish I could save the world, I want to start with saving my friend....
http://www.cureforcandace.com

this girl taught me how to see the world and smile. she showed me that mountains were more than just dirt -- but rather dragons sleeping under blankets. She deserves a fighting chance.

And while I wrote this, 148 more dollars were donated to charity:water… simply amazing.
i am so glad you use your power for good *wink*

Anonymous said...

Your local CASA program: Court Appointed Special Advocates provide a voice for kids in foster care and represent the kids' best interests throughout the process of finding them a permanent, stable, loving home whether that can be back with Mom and Dad or another family.

Merry Christmas!

Emslynn said...

Tanzania Development Support is a pretty sweet group. It's small, but they do great work over in Tanzania with volunteers and students to further education and development in small villages. Check them out
tdsnfp.org

:) What a great idea!

amy h :) said...

i was going to suggest a water/sanitation charity, but you beat me to it! i'll have to just see what everyone else came up with.

i love the idea of this giving campaign--keep up the good work cake wrecks!

Anonymous said...

My three favorites are the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, ASPCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters. BBBS especially could use funding.

Paula said...

Please, Please think about donating to SmileTrain
The can provide a surgery to children with cleft lips and palates for a mere $250. Children who would otherwise be shunned as freaks are given a new life. The same surgery here in the US charged my insurance $17,000!.

Another idea that I just HAVE to push is a charity that has to do with literacy. I am a librarian, and too many people out there still aren't reading. How is this possible??

I LOVE your idea about just $1 a day. Who can't get on board with that!

Thank you so much! I love your site, and I've been a follower and pusher of your site for some time.

Fignie said...

GREAT Idea! :)

I live in Northern Canada ... we have no child's specialist up here, all families that need specialized care for their children have to be sent on a 2-3 hr plane ride to the nearest major city.

Ronald McDonald House charity provides families with a happy well loved places for the families and children to stay when they leave the territory for medical treatment.

http://www.rmhc.ca/HomeEn.aspx

It is truly amazing the help they provide to remote communities when we need help for our children.

Again, AMAZING idea!!
Danielle :)

thetnpreacherswife said...

In favor of local charities that struggle and get far less attention than national and international charities....
Holston Home for Children
www.holstonhome.org
A small organization committed to reuniting families in the foster care system and to creating new families through adoptions. And they have an awesome Adventure Based Counseling Program that uses horses, gardens, ropes courses, and other creative interventions to work with kids and families!

Flartus said...

OMG, Jen, you guys are seriously impressing me. I like you even more for using your superpowers for good!

Two charities I believe in and support on my own: the Heifer Project and Feeding America. Both of them seem a good use of money collected via wasted food!

Seriously, you have just made my day with your inspiring generosity!

Peggy, RN said...

May I add to the chorus of "what a great idea Jen & John have posted ! " I've made my donation for today, I will follow along for the 2 weeks and I thank you for challenging us all.

The charity that is nearest & dearest to my heart is the March of Dimes. Prevention of prematurity is their goal; mind you, as an insurance case manager for neonates & a NICU nurse, prevention of prematurity would put me out of work -- BUT THAT'S OK ! ! ! Every baby deserves the best start in life, and the research funded by March of Dimes helps to assure that babies are born healthy. Please consider them as one of your daily charities.

Peggy, RN, in Ohio
daily reader (sometimes 3 or 4 clicks per day to see what people are saying) but infrequent commenter.

Sarah said...

I love this idea! Our family has stopped giving presents the past few years and makes donations instead. Some charities we've donated to include the local animal shelter, Red Cross, and Invisible Children.

And, here's one you might like, this is a group of culinary professionals that do short-term volunteer trips. I heard of them recently because of a project with Chicago kids, teaching them to cook as a way to prevent teen crime. Their website: http://culinarycorps.org/ and the article about their project in Chicago: http://matadorchange.com/a-new-recipe-for-teen-crime-prevention/

Manda said...

One of my favorite charities is the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, they take in retired circus elephants or elephants that were housed in bad conditions in zoos and have space for them to live freely, not in cages. http://www.elephants.com/

This is a fantastic idea, thank you so much for doing this!

Amy said...

St Jude's Children's Cancer Research Hospital in Memphis treats all children from all over the world, regardless of the family's ability to pay for treatment. It is a beautiful, wonderful organization that loves children. In the same vein, the Memphis Grizzlies House and the Ronald McDonald House attached to St. Jude's houses the families of those dear children so that the family may be near the child during treatement.

Anonymous said...

The East 7th Street Center in Lexington Kentucky also known as Kids Cafe is a great program to donate to. I'm not sure how you feel about more localized charities, but Kids Cafe provides the kids of Lexington with tutoring, meals, access to computers, birthday parties, and a place to go if they have nowhere else to go. $200 would go a long long way for them to help do things like buy art supplies, tutoring materials, school supplies, and throw birthday parties for kids that can't afford to have one.

Thanks so much!

Terry said...

My favorite charity is Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Network of Western PA and they are in desperate need of funds.

http://candlelighterswpa.org/

Terry

Cat Skyfire said...

I'd suggest the American Diabetes Association. So that people can continue to enjoy Wrecks.

MNF said...

I'm going to echo the FEEDING AMERICA suggestions. Donate to the national organization, which provides assistance to their affiliates around the country (I'm on the Board of Directors for our Local Food Bank).

I'm not a touchy feely person, and I'll admit that I'm very much into hand-ups, not hand-outs. But, when you understand who are the primary beneficiaries of your local food banks/food panties, you'll weep. 60% (on average) of the people who receive benefits are children and seniors. Too many children do not know where their next meal will come from, and those in schools able to be a part of morning breakfast programs, school lunch and even Kids Cafe (dinner) programs struggle, as they don't get a meal from Friday night to Monday morning. And think of all the kids too young to be in school.

Seriously, this is a passion I've taken on - and I'm not this kind of person typically. But, starvation in America is something that has chiseled its way into my heart.

Okay, I'll step off my soap box now.

Anonymous said...

One word: smile train. It helps kids in poor countries get surgery for cleft palate and lip.
~Bryn B.

Angela said...

http://www.heartofhopeministry.com/

Heart of Hope is a maternity home for young mothers ages 11-20. I recently learned about this ministry through my church and fell in love with it. I became a mother at 15 and, even though my mom was/still is there for me and my daughter, I have a special place in my heart for girls in that situation. We've all made mistakes in our lives, some are just more obvious than others. They're still building the home (which I got to visit- it's going to be awesome!), but plan to open their doors in the Spring. They will not turn any girl away because of her inability to pay. That being said, they could use all of the financial assistance they can get.

Thanks for being so awesome, Cake Wrecks!

Kristen said...

I love this time of year...we stop and think about other people for a little longer than we do the rest of the year. (And I have an excuse to bake cookies every darn day if I want to.)

I'd like to recommend Women At Risk, International. It works with...well, women at risk in other countries, women who have spent time in the sex trade or abusive situations. It creates safe havens and teaches them skills that they can market rather than having to sell their bodies to survive. In some areas, they even teach them cake decorating...
http://www.warinternational.org/index.php

Ramona said...

Oh, dangerous! You asked me to list my favorite causes; we'll be here all day!

I'm a total softie for the cats, so I've volunteered/supported these many times over the years:
Safe Haven for Cats,
Carolina Tiger Rescue,

Alley Cat Allies

But if your passion doesn't align with cats ...
Recording for the Blind or Dyslexic,
Kiva,
Homeless Gear

I'm on board for today ... looking forward to seeing what tomorrow's choic!

Anonymous said...

This time of year, I look at charities that benefit children, specifically St. Jude's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. We have some good friends whose daughter has been battling cancer the last few years. We are so grateful that our own son is healthy, and equally grateful that these are places available should we ever need them, God forbid.

Thanks for doing this, John and Jen. Happy...Winter!

Colette said...

Oh my gosh! Please consider making one of the days a DonorsChoose.org day!

With DonorsChoose.org, you can give direct funding to specific projects in specific classrooms.

Basically, you can swoop in and give direct, tangible, and immediate assistance to a bunch of specific kids (not some general fund for a charity that gives to kids in general) for really relatively small dollar amounts.

I try to fund at least one project a week there, and it really does the heart good. Plus, sometimes the kids send you thank you notes and drawings and stuff!

Tiffany said...

What a great idea! Together we can make a huge difference.

I'd like to suggest the Humane Society. I work with special education students at a local high school. I go with them to a job site so they can learn vocational skills for when they graduate. Our current job site is our local humane society. We go in everyday and clean dog bowls and cat boxes. Our local shelter is losing so much money that it could possibly be shutting down within this next year. I'd hate to imagine what would happen to all the dogs and cats without a safe place for them to go to.

Other charitable organizations I volunteer with are the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts. All of my children are involved in these organizations.

Mrs. Flax said...

Donation: done! I love this idea.

May I recommend:

Save the Music - www.vh1savethemusic.com. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in public schools and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child's complete education. This is a favorite of my husband's.

petrescue.com - this is a Florida nonprofit that specializes in providing sanctuary and care for otherwise largely unadoptable animals, due to their health, etc. 100% of the cash goes to their care. It doesn't have employees, marketing, etc., it's all volunteer. I guess it's a comparatively small operation, but they are amazing. Anything related to animals would be great.

Habitat for Humanity. I mean, there's really nothing better than home, is there?

I'm sure I'll have more suggestions.

Tiffany said...

I second the vote for Child's Play.

Jessica said...

As mother to a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, may I suggest an Autism research organization such at National Autism Association or Autism speaks.

Anna said...

This is a truly lovely idea! I'd like to suggest the Southwest Indian Foundation (http://www.southwestindian.com/), though I'm sure you've gotten tons of suggestions! They work to lesson poverty for Southwestern tribes and have special projects, such as supplying stoves for heating to the many who don't have them.

Audrey said...

What a wonderful idea!

Like Ms. Chapman said, I'm not keen on donating to many religion-based charities - unless they foster a message of openness and unity. I won't donate to groups that don't treat people equally. Likewise, I'm not particularly comfortable donating to a military that is not my own, though of course that shouldn't affect your choice of charities. After all, the point of charity is that it is universal.

As a Canadian (albeit one living in America) I'm excited to learn about these international charities, like Heifer International, and I love kiva.org.

So how about a few Canadian charities as well - Blankets for Canada //www.blankets4canada.ca/ is a good one - or how about supporting the Canadian military and their families with the Canadian Hero Fund? http://www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=s98620

Canada: we exist!

Amanda said...

I know these comments are going to get out of control soon enough. I did want to post a charity for you to look over.

Child's Play is a charity organization that furnishes children's hospitals with games to help ease the mind of the children that are very ill. These guys started the charity as a small group of gamers working to do this and it's grown substantially since. It's a true grassroots movement that has seen some wonderful kid's through some really tough times.

Amanda said...

http://www.childsplaycharity.org/about.php

Ooops, forgot the link.

Anonymous said...

Some of my favorite charitable organizations:

* Operation Blessing: dontates money, medical services, food, fresh water, emergency disaster relief to US & other countries, clothes, anything you can imagine
* Prison Fellowship: purchases Christmas gifts for children in the name of their incarcerated parents...children who often fall thru the cracks and feel guilt for having a parent in that situation.
* Samaritan's Purse - provides care packages with toys, basic needs such as toothbrushes, etc., and even wells to provide fresh water to other countries where such a thing is a luxury.

Courtney said...

Planet Cancer! Any worldwide charity supporting young adults with cancer, whose slogans include:
"I had cancer and all I got was this stupid sticker,"
"We've done drugs Keith Richards never heard of,"
and sells thong underwear that reads:
"It's not just my head that's bald"

is a charity well aligned with Cake Wrecks. ;)

www.planetcancer.org

--Courtney

Anonymous said...

Not to be a spoilsport, but you realize we have a need for clean drinking water in the United States, right?

There are a lot of places that don't have clean drinking water, or drinking water that can easily get contaminated by runoffs after a storm.

Bonney said...

I always support Oceana. gotta save our oceans!

Shara said...

I give my time and money to I Care I Cure Chilhood Cancer Foundation. This organization raises money for the development of targeted therapies for childhood cancer, offering hope for gentler and more tolerable treatment.

Please check it out:

www.icareicure.org

AEG said...

Fantastic idea...many thanks for pulling this together for the holidays. I've been donating to Mercy Corps for years. They have never failed to impress me with the level of effort they put into reaching out to people in need as well as to their contributors. And I really like that they focus on working with community members in each case to develop unique and sustainable solutions to improving lives. That being said, this year I've made additional donations to the KidsOfKilmanjaro project ($29 feeds a kid for a whole year!) and the Central Asia Institute that develops school programs in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Good luck picking...I look forward to making my daily donations (although I second that paypal would make it more expedient, but I'll take the time regardless).

Joy said...

I know this charity probably won't be picked because of it's obscurity, but it's worth a try. There is a disease called Stargardts that is a type of macular dystrophy that affects the eyes. It affects something like 1 in 20,000 people and I only know about it because my brother, one of the kindest, funniest people you will ever meet, was diagnosed at 7. It causes bumps on the retina of the eye so the person can see, but the vision is 20/20,000. The frustrating part of this is that there are some very promising advances in the field but there isn't much money to fuel it.
Thanks,
Joy

Renee said...

one other favorite charity of mine is Alex's Lemonade Stand. It raises money for childrens cancer. Alex set up a lemonade stand in her front yard to raise money for not only her own cancer treatments but to help other children like herself. She was such a selfless little girl.

katrotta said...

I'd like to nominate JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) It is a charity that is near and dear to my heart and family. We do the national walk every October

Manda said...

As a military spouse I'd like to suggest:

The Wounded Warrior Fund

and as a mother of a special needs child:

Austism Society of America

Amanda

duffylou said...

Wow! I've read the first 200 comments and I just can't go any further.
You guys are the best. This idea is heart warming and had me a bit teary this morning.
Jen & John, you are going to have your work cut out for you sifting through these worthy causes.
Thanks for being the wonderful, funny, caring people you are.

pequenita1 said...

I would like to recommend:
VillageReach.org - they improve medical distribution in Africa,
AgainstMalaria.com - they provide treated mosquito nets,
GiftsInKind.org - they donate books, toys, clothing, and more to people who need it,
FeedingAmerica.org - they are a network of foodbanks,
and International Medical Corps (imcworldwide.org) - they deliver health care services that focus on training.
I think this is a great idea!

Tracy said...

http://www.kiva.org/
Kiva-Loans that change lives

From their webiste:
"Hi there,

I wanted to let you know about Kiva (www.kiva.org), a non-profit that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur across the globe.

You choose who to lend to - whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq - and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. It's a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty.

Check it out!"

-tracy

Erika "PieLady" W. said...

My humble recomendation would be the Plaza Atlanta. The Plaza in a landmark, having been open since 1939 and is the last independant movie house in GA. The only way they keep their doors open is by being a 501c3 not for profit. My fiance and I are getting married there next year (Wedding and a movie! Woohoo!) and instead of registering for crap we don't need we're going to "register" for donations to this wonderful venue. Check them out at www.plazaatlanta.com

PS: LOVE LOVE LOVE this site and your book!

tammy said...

HypoplasticRightHearts.org is the charity I give all my time to. I do this because my 6 year old daughter was born with a heart defect that affects the right side of her heart and has undergone 3 surgeries prior to age three. Without this group to educate me, support me and care for me I would have lost my mind by now. This group provides education and support to parents of or survivors of heart defects that affect the right side of the heart. A few interesting facts about heart defects:

1. Heart Disease is the number one killer of children - it kills nearly twice as many children as all forms of childhood cancers combined.

2. Congenital heart defects are the number one cause of death from birth defects during the first year of life.

3. Congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect. Approximately 40,000 children per year (1 in 100) are born with a heart defect.

4. Pediatric cancer receives five times more funding than congenital heart disease.

I love your blog and I think there are many worthy causes, but I wish once some recognition could be made to heart defects because people like to ignore this birth defect because they cannot see it, like with cancer or other birth defects and it's the largest one out there.

Tammy L.

capri-chan said...

I can see it's already been suggested, but I figure it doesn't hurt to second the recommendation. Child's Play Charity. Donated money, toys, and games go to children's hospitals around the world, and was created after Gabe of Penny Arcade read one too many articles saying that games are just training our youth to use violence. He and Tycho created it as a way to show that gamers are just normal people who happen to love games.

Mama G said...

My charity is ACTS, which stands for Action in Community Through Service. It's a local charity in suburban Washington, DC that serves low-income families through four programs: Emergency Assistance provides shelter for homeless families, and food and financial assistance plus rental and prescription assistance; Transitional Living moves families from homelessness to self-sufficiency through a two-year intensive case work program; Turning Points, a domestic violence intervention and prevention program; and Helpline, a 24/7/365 crisis hotline for suicide prevention and information and referral. In today's economy, they have seen record numbers of families and individuals in need of services, and resources are stretched very thin. Any support would be welcome!

Merrianne Manion said...

The best charity around is Shriners Hospital. I was a patient there many many years ago. I lost my leg when I was 7. I am now 36. They were the only place to offer finacial assistance to my parents. We live in OH but they are in PA. They didn't care. I give every year. They really do help

Michael & Meghan said...

http://penniesforposho.org/default.aspx

This organization focuses on taking food to orphaned children in Africa, especially in Uganda. Each year they bring a traveling group of orphans called Ugandan Thunder over to perform some traditional Ugandan dance and song, and raise money for their cause. They also sponsor annual trips to Uganda where people can help with food deliveries and meet the children who benefit from their donations.

Famous Hat said...

I see a lot of people have already mentioned Heifer International, but I have to put in a plug for them too. The best thing about them, which I didn't see anyone else mentioning, is "Passing on the Gift," meaning each family receiving an animal has to give the first female offspring to another family in need. In parts of rural China entire villages have been pulled out of poverty by this Passing on the Gift.

Also, I haven't seen anyone else mention Doctors without Borders yet. When the tsunami hit Asia the day after Christmas a few years ago, Heifer actually directed people to give money to them during the immediate aftermath. (Since then, Heifer has been working to help people recover.)

And I am in favor of any environmental or animal rescue charities!

Kevin C. said...

http://africanchildrenschoir.com/

The African Children's Choir takes children in horrible situations in Africa and provides them with an education and musical training. They tour the world for 1 year and then continue in private school all the way through college. Many alumni of the program have gone on to become community leaders and peace activists in war-torn countries. Enrollment is need-based, not talent-based, so it is truly astounding what the group accomplishes. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform last year, and their stories can truly move you to tears. Regardless of whether you choose this group, I think what you're doing is wonderful, and I applaud your true Christmas spirit!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit! I'd like to mention a few charities that are near and dear to my heart: The National Brain Tumor Society, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, The American Heart Association, and The National Kidney Foundation. These are all specific medical-related charities which I support because of people that are or have been in my life that suffer from illnesses that these groups are working to find a cure or better treatments for. Happy Holidays!

- Marcie R.

Anonymous said...

Give Kids The World - works closely with Make a Wish to ensure that the MAW kids who visit Orlando's tourist attractions have a place to stay, and all the food they could possibly want.

Emily said...

I read Cake Wrecks from Guatemala, where I work with a non-profit, community-run hospital in one of the poorest areas of the country.

Hospitalito Atitlán is an amazing place with affordable health care, community health programs, and the only 24-hour doctor-staffed emergency clinic within hours!

The hospital building we started in was destroyed in a terrible mudslide, but we are rebuilding! And the best part is that we have a donor who will donate an additional dollar for every dollar that Cake Wrecks readers give towards construction.

I hope you will consider this cause, or at least stop by the website to learn more: www.hospitalitoatitlan.org (There are even opportunities to name rooms after a group. Imagine - the Cake Wrecks Room!)

Mrs. X said...

What a great idea, you guys rock! My charity suggestion is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (http://www.cff.org/). I have three cousins and a niece with the disease, which is incurable right now, and would love to see them get more money for research to find a cure!

Lisa said...

You guys are so cool. Seriously, this is just... To cool. If I had a credit card, I would totally donate more than just a dollar a day.

As for my suggestions for charity, I don't know any specific names, but cancer research has kind of been a big deal to me recently.

Erin said...

I love this idea! I'd like to suggest the USO. They do some amazing things for our men and women in uniform and their families, especially around the holidays!

taly howell said...

This would be my vote for a charity: www.colesfoundation.com
Cole's family has turned a parent's worst nightmare into something wonderful! They do fundraising for families of children with pediatric cancer. To do anything constructive after losing your son to cancer, much less to the magnitude that this family does, is completely amazing!!

Michelle said...

Being the wife of a veteran and retired Army CounterIntelligence Agent, I am an active volunteer for the VFW. I know that homeless veterans and veterans in the VA hospitals could benefit from such a gift.

Happy Giving!

Michelle J.

Maren said...

Awesome idea. Made my dollar donation for today. I love Cake Wrecks.
The charity near and dear to my heart is World of Difference. www.makeaworldofdifference.org
I've been to Kenya 3 times with the amazing people who head this organization. They build schools or help improve schools WITH the community, not just for them, in slum areas. 100% of the donations go to the schools, there is no middle man who gets paid and the volunteers pay their own way. I have worked on these schools with my own two hands and have seen the donation money used wisely and at work.
PS It is incredible to see what organizations the wreck fans are a part of and what they are doing to make the world better.
Wreck on!

Shelli said...

Between one to four million people in the US alone have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a debilitating disease that is often met with disbelief and disdain.

A huge, groundbreaking, internationally shaking discovery has recently been made that links CFS to a previously unknown retrovirus, XMRV, that is similar to the HIV virus. Further research into this finding could mean a return to life for so many of us who have had no hope for recovery before now.

http://wpinstitute.org/help/help_donation.html#donate

Dragan said...

Another voice for Heifer International :)

Heather said...

This is an amazing idea and I have passed along the challenge to my Facebook friends as well. I visit your site everyday and to think now I am going to be able to learn about great ways to give back in the next 14 days while seeing awesomely bad cakes, it doesn't get much better.

As for charities that I give to on my own, I am a HUGE supporter for Dress for Success. It is a organization that help women dress, get ready, and get interviews so that they can support their families. They provide women with clothing, interview techniques, and support in the job search process.

Sara said...

What a wonderful idea!

Lots of great charities that feed & heal the body already listed, so here are a few that feed the spirit.

National Head Start Association:
http://www.nhsa.org/

Habitat for Humanity:
https://www.habitat.org/

Public Radio International:
http://www.pri.org/

Or just pick a local public or community radio station and make them grateful forever!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea! I'd like to make a suggestion: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Last year, they helped recover more than 13,000 missing kids. That's quite the number when you think about how many families were able to spend the holidays together that might not have otherwise.

Check out their website: www.ncmec.org

Before they existed the recovery rate for missing children was less than 62%, not its over 97%.

Anonymous said...

It's been said already, but I'd like to second Child's Play. http://www.childsplaycharity.org/

This charity had a start not unlike your effort here, where a couple of guys with a webcomic decided to see what the collective caring of their readership could accomplish. In just a few years they've raised over $5 million to buy video games and toys for children's wards in hospitals, and they now have participating hospitals all over the U.S. and in a few other countries.

Lindsey D. said...

World Vision: They also do wells as well as provide tools/lessons to farmers on how to grow their own food. Some of their other programs give farm animals or small business loans to women in developing countries. My charity of choice! http://www.worldvision.org/

Keidi said...

Hi Jen- Is there a way to just give you $14 at once? I'd send a check today. Low tech, I know. Thanks- Keidi

Hubris said...

So many people with so many great charities...but most of these charities have great marketing and mass amounts of people already donating. How about something smaller and more personal? For example, I'm exteremly passionate about theatre. The theatre company I work with (Hubris Productions) is non-profit, about to start it's 4th season, and working towards being known in the Chicago area. Donations wouldn't necessarily change the world, but it would change the quality of shows we can put on. We have a distint point of view, and we want to be able to share that with the community. We also donate a portion of the ticket cost for each show to a Chicago charity that's relevant to the shows theme. To us, theatre is about building a community. While I donate to places like the ASPCA, Susan G Komen Foundation, The Anti-Cruelty Society, Lukemia and Lymphoma research, etc., and I think these are wonderful charities doing wonderful things, why not think outside the box? Go for something smaller. Sometimes the smaller charities need the money more.

www.hubrisproductions.com

Kelli said...

What a great idea!!!

St. Jude Children's hospitals are a great way to give directly to research that helps amazing children and their families. They never turn away kids even if their family can't pay for treatment.

www.stjude.org

harassnave said...

I just wanted to second (or third as it is) the Liz Logelin Foundation.

http://thelizlogelinfoundation.org/

Very worthy. Very.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea, and how generous of you! I would like to submit The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee for the list. This organization takes in abused, retired, and other elephants from circuses, zoos and even private owners to care for them and provide a good environment for them to live out the remainder of their lives in peace.

Analise said...

I volunteer at a horse rescue called Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue and they are one of the only rescues in the entire country specifically dedicated to the rescue of draft horses. Not only do they save these guys from some pretty terrible situations (in danger of going to slaughter, abusive/neglectful situations) but once they bring them back to the rescue, the horses are evaluated and then trained (usually under saddle) and taken out on trails so they can start a new life as someone's friendly, quiet trail horse. Or as a "husband" horse. Or a low-level eventer. Or someone's dressage horse. It's a really great rescue that doesn't get a lot of press and right now with us being in the middle of winter than them having quite a few very large mouths to feed, I know any little bit to help toward hay would be appreciated.

Colette said...

Also, please consider Books for Soldiers.

They've been doing great things for six years, but if they don't meet their funding by the end of the month they're going to have to shut down. Per their Twitter account, they were still $34K short as of this past Friday.

Please, please, please, folks... if you have any spare change, consider sending it their way. They've been doing such great things for the men and women in uniform.

HeatherEve said...

I really like Caring Bridge, which helps ill patients keep in touch with their loved ones and supporters during times of medical crisis. I have way too many CaringBridge sites on my list, but I find them invaluable as far as following the struggles of my friends and family through cancer and other illness.

https://ssl.charityweb.net/caringbridge/?Split=35

Cheryl said...

National Relief Charity! They help impoverished Native Americans. Native Americans are truly a forgotten people and are owed much!

http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index

Cakey Things said...

Hey what an awesome idea....we often forget how much collective power we have! That video on Charity:Water was AMAZING.

Anyway my vote for a charity goes to Lovesprout. My friend started this org and it has become his calling. The cause holds a special place in his heart:
a creative arts non-profit organization, designed to get homeless and runaway teenagers off of the streets and into a life full of nutrition, love, arts and community.

more here: http://vimeo.com/7899442

I know the group could use the awareness and $ to expand. It's only just starting up but it's selfless and I personally vouch for the massive coolness that is Ken, the 25yr old founder.
:)

Bec said...

Let's donate to Compassion!

Anonymous said...

National MS Society (NMSS.org)

Multiple sclerosis is a horrible progressive disease that affects so many people (myself included), and can lead to permanent disability.

There's lots of exciting new research going on right now, so let's help find a cure!

Robert said...

I suggest Engineers Without Borders USA. They are an organization devoted to providing power, clean water, sanitation and education to the people who need it most. It has over 350 chapters, including 180 at colleges and universities across the country. You can find them at: http://www.ewb-usa.org/.

I myself am a member of the University of Delaware chapter, which you can find here:
http://udel.edu/stu-org/ewb/index.html

$15 allows us to build a slow-sand water filter that can provide water for several families in Cameroon.

For EWB-USA, and especially for EWB-UD, every little bit helps!

Anonymous said...

Definitely a big fan of Heifer International as well. It's actually really fun to donate, because you get to pick what you give, i.e. a beehive, water buffalo, rooster, flock of ducks, chickens, etc. Help people help themselves!
Alice

Tess said...

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation! Few philanthropic orgs make money go so far! My sisters and I have supported this org since our mom and aunts were diagnosed - its a great cause that helps lives around the country! - TF from Chicago

Sarah said...

I love this idea, thank you! Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is my suggestion. They do amazing work for homeless animals and even rehabilitated some of Michael Vick's dogs.

-Sarah

toledonative said...

Wow! What an awesome idea! And so many charities out there!

The one I'd like to suggest is Pennies for Peace/Central Asia Institute. Pennies for Peace was founded by Greg Mortenson's daughter when she was 11. She encourages school children to contribute pennies (kinda like you're asking grownups to give $1) to go toward her dad's work. Greg was a mountain climber who got lost trying to find K2 and ended up raising money to build schools for children (especially girls) in the mountains of central Asia.

You may have read his book, Three Cups of Tea.

To read more about Pennies for Peace click here: http://www.penniesforpeace.org/central-asia-institute/

To donate to the CAI, click here:
https://www.ikat.org/projects/

So far, they've built over 130 schools - giving the gift that lasts beyond a lifetime - education to over 51,000 students.

Rarely can so little do so much to change the life of a girl halfway around the world, and maybe change all our lives by encouraging peaceful interactions among all nations.

Oh, and yes, CAI takes just about any kind of payment imaginable - you can even send them a check. (But don't send goats directly - too costly to ship!)

Susan B

Wild Cakes said...

well because you guys are so awesome... there are roughly 18 billion comments already at just over an hour and a half after your post went up (ok, maybe only 272, but that's still full of the AWESOME!)

So... I haven't read them all. However, I did see someone wanted PayPal as that was the only way they could donate... could you set up a charitable PayPal account? Then people could donate directly to the charity if they are able, or to the CW Paypal account that day, and you could add that day's PayPal $$ to your donation.

As for my fave charities; March of Dimes and http://www.novavita.org/ are right near the top. Besides that, any food bank gets big marks from me (there are so many more people using them these days!)

However... the charity nearest and dearest to me... is one to do with cake. There are a few different ones... but these come to mind:
http://www.angelcakescharity.org/about.html
and the Canadian one I know best...http://www.birthdaybuddies.ca/

Anonymous said...

Stay-Focused is a scuba diving program for teens and young adults with disabilities that builds confidence and teaches valuable lessons on overcoming challenges. It promotes empowerment, discipline, and focus in helping participants achieve personal goals. Stay-Focused is committed to supporting medical research that explores the beneficial aspects of water sports on persons with mobility challenges.
This is a wonderful group of people with love in their hearts and a wish to see young adults happy and confident. www.stay-focused.org

Happy Holidays and I look forward to doing my part to help this season!

Lorna L

Cula said...

My two favorite chairties of all time are the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. My family has been touched by both of these Charites. My nephew has Spinal Muscular Atrophy which is a form Muscular Dystrophy. They have helped him by providing new wheelchairs and equipment. When he was two, and it looked like he was going to die Make-A-Wish stepped in and gave his immediate family an amazing trip to create lasting memories. I hope you pick one or both of these.

Carrie said...

The dollar a day idea is wonderful! I'll defenitely help out!

The "It a Gril" shirt on your post today made me think of nominating the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER) at hyperemesis.org. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is when a pregnant woman doesn't just get morning sickness for the first three months of her pregnancy - she throws up almost constantly for up to the whole pregnancy. I have three children, and I've gotten hyperemesis gravidarum with each of my pregnancies. It sucks! I originally wanted to have six kids, but after laying against the toilet so many times, begging to die, I don't even know if we're going to make it to four. Although I wouldn't trade any of my children for ten months of feeling healthy, I wish I never had to go through what I did. As of now, the cause of hyperemesis is unknown, and there is no cure. Even the medications available for nausea during pregnancy don't really help when you have hyperemesis. I support HER, because I would love for them to find a cause and a cure for hyperemesis so someday my daughter doesn't have to suffer as all the women in my family seem to. It would be so wonderful to have others supporting their cause also.

Anonymous said...

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