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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Emiliy said...

I have 2 suggestions for charities. The first is Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep ( which provides photographers to families who are expecting to lose their infant either still born or severe infant illnesses. Almost all of the babies photographed die, but the photos taken offer the parents a physical memory of their child.

The second is Night Light: Bangkok ( This organization provides work for women and children who were once (or are at risk to become) in human/sex trafficing in Thailand. NightLight offers intervention to sexually exploited women and children, to enable them to discover their dignity, and to provide a program of holistic transformation, empowering them to live and work in their community. As part of their healing, the women in NightLight are given the opportunity to make jewelry to provide an income to themselves so they don't have to sell their bodies on the street.

Naantje said...

No credit card, so I can't donate directly, and I would like all my money to go to charity, I don't want PayPall having a share. I will be donating €10 ($14,79, in your goal) to Studio Brussel's Music For Life campaign, that is raising money against Malaria.

December 18 to 24, three radiopresenters will be living in a glass house on a city square, having only fruit&veggiejuices. Anybody can call, make a donation and request their favorite song.

The radiostation has raised €2,705,156 in 2006, €3,353,568 in 2007 and €3,503,246 in 2008, or $13,979,600.26 in the last few years.

Little bits will go a long way, keep up the good work CakeWrecks!

Stacy G said...

As I was reading "Catchin' the Spirit," I became excited to think that this is a possible way to raise quite a bit of money for an organization. As I mentioned in a previous posting, my students were involved in a project to help solve the world's water crisis, so I was thrilled to see a charity helping to provide clean water as the 1st choice for this awesome idea.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an organization dedicated to making the world a better place for EVERY individual i9n areas of Global Health, Poverty and Development, and Education.

This organization changes lives and empowers others to do the same for themselves!!! I hope you will consider it as one of the charities for the next 2 weeks!

Kat said...

Medecins sans Frontieres - they do AMAZING work all around the world:

I've recently started supporting Help the Afghan Children -they're doing SUCH good work building schools and educating children in Afghanistan... including the LESS THAN 16% of women and girls who are literate in that country. They are also active in including peace education for all the children they work with. PLEASE help them!

And my local charity, where I've volunteered hundreds of hours: Literacy Advance of Houston, helping the people of Houston, TX learn to read and write:

Thank you, Jen - what a fabulous idea! I've never been moved to comment before, but I really appreciate you doing this :)

Anonymous said...

Mayan Families - helping families and children in Guatemala. Where 1 out of 5 kids die from malnutrition. They have never eaten cake, most live on salt and tortillas.

Love your blog!

mom to a Guatemalan princess

rose said...

I'm a huge fan of the Fred Hollows foundation, which restors sight to some of the pooorest people from all over the world who suffer from avoidable blindness.

Fred Hollows was a talented ophthalmologist who donated his life to helping others rather than making money for himself and spent his last moments while battling creating his charity to continue to save the sight and lives of as many people as possible after his death.

I guess his dedication and sacrifice just amazes me.

Jenn Bull said...

If you would like to support the military, the best organization to donate to is the USO. My hubby always gets up in arms about people sending huge care packages of, in his words, stuff they* don't need over there, they should just give to the USO instead.

(*yes he is in the military)

Robin said...

I recommend Spread The Net, a charity that buys mosquito nets to protect people against the spread of malaria.

CakeWrecks could register its own campaign and set its own goal the same way that Charity: Water does (excellent job, by the way. I was so amazed to see how fast that number grew) $10 buys one net to protect someone from malaria.

Direct link to the campaign registration page:

Jennifer said...

I visited an orphanage in Cambodia in 2007. Most of the children are orphans due to their parents dying of AIDS; half the kids are infected with HIV. Many of the children cared for and watched their parents die as the orphanage would take in adults dying of AIDS in a special hospital section.

This is a very small place and started by a dedicated and honorable American who served in the Vietnam War.

All the kids go to a school nearby, and he also provides school on site for younger children. He has created programs to help the children learn responsibility, independence, and life skills.

I wrote a little bit about my experience there:

They live day to day and struggle to feed the children and staff daily. They could really use your donation and support.

This is such a wonderful idea for the Cake Wrecks community - I love how you're doing this.

Anonymous said...

For small donations, I agree paypal doesn't work. You might consider firstgiving (, which is a flat 7.5%, with no minimum donation. That's often lower than the credit card fees charities themselves get.

You can set up a page for any charity, then put a widget on your blog so people can donate directly from there.

Food blogger Pim ( uses it every year for her fundraiser with great success.
last years page -

Something to consider!

Amber Joy said...

My husband and I met working together with this mission:

Also, this NPO helps support doctors, nurses, PAs, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists ALL OVER THE WORLD!

Bethanie said...

There are three that my students and I work with regularly:

Habitat for Humanity, especially in Wake County, NC (, which works with people to strengthen families through partnerships providing financial education as well as home ownership. As an area where the median home price is out of reach for even many middle class workers, Habitat provides means towards stability for the families it serves.

Backpack Buddies, through Inter-faith Food Shuttle ( The Backpack Buddies program provides 6 meals and 2 healthy snacks in a normal-looking backpack to elementary aged students who live in homes where meals on the weekends are not a given. Kids pick up the backpacks on Friday, full of food, then bring them back empty on Monday.

Ubuntu Sports Outreach ( Is a mentoring-through-soccer program in S. Africa that is reaching out to boys and young men in poor townships in Cape Town, especially with the vision of strengthening them physically, academically, and spiritually, and then encouraging them to invest their skills in their community.

Cindy said...

Soldiers Angels

Melinda said...

Can't go wrong with St. Vincent de Paul. They help pay rent, utilities, bus fare & even mortgage payments. Vouchers to their stores are given for free clothing, shoes, furniture & household goods. Many have food banks open to all, with no questions.

Meredith Lucas said...

There is NO WAY I can go back and read all the comments before posting, so I may be suggesting something that has already been said. But if so, oh well, it's charity.

My first thought is Child's Play, which gives toys and books to hospitals for children.

"Child's Play is a charitable organization founded by the authors of the popular computer and video games-based webcomic Penny Arcade that organizes worldwide toy drives to children's hospitals. Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins founded Child's Play in 2003 to improve the lives of sick children by donating toys and games to hospitals worldwide."

They donate 100% of anything you give to the charity, and they are really passionate about it.

Anonymous said...

Humane Society of Missouri - They are responsible for bringing down the country's largest dog ring AND for taking care of the 500 dogs that were saved from those fighters.

Priscilla Kibbee said...

I would like to nominate It is a wonderful charity working with families in Guatemala.

Melissa Gill said...

First of all, GREAT IDEA. And I LOVE St Jude's. Most of my favorite organizations have been mentioned in the comments, but a couple unique ones that haven't:

First, The Childeren's Room
focuses on support for kids and teens that have lost loved ones.

Also, since we are all a bit "arty", The Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and the Arts and Business Council. Each state has one, so you can donate to your own state.

that's the link for the MA organization. They provide free or low cost legal help to struggling artists, as well as business help through seminars, panels and just local business people donating time to help art based start up companies :)

Mandi said...

Makula Fund for Children - supports children impacted by HIV/AIDS in Uganda get access to education and nutrition. 100% of the funds raised go to help the children as it's an entirely volunteer run by the Board of Directors.

Anonymous said...

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

I try to run a charity notice in October to help them, but it's been slow going and so I've been keeping it up year round.

While I do not live with the scars of such incidents, there are many who do, including my good friend who lost someone to domestic violence. Anything anyone can do to help them would be wonderful and appreciated.

- Tazzy

Anonymous said...

Facing The World is a super duper organization that provides facial reconstructive surgery for children in countries where the surgery is unavailable or unaffordable. It goes beyond just fixing cleft palates, they do some major reconstructive surgeries for kids. They rock. The website is

Liz N.

Josie said...

For people wanting to use paypal for the donation, I think they can send it as a gift and paypal doesn't take fees on that.

I'm all for the animals so anything to help them.

Anonymous said...

Heifer project totally rocks - helping people in need live independent lives and help their community also.

Laura said...

I would like to suggest another project for Africa:
Blood:Water Mission empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. Find out how you can get involved.

I also recommend To Write Love On Her Arms - this is a true grass-roots movement and charity that reaches out to people who self-mutilate.

The charity I contribute to by sponoring an orphan is Watoto...this is an organization that raises and educates children whose parents have died due to AIDS and civil war in Uganda, Africa. They also have an amazing outreach to the boy soldiers of that area, as well as a traveling children's choir. Please see them at

Palila said...

Some of my favorite charities are:
Riley Children's Hospital.
In Indianapolis. Like St. Jude, it specializes in childhood cancer, but it's an awesome and regional hospital. (I helped out there in college.)

PAWS Atlanta
A no-kill shelter that takes injured animals, too, and gets them the treatment they need.

DeKalb Rape Crisis Center
Local women's center. (I help with their jewelry sale, and they take paypal.)

Anonymous said...

After contributing $1 I got an email that said I'd get a receipt in the mail soon. With postage and paper, that dollar will be significantly cut. Is there any way we can opt out of receipts in this and future donations?

Katie said...

Please consider Curesearch or Alex's Lemonade Stand as one of your charities. They fund research for pediatric cancers, which is an area largely overlooked by other cancer research charities.

Congress passed a bill to allocate $30 million to pediatric cancer research this year and then the appropriations committee failed to fund it. They funded some ridiculous pork barrel projects and not one dime for the children.

As the mother of a child that fought cancer twice in the first 6 years of her life, this is something I am absolutely passionate about. Too many children are dying because nobody is funding research to save them.

Thank you!!

Kelly Rose said... and watch the short video.

It's a small nonprofit outside of Nashville, TN offering pediatric therapies to children as well as an inclusive preschool program. Children with and without special needs learn and grow in the same classrooms from birth through age 6. Early intervention is imperative for future success for children with special needs, and the children without special needs learn compassion and leadership from a very early age. It's a win/win!

I think it's great that you are doing this. If you have any other questions, you can contact me at

AutumnBrooke said...

I too love I love the "teach a man to fish" philosophy. The fact that one gift can keep on giving for generations is really inspiring to me.

Veronika said...

Hi Everybody,

I have two organizations to offer up, that really need your donations.

First off -

It has been mentioned before. It's an organization that offers micro loans to people in impoverished places all over the world, so that they can start up their business.

Second, its Sea Shepherd -

This is an organization that conserves marine wildlife - particularly defending Whales from Japanese whale hunting ships. Their motto is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans.

PHSChemGuy said...

I'll happily join in with the donating, but I'll also put forth my idea of donating to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For the past decade, I've been in charge of my school's campaign to raise funds for the LLS, and I have come to know the society in many ways and to see the good that they do, particularly in counseling and providing financial assistance to families stricken with blood cancers.

They also fund huge amounts of research into curing blood cancers of all types.

Ann H. said...

I'd like to suggest a great charity that I support, called Smile Train. Smile Train uses 100% of your donations to do cleft lip and palate surgeries for children in poor countries who could never afford it. These children and their families are often considered cursed, outcast, the kids are ridiculed, etc. Fixing cleft lips and palates is life changing for them!

-Ann H.

Mary said...

For the past few years my husband and I have asked that our family donate to Fisher House ( in our name instead of buying us Christmas presents...and we are more excited to receive that letter than anything material present.
Fisher House provides free or low cost housing to families of recovering soldiers. It's a great charity, and one more way to support our troops!

ferfischer said...

I vote for Children's Miracle Network or Make-A-Wish. Both organizations that have helped my daughter, Cici. Or, the ARC.

bridget said...

I don't know if anyone has mentioned The Liz Logelin Foundation ( which gives money to newly widowed parents to help them with expenses. I'm sure you must have heard about this though, as the founder (Liz's widower) Matt Logelin has been all over the media and has a huge following of his blog. Anyway, that's my idea.

Anonymous said...

I hope you will consider the Ronald McDonald houses. They have been such a help to families whose children are in the hospital.

Seren said...

I have suggestion for a candidate for your fund raiser but first a story. I lived in East Africa in Uganda last summer and worked extensively with a small village in the south called Lugazi Town. Since returning home I have not felt entirely whole, almost like I have survivors guilt and I got out and left my friends behind. Just now when I donated to the charity you suggested it gave me such a sense of peace. The same peace that I pray returns to Africa. Uganda has been through a lot of turmoil over the last 40 years but you would never know it by the people. I have made some of my dearest friends there and am so honored to know and love them. I went with an organization called HELP International and loved my time with them. They are a small organization so I'm not sure if your donations would seriously overwhelm them, but I used them specifically for their smallness since they are compact enough that almost 100% of the money goes straight to the need. They use volunteers who raise their own living and traveling expenses so the rest of the money goes to the actual projects. They are going to three new countries this year, Belize, India, and Thailand and already have programs open in El Salvador, Fiji, and Uganda. They also have paypal as a donation resource so check them out:

Thanks for reading and thank you for giving me the opportunity to give.

Michelle said...

My favorite organization is Special Friends Foundation (http://www. Special friends was created to help assist families who are affected by Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome. My son is one of them. Austin Nieman (7 yrs) was born with RTS and our family has benefited from this foundation. There are only 1000 known cases of RTS in the WORLD so there is very little research and awareness of it.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea. It looks like you have a huge number of charity suggestions (most of which I already give/have given to). If someone hasn't already mentioned it, please consider Sarcoma cancer is not frequently in the media, but sarcoma cancer is one of the hardest to diagnose and has the lowest survival rate. Most sarcoma patients are children, but adults can develop it too-- my mom passed away after battling sarcoma cancer for 8 years, having never gone into remission. She was 47 and left behind 4 children, ages 12 through 20. All types of cancer are horrific and change our lives and families.

Liesl G. said... Money goes to support the Kopila Valley Childrens' home in Nepal. This orphanage was started by a young woman from NJ -- she runs the orphanage to house children who have been orphaned by war. Maggie graduated from high school and bought the land for this orphanage a year later in 2006!!

My family supports this charity, as do many of the local Girl Scout troops who have had Maggie come and speak to them about the Children's home.


Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest The Olympic Animal Sanctuary whose motto is We save dogs you would rather see dead. Of course, these animals have become what they are due to human influence, and don't deserve to be killed regardless of what they do. I wish Oreo, the dog that survived being thrown off a roof but was then put down due to aggressive behavior, could have gone to Steve Markwell instead.

I think we should extend this to a year of giving. I think all the suggestions are great, and I couldn't pick just a handful. Good luck with that!


Julianne said...

American Cancer Society!

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late. Just got back on here after a bout of having a child in the hospital. Anyway, hopefully I'm not too late to make a suggestion. I'm fond of the Juvenile Diabetes foundation, being a juvenile onset diabetic myself...

Katie D.

Anonymous said...

My favorite charity is the Global Fund for Women:

It gives small grants to grassroots women's organizations around the world. From capital cities to the most remote rural villages, these groups work to improve economic security, health, and access to education, increase women's leadership, and stop violence against women in their communities.

(And some of these groups are located in countries like Afghanistan -- places where the whole world might be better off if civil society were strengthened. There's a lot of research out there showing that women are critical to resolving the development and security issues we face.)

Carrie said...

I spent some time in Africa a few years ago volunteering with an organization call Alliance for Children Everywhere. They run "crisis nurseries" for children who have lost their parents (mostly to AIDS). The sweet thing about them is that their goal isn't to be a long term orphanage for these kids but to get them adopted back out into families and then supporting those families so they can take care of that extra child. They also have some schools that they work with local churches to make affordable so kids can actually go to them. Here's there website:

Sarah said...

This is a great idea! I know of a wonderful non-profit that would be perfect for this. African Sky ( is an amazing organization working with communities in Mali to improve health, education, and food security.


Sharon M said...

Two suggestions:
1) Habitat for Humanity - this one has probably already been suggested. Great work being done for local families as well as those overseas in need of housing.

2) Reece's Rainbow - This organization does a lot for children with Down Syndrome in foreign countries, especially orphans. They specializing in aiding parents in the US wanting to adopt DS children from orphanages around the world. And they accept Paypal!!!

Mackenzie said...

How about SMYAL, the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League? They help LGBTQ teens (such as if their parents disown them).

mgl29 said...

I would like to nominate "Know Resolve" a non profit organization. It is a phenomenal youth suicide prevention and awareness oganization.
In just a few short years it has had an incredible impact on teen suicide prevetnion and is saving lives daily!
You can learn more about this worthy organization at
Jean Larch

Lyn said...

I adore Cake Wrecks. I love that you are helping wage war against embitterment and providing some much needed laughter.

I am also passionate about a wonderful organization serving families in extreme poverty in Guatemala called "Mayan Families". They provide food relief, education, run medical clinics and more, all on a shoestring budget with a very small team. Please consider them for your list!

Rock on, Cake Wrecks!


Anonymous said...

Can I suggest the March of Dimes or the Armed Forces Foundation?

kate.kniffen said...

What a fantastic idea. Will you please consider Smile Train as one of your charities? Smile Train is the world's largest and most effective cleft charity - they help more children than all similar charities combined.

The cleft surgery your donation provides is a true, modern-day medical miracle: it costs as little as $250 to give a desperate child not just a new smile, but a new life.

Kate K.

Amanda said...

Feed My Starving Children. (

-Amanda F.

codongolev said...

Dalit freedom network. the dalit are an outcast portion of the indian society. if you don't know, india has a caste system. the highest caste are the wealthy people. the lowest are the poor. outside of the caste system are the dalit. they're taught that they were made from the dust beneath allah's feet, and that they're not worth anything. they do the worst tasks, like cleaning litter up and serving the upper castes. they're treated worse than animals. they're taught that God doesn't love them, and that they're worthless, not even human. the money donated would go to building and funding a school for dalit children, where they could learn english and other important business skills, as well as be given a meal every day.

Jenny G. said...

I would love to give to the Ronald McDonald House. When I was 12 my family and I were on vacation and we had a car accident. I was the only on seriously injured and had to be life flighted to a hospital hundreds of miles away. The Ronald McDonald House was a heaven sent place for my family to stay while I as in the hospital. They are amazing! They provide housing, food, clothing and transportation to the families that stay there while their children are sick or injured in the hospital. They do amazing things!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to submit Ronald McDonald House Charites. It's an amazing place for familes to stay while their children are in the hospital. I'm staying at one in Denver CO at the moment while my preemie son is in the hospital. He was born at 24 weeks ( 1 pound 15 oz ) in Riverton WY and sent to a hospital here. I dont what I would have done if I couldnt be here with him. We've been here for 2 1/2 months so far and are hoping to be home in a month. Please help more famlies be able to stay with near their sick children.

smbelcas said...

Jen/John, I applaud your charity initiative. Every year I check out a pile of charities before deciding where to send my (limited) donations. After reading through the ~1450 comments that have been posted, I now have about 75 new charities to investigate!

While Charity Navigator is the best tool for checking out charities, I also use
American Institute of Philanthropy
National Charities Information Bureau
and which allows GuideStar searching.

I have noticed that some of the oft-nominated charities are among those that receive very poor marks from the charity-rating organizations, so I agree with those who have encouraged you to check out the charities you're considering using as part of this initiative.

Among those charities mentioned in the comments are several that I support. Two small nonprofits that have impressed me over the past year are
(1) institute for agriculture and food policy,
They do research on food safety, sustainable/scalable agricultural practices, policy reform, etc.
(2) Center for Biological Diversity,
This one has been mentioned before (but only once!).

Finally, I'm sure you have more than 14 faves among the zillion charities that have been nominated here. If you're keeping track of which ones you like, perhaps you could list/link them in a post when this is all over? Then folks who would like to donate further but don't want to read through 1500 comments could get some guidance.

Yay for your awesomeness!

Vixxen said...

I've been diabetic since I was 11 (22 now) and my cousin has been diabetic since she was 2 years old. She's 15 now. If CW could give to a charity to benefit people with diabetes, that would be so fantastic.

Another idea would be a charity that benefits people with MS. My friend's mom has had MS for years. He loves her more than anything and does all that he can to help and care for her.

Sorry I don't have any charities names! I only know the associations (such as Canadian Diabetes Association).

Amy Guskin said...

I'm a big fan of Oxfam, and that's where our Christmas gift budget goes every year now (we still buy gifts for the children in the family -- nieces/nephews -- but not the grownups). They are devoted to finding lasting solutions to poverty and injustice worldwide.

Catherine said...

You probably have tons of suggestions, but here's another one to consider: Stop Child Trafficking Now ( They're a newer organization, and their goal is to be able to send teams of former Navy Seals into suspected brothels in the US where young girls are being sexually trafficked. They're a great bunch of people and their cause is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Cystic Fibrosis is something that is personal to me... I hope you can support your local CF charity. But if not that's okay! Just spreading the word 8-)

Mel Baker said...

Your local Lions Club or the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF). As a member I can tell you that every penny goes towards free eye-screenings, providing needed eyeglasses and surgeries, especially for young children and babies. We also work closely with other organizations such as the Red Cross to assist with disaster relief.

PS - remember that carrots are good for vision too! ;)

Holly said...

This is a wonderful idea!

I would like to suggest three charities that are important to me because I have family members affected by each of these diseases.

First, I would like to suggest the MDA. The second is the American Cancer Society. And lastly, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

Thank you for doing this!

Anonymous said...

Jen, John, and Wreckers:
Please, PLEASE consider donating to the ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONSERVANCY. This is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to saving and protecting our collective heritage by purchasing and safeguarding archaeological sites. Nobody else does that! We are losing that history and prehistory on a daily basis to looting, development, and neglect. The Conservancy purchases some of the country's most endangered and most important archaeological sites and tries to save them for today and for tomorrow. You can become a member for $25 and get a subscription to their magazine, American Archaeology, or just send a gift that will be put to a very good cause. Check them out at


Susan - an archaeologist who is tired of watching too many sites get destroyed!

Jen said...

Absolutely another vote for This is one of the most incredible organizations - I love being able to select the exact project that my funding supports. Every project are so worthwhile.

There are even several projects about nutrition and health - what a perfect project for Cake Wrecks to sponsor!!

Anonymous said...

I vote anything with animals.

People always donate to people and diseases while there are kittens and puppies being killed and abused. They can't speak, people can and do. And people also take advantage of charity. Animals have no voice.

Please help animals. I can't imagine all the strays cold and sick out there, waiting for a home.spro

Leeann said...

Canine Assistants would be a great organization to donate to. They train service dogs for people with physical disabilities, seizure disorders or other special needs. I'm a volunteer with them, and *love* working with the dogs. Canine Assistants gets no money from the government -- all their funds come from people like you and me. It takes more than $15,000 to raise and train each dog, and they have more than 1000 people on the waiting list.
Hope you'll consider them. Thanks
Leeann H.

L. Flamingo said...

I'd like to suggest the Caboodle Ranch. It's a 30 acre non-profit cat sanctuary run by one man in Florida. It is an amazing operation, and cats that no one else wanted are saved from certain death at kill shelters and given a life of happiness, freedom, and love.

Leeann said...

In my previous post, I forgot to include the website: Be sure to check the Gallery and watch the videos from Training Camp. (You may need a tissue!) It'll give you a good idea of what they do.
Leeann H.

Damsels In Destress Staff said...

I volunteer for a non-profit called Trauma Intervention Programs of Arizona, Inc. We get called out by police, fire, and hospital whenever there has been a tragedy such as a death, suicide, child abuse, or fire. We're there within 20 minutes and provide the survivors/families with emotional and practical support. The other day, one of our volunteers spent hours with some young children whose mother had committed suicide. It's one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. - Shannon

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea.

My husband and I were going to donate this year to an organization that helped the homeless on our streets. Then 4 police officers were killed in our area, and 9 children were left without parents. My family is donating to the families in this tragedy. It's not really a charity, but I think it's worth your consideration.

Another idea is an animal shelter in your area or habitat for humanity.

Kamalami said...

Ok I know this is not a huge charity organization, but my cousin and her husband are trying to adopt a child from Russia. The reason I think they deserve help is because they are very average people who have not let little things such as,not a lot of money, or, having hours cut back at work,or, living in a small house get in the way of their goals. They have 3 kids of their own and really want to help a child in need. They are the best parents I know and are always an inspiration to me. You can read about their whole journey on their website . Any help they recieve would be huge to them, it will cost about $45,000 once the whole process is done. Thanks

Kassiane said...

Several people mentioned autism speaks.

Please be aware that almost none of their funding goes to family services, and that actual autistic people are nearly universally against the organization, which uses such language as "cure and prevent everything on the autism spectrum". This and other rhetoric is seen as eugenic.

Twirly McSwirl said...

Hurray, we finally made it to halfway!

I've been cheering for us. :D

Anonymous said...

This wonderful little charity brings medicines, clothing, shoes, and food to the poor of Sierra Leone and accepts Paypal:

Jennifer said...

Love this idea ... I just caught up with my daily donations. :)

Mickey M. said...

I think that you should donate money to Autism Speaks and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). They are both very worthy causes that deserve all the help they can get!

Barbara said...

Actually, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) does NOT care for animals. They use their $130 million budget for lobbying & litigation. Give to your local shelter if you want to help the animals that live there.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jen,

It would be awesome to raise money for To Write Love on Her Arms (a non-profit located in Cocoa, FL, dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for those struggling with depression, self-injury, addiction, and suicide). They are trying to start up an IM based suicide line with Hopeline to be able to reach out in another way to those struggling with suicide, but it costs a TON for training and start up costs. I interned with them for the last 3 months so I can put you in touch with the right person if you are interested in helping out! check them out at!

With Hope,

ajhuff1974 said...

Pregnant With Cancer, wonderful group providing much needed support to the women going though the highest of highs and lowest of lows at the same time.

Amy Huff

Alison said...

I can't possibly read all the suggestions at this point... but I would certainly recommend Feeding America! They are the national network of food banks working to solve the ever-growing hunger crisis across the country. They are at

Additionally, I have to suggest Food Gatherers in Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), Michigan. FG is a food rescue/food bank organization, is part of the Feeding America, and serves all of the food needs in our county. (For full disclosure, I should mention my husband works there... and they do amazing and good work!) And also - their logo/mascot/symbol is a Carrot! I can see a carrot jockey food bank worker in the future...

Thanks - for this charities giving piece, and for the fun and good work you do every day!


Anonymous said...

We wanted to use the charity:water 'donate in a family member's name' option. BUT we learned of the organization from Cake Wrecks. So, you can add $200 to your Cake Wreck tracking!

Amy said...

I'd like to submit our charity for consideration.

My husband and I opened an orphanage in the deep bush of Africa, in 2007 for babies and currently have 14 children under the age of 4 years old.

We raise all our own funding and live right here at the project so every penny goes directly to the work here.

Our website is

Thank you for what you are doing. Even if you don't choose us you are nurturing a spirit of giving that will really impact the world.

God bless you!

Anonymous said...

There's an organization that helps families locally and that is just getting started that could seriously use some seed money. It's Project Crosswalk, and their website is here:

Elizabeth said...

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation! Unfortunately, cystic fibrosis doesn't seem to be well known in society, but for millions of children, getting closer to a cure means everything. Cystic fibrosis is a lung disease that also effects the pancreas and can effect reproductive organs and growth hormones. As a long time blog reader with cystic fibrosis, this would mean the world to me.

Miriam said...

First-time poster, long-time reader, and I love you guys for doing this. :)

I can't let a nominate-a-charity call go by without speaking up for IFOPA, which supports research into an extremely rare and extremely crippling medical condition that no one has ever heard of. I know it's not likely to get chosen, because FOP affects so few people, and there are so many charities that can use attention, but the research into FOP matters so very much to those people, including myself, who are affected.

Kelsey said...

I would really love to see Children's Miracle Network be one of the charities. It's my sorority's (Phi Mu) beneficiary and it raises money for children's hospitals, which in turn, saves the lives of sick kids. It's an amazing cause!!

Collette Yates said...

What an absolutely fantastic idea - I'm so glad our little Brighton fundraiser has provided such inspiration! Couldn't have done it without the ever amazing Cake Wrecks! xx

Danielle M said...

St. Jude, The Autism Society, and Make A WIsh.
All three of these charities have helped either my family or someone we know.
Awesome idea by the way!!!

Becca said...

I'm sure this has been mentioned, but I cast my vote for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

It may seem trivial, but I know from personal experience (my daughter was granted a wish to visit Disney World two years ago) that the joy that this organization brings to kids who are otherwise shouldering terrible burdens does more than just provide temporary relief. Our trip to Disney (and the Give Kids the World Village) was truly healing for all of us. It gave my husband and I a chance to reconnect and reflect on how our relationship had been impacted by our daughter's brain tumor, it gave our other kids a chance to feel appreciated for all of the sacrifices they had to make (something that is so easy to overlook in life-and-death situations), and it gave my daughter a week of worry-free pampering: a break from the pain and worry and suffering that she had been enduring.

It's an organization that gets a lot of attention, but they deserve every ounce of it. The Make-A-Wish Foundation may not be physically saving lives, but they are absolutely saving the hearts of hurt little kids and the people who love them.

katz said...

My favorite new charity is charity:water ( They have good financials and a simple, straightforward mission, and they're growing fast.

Shawnette said...

I'm late to this party, and probably waaaaaay down the list for potential donations, but wanted to throw in my suggestion, anyway-Open Arms Perinatal Services in Seattle, WA, is a not-for-profit who strive to care for the non-medical needs of pregnant underpriveledged women during their childbearing year. Their primary focus is providing birth doulas for these women. Many of these women are single, with multiple life stressers (homeless, immigrant, teen, domestic abuse victim, recovering drug addict, etc) and would otherwise be giving birth alone, with no support outside of the medical staff. They are lonely, unprepared, and terrified. The gift of a doula for their birth can be like throwing a warm blanket over someone who's freezing. Google them for more info.

Heather said...

The charity that is Very dear to my heart is SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program) which is part of the CJ Foundation for SIDS. One year ago tomorrow (Dec 14th) we lost our 14 1/2 months old son. To this day there is no cause of death. Our health litle boy died & the cornor & our Pediatrition cannot determin how or why he died. My husband & I have spent the past year raising money for research to try and find out way out heathly children our dying.

Robyn said...

What an awesome idea and a great way to embrace the true meaning of the season!

I don't know your feelings on religious charities, but how about a small college struggling through this tough economy? I work for Great Lakes Christian College a small college in Lansing, Michigan. Everyone has been hit hard by the economy, but Michigan seems to be taking more than its fair share of the load. Recently our governor yanked the state Promise scholarship which allowed many residents of Michigan the opportunity for higher education. All Michigan colleges showed a significant drop in enrollment, especially since the governor waited until October to let students know if they were getting any help with this financial aid.
Enough of our sob story, please consider Great Lakes Christian College for one of your charities of the day.
Thanks! (and I love your site!)

Hannah said...

The Liz Logelin Foundation is an AMAZING foundation providing support for widows and widowers who are struggling in this economy. Founded by a friend of a friend, Matt Logelin, after he lost his wife Liz to a blood clot the day after their daughter Madeline was born. They do awesome work!!

kcwc said...

I know, I'm running behind on all this, but what about:
Nothing but Nets -- a simple antimalaria campaign.
It's a nice straightforward approach.

Anonymous said...

National Multiple Sclerosis Society:

My mom and many others I know fight the daily battle of MS. These incredible people experience a variety of life-altering symptoms as a result of this multi-faceted neurological disease. NMSS works nationwide to raise funds to promote awareness of MS and research for a cure.

If you or someone you know lives with MS, there are a variety of networks available for support and education.

National MS Society

MS LifeLines


Kim said...

Give to the Hot Topic Foundation! They give all proceeds to a number of different organizations nation-wide which help put music and the arts in schools. Enlightening our youth with art and music is such an awesome cause. You can get information and find a link to where you can make donations on the Hot Topic website at

Anonymous said...

The organization I believe in most is the YMCA Point Bonita, located in Sausalito, CA. Their specialty is Outdoor Environmental Education. They teach children to be stewards of their environment so that they can go home and teach *their* families and friends how to practice sustainable living. All donations go toward ensuring schools that have no funding are able to participate and bring their students. Proceeds also benefit the YMCA's My Home, My Community, My World, and several other crucial youth programs. More information can be found at:

jackie31337 said...

Is it too late to recommend a charity? If not, I recommend the EFF!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Please consider donating to a wonderful horse rescue in Edgewood, New Mexico. They are in desperate need of donations to care for the horses that people are neglecting and dumping due to the economy.

They are called Walkin' N Circles Horse Rescue Ranch....and the do accept Pay Pal!

Thanks for reading,
New Mexico

Anonymous said...

Hey Jen,

G'day from Australia. I don't know if you'll read this, but I hope you do.

My name is Emily and I'm 18. I'm hoping you'll consider the "MS Society" for one of your charities. My mother, Dianne, was diagnosed with M.S when I was 12 years old. Every day is a struggle, but I consider myself lucky because she's not in a wheelchair like others are.
It's like cancer- there's still no cure or even an idea of what causes it.

If you've already decided your 14 charities, that's okay. I still love your site. :)
(Next time, please consider doing an international tour!! We want to see you too!! :D)

CatherineMarie said...

I volunteer at a local community theater, Its a fabulous place, but we are having serious financial issues, given the economy. We are a completely community organisation, no-one gets paid, directors, board members, everyone is completely volunteer, and is there because we love community theater. We will be starting our 65th season next year.... we own our own theater.

Its a really fabulous place, and could use a little TLC (we need a new roof, and some upgrades to things like the alarm system!)

heather (errantdreams) said...

Since I know I won't remember to give a dollar a day, I gave the whole $14 to the water charity. It's a beautiful goal, and I love what you're doing here. Thank you.

Jess said...

What a fabulous idea, guys!! I'm just catching up on my Google reader, so I'm a little late to the party. I have two kind of "pet" charities at the moment. The first is the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (, whose mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. One of my best friends suffers from Crohn's, and I just finished a fundraising campaign and half marathon in support of CCFA. My other favorite is The Ferret Inn (, which is a small home based ferret shelter in Columbia, MD that takes in unwanted ferrets and provides for them until they can (hopefully) find a forever home. I volunteer with the shelter, mostly doing education and adoption days at local pet stores. Most ferrets will require at least one surgery during their lifetime, so as you can imagine, our vet bills are pretty astronomical. I find that ferrets get an unwarranted bad rap, and I love to help out the underdog. In any case, thanks so much for doing what you're doing. I think it's fabulous!!

Bradley said...
is a wonderful and necessary organization that connects people to hope, help and available resources. They are out there shedding light on a subject that affects so many yet so few are willing to discuss.
- Every 16 minutes, someone in the United States dies by suicide.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 10-24 year olds.
- 50% of College Students have reported having thoughts of suicide.
Please check out the work they are doing at:
The speak up page has testimonies from some of the students who have been affected by their program.
Please help them continue their outstanding work.

Bridget said...

Kids are expensive, even if they happy and healthy. Cradles 2 Crayons is a great organization in Boston and Philadelphia helping families get all the gear they need for their kids. Imagine trying to go through a New England winter without a coat or even socks.

B-Jo said...

Dunno if you are still looking for charities, but since I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 17th of November and had a mastectomy on the 2nd of December, this has become a cause close to me, even more than before. So the Susan G. Komen foundation, anything related to breast cancer research or supporting mammograms for women who would not normally be able to afford them, like Then of course there is the CF Foundation, my husband has CF and just turned 35, a real feat considering drs said he wouldn't live to graduate from high school when they diagnosed him as a 2 year old. So there are some ideas. I would like to contribute but not working since surgeries has placed a damper on my finances.

Anonymous said...

I like "Poo - Dolph".

sbj said...

Mayan Families.
they do incredible work with very poor people in Guatemala.

Jenna said...

You probably have way more than 14 ideas by now, BUT if you are still in the choosing process, I am suggesting Scarleteen, a website dedicated to offering comprehensive sexual health information to teenagers and young adults. It's a pioneering site that's inclusive and responds to the needs of its users. They are in the midst of a fundraising drive right now and could use all the help they can get!

Caleb said...

Consider adding a microcredit organization such as:

Anonymous said...

I volenteer for meals on wheels and I know that they make it possible for many disabeled and elderly people to get through the day.

Fostercare family support groups.

Anonymous said...

How about Disable American Vets.

Anonymous said...

Suicide Prevention Education.

Helen said...

I'd like to suggest
the sexual health charity I work for which i doing wonderful work promoting communication between parents and children to try and prevent teenage pregnancies and STIs

and The UKs main bone marrow donor register who provide life saving bone marrow and stem cell transplants to Leukaemia sufferers.

Stephanie said...

One of the most deserving charities I know is Operation Kindness in Carrollton, TX. I am sure very few have heard of them, but they are the oldest and largest NO KILL animal shelter in TX. They do amazing work, and even when they are full up to the brim, they still cannot say no. They have taken in hundreds of animals each time some "breeder" is arrested for bad conditions, and they strive to get each animal into foster homes until someone can give them a forever home. Operation Kindness has their own website at Please consider featuring them as one of your charities. I know with more money they can do more good work for the animals in TX!

Jennifer said...

I'd like to suggest the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association. CMT is a very common disease that causes painful muscle atrophy of the hands, feet, legs and arms, among other areas. It may be common, but it is little known and is a newer disease to the health community. They have very little funding for new medical research and could greatly benefit from an event such as this.

Maddy said...

The Nature Conservancy has a special campaign that is perfect for $1 donations - aims to plant a billion trees in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. $1 is enough for one tree, so $80,000 would be 80,000 trees!! The website explains it way better, and more beautifully, than I ever could.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for the Human Rights Campaign

Elizabeth said...

I've volunteered at The Ronald McDonald House as a baker. I went in once or twice a week to bake something for the families, and I fell in love with the place! It's such a great cause, and the families are so thankful to have a place to stay near the hospital and with other families in similar situations.

das said... deserves your support. provides suicide prevention education. The mission is to connect with children and young adults and prevent suicide which is the 3rd leading cause of death in ages 10-24. NoResolve connects with children and young adults through the use of a music while presenting education and support. The young people who attend these presentations no longer feel alone and recieve a life line whether that be support for them or their friend. Children learn about the warning signs and gain the strength/courage to talk about suicide. NoResolve deserves your support!! Thanks and Happy Holidays

Jaclyn said...

Cure Autism Now. Funding research for autism, which now affects 1 in 150, is hugely important.

LaDonna said...

One of my favorite groups is the Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center~ This amazing family has given up many of lifes comforts to help the less fortunate living in Haiti. By donating money to this center you are helping fill many hungry bellies that may go all day without food. Please consider sponsering this group. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Casa de Amor is a small series of childrens' homes in located in impoverished Cochabmaba, Bolivia that aims to care for and love on babies and children until they are placed with forever families. Casa de Amor is not incredibly well known, and the day-to-day work is not exciting or glamorous, but each one of our kids by themselves is reason enough to consider giving this year.

Additionally, finances are tight at the moment, so please know how very, very appreciated any help would be. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Sarah said...

My favorite organization is They work tirelessly to fight for the rights of every parent in America. M.O.T.H.E.R.S. stands for: (M) Maternity and Paternity Leave,(O)Open Flexible Work,(T) T.V. and After School,(H) Healthy Kids,(E) Early Care and Education,(R) Realistic and Fair Wages,(S) Sick Days, Paid.

Melinda said...

Many of the ones I'd like to suggest would be too controversial (right to life groups) but I love the idea of the ASPCA. Also,I like the idea of something like DIsabled Veterans or Paralyzed Veterans of America.

ANother suggestion is . I think it's a great charity reguardless of your feelings on the situation over there.

I have reservations about Komen becuase of their associations...I've often wondered if there are other breast cancer charities out there at all,ones that don't donate to PP.

JamieM said...

I nominate Saving Shelter Pets (SSP)!

SSP is a very small, all-volunteer organization that rescues animals from high-kill shelters and also supports spay/neuter programs. We rely solely on donations, and unfortunately due to the current economy, we are REALLY struggling right now to keep our programs running. We can definitely use all the help we can get!

From the hard working volunteers, and all the animals who depend on us, thank you so much for considering us. :)

Jamie Vijay

Rachelle said...

A great cause the Shelter Box started by a Rotary Club in England. They provide esential materials for families who have been affected by war, natural disaster, etc. to have everything they need to survive and live comfortably. The website is:

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide

De Nueva said...

Great Idea!

Some charity suggestions: Central Asia Institute, from the book Three Cups of Tea, they provide schooling to girls in the middle east and use the donated money very effectively!

Also the International Rescue Committee, they help provide much needed resources to refugees around the world.
They're also matching donations dollar for dollar!

Also, where I used to work, the Minnesota Literacy Council (, is a great non profit that provides literacy services to adults and children.

kimberly said...

Truly awesome. I love what you are doing and how you are doing it. I'm too late I'm sure to put in a plug for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the Liz Logelin Foundation, but I just want to thank you for harnessing the power of the internet and giving to such wonderful causes. I'm on a quest to have raised $25,000 over 2 1/2 years for LLS and the thought of someone like you having the ability to suggest the act of giving to more than a million folks and getting them TO DO IT is...well, there are no words.
Thank you.

12 hour pills said...

I am a bit late to the party. I was going to suggest Heifer International, but I see you have that one already.

There is an organization called the National Federation of the Blind which offers all kinds of assistance and education for blind people (Skills for day to day living, braille reading, scholarships to get an education.). And most importantly, it teaches people to have respect for themselves and champions rights for the blind (And is run by blind people.)

I've always loved your blog, and I am absolutely in love with this idea. I donated all my charity money to Heifer and the NFB already this year, so I can't add to CW's good record. But then everyone here is awesome, so I'm sure that won't matter too much.

Anonymous said...

Donate to the SHE 28 campaign!

It helps women and girls in developing countries have access to sanitary products (in a sustainable way!) so that they don't have to miss school or work, which in turn helps the entire community and nation.

Watch the promo video if you need more convincing:

Moriah said...

I'm also jumping on late, but I really love the idea! I've given my family donation gifts for a couple of years, and I was surprised it was such a big hit.

I urge you to consider Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, or even an individual camp. They are an association of camps (11 camps in 8 countries) for children with disease and disability, children recovering, and siblings of those children. They also offer family and bereavement programs.

Hole in the Wall Camps was founded by Paul Newman with the idea that no disease or disability should compromise the enjoyment of childhood. All programs- for campers, siblings, parents, everything- are completely free of charge and dependent on donations.

Thanks, and keep on wrecking!

Katie said...

ATN, Attachment and Trauma Network, deals with children who have been traumatized and have disorders or diseases due to it. It provides not only resources for the children, but many resources for parents and siblings, like myself, to help them stay strong in the challenges in their lives. It's truly a blessing.

Sierra said...

Please consider Generation Rescue as a charity. My son is now mostly recovered from his autism because of the kind of treatments and support that this organization makes available to families. This is an "outsider" charity as not many people want to get tangled up in the politics of autism, but please- these are real kids and real families being affected in this epidemic. Here is their site:

Another excellent choice is FAIR Autism Media:

Lastly, the Autism Research Institute has been so important to bringing hope and healing to families like mine:

Thank you for considering this!

Melanie said...

Darius Goes West is a cause that is trying to raise money and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. For more information you can visit their website and watch this movie at the link below. It's very inspiring. They are actually in a contest with Chase Community Bank to win One million dollars. If you have a Facebook, please become a fan and vote! Thanks!

Maile said...

The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (GSF) seeks to raise awareness about and fund research for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic killer of young children, and support those impacted by SMA and other life-altering diseases.

iWillCureCF,VHA,Crohns,andPainAmplification said...

Donate to Cystic Fibrosis.

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