I’ve never really been one to donate money to charities. I’ve given canned goods to numerous food drives and a lot of clothes get donated to Goodwill and AM Vets. Stuff. I donate stuff. Stuff I don’t have a use for. In fact, I’ve started keeping a storage box in the other room just so I can throw toys, clothes, other unneeded items into so that when I get notice AM Vets is going to be driving through the neighborhood I’m ready.
At some point, I’d like to donate time. When my kids are older I’d love to volunteer us all to help at a soup kitchen or something like that. I really, really want to volunteer at the hospital as a NICU baby cuddler. But time isn’t really something I feel like I have a lot of right now.
I’ve really enjoyed G’s birthday tradition of collecting baby item donations for the NICU he stayed in when he was born. Now that L’s first birthday is in less than a month (OMGoodness!), I’ve been trying to decide if I want to do the same thing on his birthday or find another cause to support.
I was going through our newspaper the other day, trying to locate the coupons (there weren’t any), when I came across the Parade magazine. My first reaction to this magazine is always one line of Family Guy’s Stewie: “You got these from Parade Magazine? You read Parade Magazine!” But when I get past that giggle, I sometimes read an article or two.
This particular issue focused on charities, and I found four kid-friendly charities I could see ourselves getting involved with:
Project Night Night
I’ve actually donated to this one before. You can donate money, blankets, books, and/or a small toy. Blankets, books, and toys are stuffed into special Project Night Night tote bags and given to children in homeless shelters.
Donate money to buy a child a pair of pajamas and a book, or you can even host a fundraiser or party where people can donate these items themselves.
I still sleep with a blanket. When space allows, I take it on vacation with me. Yes, I’m in my 30s but having an extra blanket still gives me a sense of security. And who doesn’t like feeling cozy and safe, especially at night? Project Linus accepts monetary donations, materials to make blankets, or make your own to donate to seriously ill or traumatized children.
The Elephant Sanctuary
When I saw this, I wanted to donate right away. I also wanted to visit. Tennessee isn’t too far away… Unfortunately, this is exactly what it states: a sanctuary. Donors of a certain level can be invited for a tour but it’s off-limits to the public. I’m still in awe that there is a sanctuary for elephants in the United States. I’m glad that the ones living here have space to roam like they do in the wild.
After a lot of thought, I decided I wanted to do something different for L’s birthday. I read a little more into each of these charities to find out specific requirements and how to deliver the items we’d receive and decided that the Pajama Program was our best fit at the moment. In her (prompt!) response, our chapter’s president told me there were a few places in my city that I could deliver the donations to. So, yay for not having to commute to NOVA!