Sunday, November 30, 2008

Charity Piggy Bank: Almost There

As we close in on the end of the year, a double Charity Piggy Bank update for October and November. In keeping with the blog’s theme, the charity piggy bank is a small way to make a difference in a big world (even on a budget). Here are the totals:
  • Proportional giving (Oct + Nov): $76.01
  • Savings account interest, with thanks to ING!: $16.31
  • Rebates for BYO grocery bags: $2.50
  • Balance forward: $376.42
  • NEW TOTAL: $471.24

I’ve been sticking with this, even as the economy gets wobblier. While my panic instinct is just to focus on my own personal savings — especially since my 401(k) is performing swan dives and I am well behind Suze Orman’s ideal 8-month emergency fund in my savings account — I think now more than ever it’s important to share with nonprofits that are facing increased demands and reduced contributions. I’ll post some thoughts in the next week or so as I figure out where to contribute this year’s piggy bank, which looks like I will be right around $500. Pain free savings!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shop till you drop? Grab an extra gift card.

As breathless newscasters keep reminding me, today is “Black Friday,” the biggest shopping day of the year (and the day retailers allegedly turn their first profit of the year, ergo out of the red and into the “black”)

For me Christmas shopping just isn’t the same without
Marshall Field’s. Yet we carry on.

I try not to post too many daily good deeds that cost money. But if one happens to be shopping up a storm today: consider picking up an extra $10 gift card at your favorite store. Mailed in a Christmas or holiday card it’s a thoughtful gift for a charity to on-pass to a client — or for one of the organization’s hard-working staff members. On the way to school I pass a Ronald McDonald House whose Wish List requests always include small items appropriate for birthday gifts; I try to send them gift cards a few times a year. Other ideas: a local homeless shelter, food pantry, or any organization that serves people in-person.

Happy shopping!

Today’s mitzvah: pick up an extra $10 gift card to send to a local charity.

Original post date: 11/23/07.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving - Helping the Hungry

Today’s mitzvah (click below):
The Hunger Site

Hello after a long absence! I'm hoping to be back in force for Advent I. For now, I’ve been thinking about what an anxious Thanksgiving this will be for many people. Our grocery has the usual donation bins for non-perishables. I’d like to offer a personal challenge: Instead of just putting one item in the bins, how about putting in two instead? Pasta, peanut butter, tuna or other canned meats — most of us can afford a second item, especially if we look for sales and store brands.

I know the temptation is to cut way back on everything. But I keep thinking that there’s always someone else whose finances are tighter than mine — and in a scary economy more than ever, we need to stick together! There are also many small ways to contribute for free, including The Hunger Site buttons on this site.

The Hunger Site is supported by sponsors that make donations based on how many people click the web site’s Give Free Food icon each day. No cost to you, no strings. Just a lot of sponsor ads and a chance to join with thousands of others each day whose clicks enable Mercy Corps International and Feeding America to provide food to hungry people. I click every day. It only takes a few seconds — and then you can get back to baking my favorite pie.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Night Scorecard

hink the interactive part of November 4th is over when the polls close? Think again! Committee for a Livable Future has an Election Night Scorecard — including spaces for your own predictions, should you care to play against yourself or set up a good old-fashioned viewing party contest. The scorecard includes each state’s electoral votes, as well its 2004 results. Additionally you’ll find a blank box for your own predictions, and a space for the actual result.

Scroll down and you’ll also find pages to track key House and Senate races, and LivPAC’s summary of why the races matter.

You can access the scorecard here.