Daily Advent Gift: Day 4

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“Today, the Boston Rescue Mission continues to aid the homeless and poor of Greater Boston to self-sufficiency by assisting women and men in confronting and overcoming the root causes of their homelessness. To this end, the Mission provides basic life necessities such as food and shelter as well as social service programs. The goal is to provide the homeless and poor with the support, training, and resources necessary to sustain independent living for a lifetime.”

Boston Rescue Mission secure Donation Page

I encourage you to give to your local shelter. But if you’re not able, or they don’t have a need, give to the good folks at Boston Rescue Mission.

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Daily Advent Gift: Day 3

DailyGiftDay3

“Few things are as heart wrenching as the cry of a hungry baby. But that’s a sound heard all too often in famine-stricken villages and refugee camps where children of all ages cry themselves to sleep. Malnutrition requires swift and special attention to prevent crippling bone deformities and developmental disabilities. Samaritan’s Purse offers therapeutic feeding programs in dire situations to nourish these little ones back to health while presenting a powerful witness for Christ. A gift of just $9 can feed a baby or a nursing mother for a week.”

Samaritan’s Purse Feed a Hungry Baby for a Week Donation Page

Daily Advent Gift: Day 2

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“The world’s deadliest creature, the mosquito, kills nearly 655,000 people every year. While preventing malaria is inexpensive by U.S. standards, it’s out of reach for poor African families who must watch helplessly as their children suffer and die. Your gift will provide one of the best ways to protect children from malaria—bed nets—as well as critical education for prevention and control.

Every $18 you give will provide long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets that will protect an entire family from this deadly disease. Since these nets can be used for approximately four years, that means you will save the life of a family for only 18 cents a month! It’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make!”

World Vision Bed Nets Donation Page

Daily Advent Gift: Day 1

Advent brings many different traditions. Some people hide an Elf around the house, some have daily readings, some practice daily acts of kindness. Last year, the boys and I practiced giving by delivering poinsettias throughout town, donating clothes, buying new toys & clothes for those in need. Truthfully, we’ll probably do many of those same things this year. But the year, we’re going to Give More. In lieu of creating Holiday Gift Guides for Non-Profits, my family and I are donating to a non-profit. Every day of advent.

Why?

The more I give, the less I want.

Join me, won’t you? It doesn’t have to be a lot. Keep reading to see what $1 can do…

Day 1? Blood:Water Mission

DailyGiftDay1

Blood:Water Mission is a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa.

Blood:Water Mission

Friends: One Dollar. Less than the cup of Starbucks will give someone in Africa a year of clean water. You can donate any amount ($5 minimum) through the secure Blood:Water Donation Page.

Oof. The year I totally forgot about Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child shoebox

Oof. Operation Christmas Child boxes are due this week. THIS. WEEK. (What is Operation Christmas Child? Not only does it help children, but it’s a great giving activity with kids. The boys and I put together shoeboxes last year – see it here!) See, I have this blog about giving. And I’ve been consumed with my little startup. And what happens? I let everything slide. Like what?

Giving. This blog. Making giving a priority.

See, I get it. We get busy. Consumed with other things.

But it’s okay. The sweet, wonderful people at Samaritan’s Purse understand. They must really love me. Because let’s be honest, my heart sank when the boys realized it was Operation Christmas Child week. They said “Ooohhh! I can’t wait to do that again this year!” And I realized, but you’re in school all day, and I missed out on shopping with you this weekend, and this week is already looking crazy….

Guys. Samaritan’s Purse made an ‘Build a Shoebox Online‘! They made an interactive process where you can go through, pick out what you want to include in your shoebox, pay a fee and you’re done. They do the rest.

And yes, creating a shoebox online takes away from all those moments when you can walk through the store with your kids, pick out items, pack them up and pray for the child that will receive them.

But I’d so much rather a child receive something than nothing. To know they are loved and cared for. Despite my inability to prioritize our time right now.

For those you who are able to pack a shoebox for a child in need, they must be delivered this week: November 18-25. Find a dropoff location here. Wondering how to pack a shoebox?

Operation Christmas Child Processing

Who knows, maybe I’ll get my act in gear this week. But I’m thankful that even if I don’t, I can build a shoebox online. I encourage you to do the same.

Be bold in asking. Be bold in giving.

I was a very shy, quiet little girl. My favorite place was clinging to the back of my mom’s leg. As I grew and aged, my voice slowly became a little louder, a little bolder. Fast forward to becoming a Sole Hope Ambassador, finding out that we were to organize and run a Walkathon nearly sent me into a panic. I would have to put myself out there and ask people to join us, for donations, to help. But I did, and they came. They lovingly came, and walked and donated.

When I heard about the devastation to the community in Far Rockaway, NY and how Full Gospel Tabernacle was helping the community, I put out a very simple request to friends to help by donating food pantry items, new toys for the kids for Christmas and monetary donations. And again, for some reason, I felt that uneasiness of reaching out and asking people to help. But again, they lovingly and happily donated.

And look at their generosity! Bags overflowed with new toys for the kids, food, paper products, wipes for their food pantry, and donations that will hopefully help Full Gospel Tabernacle buy a refrigerator and help build an indoor food pantry. I know this shouldn’t surprise me, but I’m amazed by the generous and loving hearts of my friends to help strangers in need.

Gifts for Full Gospel Tabernacle, Far Rockaway NYGifts for Full Gospel Tabernacle, Far Rockaway NY

And I’ve learned it’s good to be bold. Be bold in asking. Be bold in giving.

My adopted life verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit” (or my favorite translation, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire”). I need constant reminder and reassurance of this. When God calls me to do something, even if it means stepping outside of my comfort zone, when the Holy Spirit puts that fire in my belly, I need to listen. I shouldn’t let my fears of failure, my pride, allow me to quench that fire. The Spirit has equipped me so that I can be bold. And when it’s coming from God, it’s not about me, it’s about Him. So why take it personally? This photo below acts as the wallpaper for my phone, so I’m constantly reminded, Be bold. Do not quench the Spirit’s fire.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

Christmas Giving with Kids

I’ve been on a quest to try to figure out ways to give & serve with the boys. The problem is that they are 5. And have the attention span and body control of puppies.

Every November I come up with a list of giving activities. I plan on doing  Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this post and this post about RACK. So inspiring!) And by this time every December, I feel like a complete failure for getting consumed with shopping, holiday parties, decorations, and of course sickness.

So far, we’ve enjoyed loving our neighbors by filling the Operation Christmas Child boxes., donating winter coats to One Warm Coat, and buying toys and food for Full Gospel Tabernacle in Far Rockaway, NY. But my favorite Christmas giving tradition that we’ve started is to walk around town center, delivering poinsettia plants. (And by “tradition” I mean that we’ve now done this two years in a row…) It all began with a poinsettia fundraiser for their preschool. But since we don’t need a bunch of plants, we decided to spread the love around town.

christmas giving

The boys decided to give their plants to the Post Office, the Police Station, the Fire Station (though it should have occurred to me that no one would be there since it is a volunteer department, so we left it by the door. They probably thought there was a bomb inside.), the town Cafe (the only restaurant in town), the Library and the Dry Cleaner (of course, so they could get lollipops).

It is such a small way to put a smile on someone’s face, and brings us even greater joy to deliver these. It was wonderful see the boys confidently and happily hand over the plants, saying “Merry Christmas, this is a gift for you!”

Maybe some year, we will be able to do daily Christmas giving. Or maybe I’ll take the pressure off of myself  to just enjoy the season,  give however we can and continue our giving activities throughout the year, instead of jamming them all into Advent.

How do you give with your kids during the Christmas season? I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration!