One Million Lights, impacting lives globally & locally

One Million Lights

The need for clean, safe lighting in impoverished areas is urgent. The rural poor are the largest users of kerosene, often walking great distances to purchase it. Although solar lighting seems like an obvious solution, people lacking electricity have been unable to transition from kerosene due to high up-front costs. Those living on less than a dollar a day simply cannot afford a light for $20-$50. Our lights help families shift wasteful kerosene cost to productive investments in education, nutrition, and healthcare.

Why Light? One Million Lights

One Million Lights philippines

Part of being willing to give to others is the realizing and appreciating all that we take for granted. It takes thinking less about ourselves and more about others. And that’s the reason I’m so inspired by One Million Lights. They are not only distributing solar lights to those in need, but is doing so without disturbing the established norms. They are giving kids a chance to read at night, something we take for granted, but has a snowball effect on education and its benefits.

One Million Lights argentina

One Million Lights is also committed to impacting local (US) youth with school programs that highlight our abundance and need to love and help others globally. Take a look at some K-12 schools and how they are collecting donations for solar lights in different underdeveloped nations (here).

Want to give money?

$15 will provide one solar-powered lantern for a family. Donate here!

Want to give time & love?

Become a Light Ambassador. Light Ambassadors get to hand deliver the lights!

Through our donor-meets-recipients model, One Million Lights brings you an opportunity to be on the ground in a developing region. Our Ambassadors personally hand individuals the gift of rechargeable, environmentally friendly, solar lights to improve their living conditions and reduce the use of harmful lighting alternatives.

Light Ambassadors, One Million Lights

Want to learn more? Everything you need to know about the Light Ambassador application process can be found here. How great would it be to go as a family and hand out lights. Now I just need to wait a few years until the boys get a little older…

One Million Lights kenya  
Psst, I have more posts about Non-profits…have a look!


Help Full Gospel Tabernacle (Far Rockaway, NY) help their community

Remember Hurricane Sandy? Not that long ago, but for many of us, we’ve moved on. Maybe you lost power, maybe you were unaffected. But we’ve had Halloween, The Election, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, etc since the storm. Life has continued for many.

But the devastation is still very real.

In the sermon today, our pastor said that besides food and safety, people need to feel a sense of belonging and significance/love. That reminded me of what Full Gospel Tabernacle in Far Rockaway, NY is providing for their community. They are personifying God’s love and building their sense of community by providing food/goods while loving and caring for the needs of their neighbors.

Step 1: Watch this BET video featuring Rev. Vega from Full Gospel Tabernacle. I could not get the video to embed, but you can watch it here. Here are a few of my less than stellar screenshots…(clicking on each image will also launch the video).

Rev. Jorge Vega

This sweet woman is 95 years old, and has been without power since the Hurricane. Thanks to the generous folks of Full Gospel Tabernacle, she has food and blankets to sustain her. And better yet, she has loving church family to check in on her.

Taking “the church” outside the four walls and loving their neighbors. People have generously given, and the church members are working tirelessly to distribute everything to the rest of the community.

Step 2: Monetary donations are needed! Funds are desperately needed to help get Full Gospel’s food pantry up and running. Right now, they are running the food pantry outside so they need money to buy a new refrigerator, cabinets to store food, stock up on food, etc.

Send checks (made out to Full Gospel Tabernacle) to:

Full Gospel Tabernacle
361 Beach 42nd St
Far Rockaway, NY 11691-1208

(718) 327-2221

Step 3: Host a Holiday Drive for Full Gospel Tabernacle and their community

Items needed:

  • New toys: As you stock up on toys for your own children for Christmas, consider buying a few for kids who lost everything. All ages are needed, boys and girls. Dolls, books, backpacks. Nothing violent. And remember that this is a predominantly African-American community, so please attempt to represent the population, especially with doll purchases. Get your kids involved and make cards to go along with each toy purchased. Let the recipients know how much they are loved!
  • Food & Home supplies: Soups, beans, Canned Fruits and Vegetables, Rice, Diapers, wipes, paper towels, etc

If you live in the Boston area, please email me. I will be collecting items to give to Rev. Vega’s family members who will be delivering everything on December 15. Otherwise, mail service is up and running in Far Rockaway, so feel free to mail checks and packages directly to them.

Please help. Your gifts will directly impact a community that is rebuilding.

One Warm Coat. Many warmed hearts.

I’ll state the obvious. New England winters are rough. People think we’re crazy to live here. When asked, we’ll say something about how much we like having four distinct seasons. But when it is 100 degrees of pure humidity in the summer, we long for the cold, blizzardy winters. And vice versa.

But these cold, snowy winters mean that warm winter coats are necessary for survival.

We can all help by donating winter coats to One Warm Coat. They have teamed up again with the Container Store to collect and distribute winter coats. Find a Container Store near you to drop off your clean winter coat. You can also search for a local agency that is in need of winter coats, and deliver them directly.

(One Warm Coat)

Consider taking a few minutes and going through your coats to see what you can donate. Have you updated your scarves and gloves, but the old ones are still fine? Have your kids grown out of their coats? This would be a great way to teach them about giving to others!

Find a Container Store near you to drop off your clean winter coat.

Hurricane Sandy Relief: How you can help

The devastation of Hurricane Sandy is clear to all, even to those who live in other areas of our nation. Help is desperately needed, and not all of us can be present to lend a hand. Here are a few ways we can help from afar.

There are the large organizations making huge differences (Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army…see below), and they all need our donations.  But Hope Mob is using social media to connect generous strangers directly to people in need. And remember, any amount you can give is generous.

Hope Mob (Where Generous Strangers Unite)

We are partnering directly with the NYC Rescue Mission and over 20 families on the ground in Manhattan to meet urgent needs. 100% of what you donate here will go to support verified victims only and we will even cover the processing fees.

Donate to Hope Mob’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Follow them on Twitter (@Hope) for more updates and ways you can help. The founder, Shaun King (@ShaunKing) is tweeting addresses of where food and supplies are needed. Help on the ground level.

Click here to donate online to RED CROSS DISASTER RELIEF

Prefer to text your donation? Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps people affected by disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes.

Blood donations are always needed. To learn more about where you can give blood, visit

The Red Cross is also urging Platelet donations because they only have a shelf life of 5 days. Read more about Platelet donations that are also needed.

What is a Platelet Donation?

During a platelet donation, a small portion of your blood (about 1/4 pint at a time), is drawn from your arm and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you. After the donation you can resume your normal activities, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise that day.

Read more from

Samaritan’s Purse is sending staff, equipment, and volunteers to help victims of Hurricane Sandy at three locations in New Jersey. We have established bases of operation in Atlantic, Bergen, and Ocean Counties, areas that were hard hit by the superstorm.

Our main priority will be finding homeowners that we can help in their time of need with a focus on low-lying, low-income areas. Most of the work will likely be tree removal and mud-outs.

Read more about Samaritan’s Purse Hurricane Sandy response

To see more about Samaritan’s Purse’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, watch the following video.

Click here to donate online to Samaritan’s Purse. (You can specify U.S. Relief.)

Can’t donate at this time? Consider Volunteering your time.

Unable to donate or volunteer? That’s okay. Prayers are always welcome and needed for those affected by the storm and for volunteers.

The Salvation Army is serving those impacted by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with food, clean-up kits, as well as emotional and spiritual care.

As of Wednesday:

  • New Jersey: The Salvation Army is serving hundreds of people at shelters throughout the state. This includes service in Atlantic and Hunterdon Counties. Starting today, The Salvation Army is also providing food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care to first responders in Freehold, NJ. A Salvation Army mobile feeding unit (canteen) has also deployed from Western Pennsylvania to support efforts in the state.
  • New York City: Officials from the Office of Emergency Management have appointed The Salvation Army as the lead agency for the City’s Food Access Plan, to coordinate efforts ensuring access to food for city residents. For the next few days The Salvation Army will be serving food at Seward High School in lower Manhattan where 1,000 people are being fed breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Read about their local efforts on their blog.

Donate online to Salvation Army Emergency Disaster
Donate By Phone:  1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
Text-to-Give: Text the word STORM to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.”*