Give back this Tuesday! #Giving Tuesday

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are filled with consumption. We overindulge with mass amounts of food and deals. So let’s give back on Giving Tuesday.

Volunteering is always great, but I know it may not be practical for some. So here are some other quick, kid-friendly and fun ways to give back this Tuesday.

Give Blood. Okay, the kids may not enjoy this one, but you may be able to give blood while they are in school. To learn more about where you can give blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org

Download the Charity Miles app and take a walk, go for a run, take a bike ride with your kids.

Charity Miles is an iPhone/Android app that empowers you to earn corporate sponsorships for charity by walking, running or biking.

Just choose a charity and press start. As you walk, run or bike, the app tracks your distance and you earn money for your charity. Bikers earn 10¢ per mile; walkers and runners earn 25¢ per mile, all up to our initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.

Go through your cabinets or stop by the grocery store and deliver food to a food bank. Or search for a local food bank via Feeding America.

Go to your local store and pick up medical supplies for Sole Hope.

I’ve mentioned the wonderfulness of Sole Hope before. They are always in need of donated medical supplies for their Foot Washing and Jigger Removal. Imagine the selflessness of washing someone’s jigger infested feet. Reminds me of Jesus!

Kids can help pick out the first aid items (listed below), help package them and bring them to the post office (field trip!).

  • Bar Soap
  • Sharpies
  • Large Safety Pins
  • Surgical Gloves
  • Cotton Balls
  • Medical Razor Blades
  • Medical Tape
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Gauze
  • Band Aids

Mail them to: Sole Hope, PO Box, 1492, Asheville, NC 28802

Learn more about Giving Tuesday and other ways to give back on their website GivingTuesday.org.

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 www.redcrossblood.org

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 redcrossblood.org

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.”*

The day I met God.

I hesitated to write this post because it is so personal. But this story has been sitting on my heart recently, and I feel like God is telling me to share it. It is my story of being the recipient of the gift of life, and learning that God and the gift of donated blood are both very real.

Over the course of our triplet pregnancy, our focus was on the boys and their health. At 34weeks, they entered the world with a textbook perfect delivery. We had a NICU team for each baby and doctors lined up against the wall just to witness a triplet birth. We heard their sweet cries, I was able to see each and they were whisked off to the NICU by their teams. All was good.

(Yes, my head is on a ziploc bag of dirt. My husband felt is was important that the boys were born on Virginia soil. Honest.)

I was brought back to my room to recover, and for the next few hours, all was well. From this point on, I only know what my husband and doctors told me happened. I was in and and out of consciousness and ultimately required a blood transfusion. My kidneys stopped working. My blood pressure was borderline comatose. By God’s grace, I made it through the night and was brought into emergency surgery when my doctor returned in the morning. I remember being wheeled out of the room and looking at my husband, who was standing helpless by the window.

I remember being on the operating table. I remember my heart was crying out to God. I remember not being lucid enough to pray “real” prayers, but I remember praying constantly asking God to be with me. And the next thing I knew, everything was white. Pure white. Pure light. I was surrounded by God. He was with me. I felt the most beautiful peace and joy I have ever experienced. Words cannot begin to describe the beauty of the experience. I don’t know how close I was to death, but I know that God is real and never left my side.

It turns out I had massive internal bleeding. The incision from my c-section had torn open in multiple places, leaving me with “a million little bleeders”, as we were told. The doctors had found 2.5 liters of blood in my abdomen (the average person has about 5 liters total). I have come to learn that I was VERY lucky to have survived.

(I’ll spare you the photos of what I looked like after all this. Not pretty.)

So what does this have to do with giving? With the blood transfusion and subsequent surgery, a large percentage of the blood in my body was not my own. Strangers selflessly gave blood, not knowing how or if it would ever be used. And it helped save my life. I remember walking down the streets of Boston, looking at everyone, thinking “do I have your blood in me?” I am forever grateful to those who donated their blood to me and helped save my life.

Give Blood with the American Red Cross

Facts from the Red Cross website:

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

This gift is free. This gift is real.