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

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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.

Shop with your Heart Holiday Gift Guide: Nonprofit Edition (Gifts for strangers!)

As you buy gifts for friends and family, often gifts they may not need, considering shopping for a real gift that will greatly impact the life of a stranger.

The gifts below range from $4-$180. You can impact a life with just $4! You would pay more for a coffee at Starbucks. For example, the gift of a pig is a “living savings account” to a struggling family, giving them income, protein and soil nourishment. Such a better gift than a holiday sweater!

Click on the images below to learn more about each gift, and better just, to donate to and impact the life of a someone in need.

Shop with your Heart Holiday Gift Guide Nonprofits

Heifer International: Gift of a Pig, $120 World Vision: Gift of Year of School for Orphan, $70 Compassion: Care for a Child Waiting for Sponsorship, $40 Feeding America: Gift of Peanut Butter, $40 World Vision: A Sheep and A Goat, $180 Compassion: Parasite Prevention for Children, $4 World Vision: Survive to Five Care, $57 World Vision: Clean Water Fund Share, $25 Image Map

There are so many more gifts, in all price ranges! Take a look…

Compassion Gift Catalog

Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog

World Vision Gift Catalog

Heifer International Gift Catalog

Feeding America Gift Catalog

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.”*

Christmas already? Operation Christmas Child boxes

Yes, the calendar just flipped to October. We haven’t even pulled out the candy corn and costumes yet, but I’m already thinking about Christmas (and only because I just realized the Operation Christmas Child boxes are due the week of November 12-19th). If I don’t start planning now, I’ll never get around to preparing these boxes (like last year, and the years before). Christmas sneaks up on me. But not this year!

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child

What are Operation Christmas Child boxes? Wrapped shoe boxes you and I fill with toys, toiletries and school supplies for children in need around the world. All you need to do is pick if you are giving to a boy or girl, and what age range. You then wrap a shoebox (top and bottom separately, you know, like they do on tv shows) and fill it with goodies. And best of all, you can involve your kids in the shopping and filling process!

Start here: How to Pack a Shoebox

Need some gift ideas?

Make sure to print out the label from How to Pack a Shoebox and attach it to the top of the box, so it can be properly distributed to a boy or girl and correct age. They get a lot of boxes. Please help make sure it goes to the right recipient.

Print the shipping label online and you can follow your box to its recipient. How fun would that be to track your package with your kids!

Prefer to drop it off? Search for a location here.

Your shoebox will be delivered. And a life will be changed. Meet Ralph, pictured below. His full story can be found here.

Nine-year-old Ralph slowly listed what he wanted, too.

“School supplies, school bag, a T-shirt, shoes and socks.”

All of these are simple things that most American children take for granted. But in impoverished areas like this one, school supplies and basic clothing make a huge difference.

“Education is the only way out,” said Marlin, pastor of the church that arranged the shoe box distribution at the school. “OCC will make a difference for them.”

With new school supplies, the children will have more opportunities in class. But the shoe boxes don’t just offer physical items to make life better for children. The gifts also present an opportunity to learn about the Gospel.

(All images from Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child)

For a little time and money, and a lot of compassion, you can reach children like Ralph. And let them know that they are loved.

Fill a shoebox today.

(Don’t forget they are due the week of November 12-19th!)