Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

10 December 2015

A List of Ways To Help Others This Holiday Season || The Meaning Of Christmas

My mom texted me a suggestion for a blog post yesterday. I obviously love any and all blog post ideas, it makes blogging life about a billion times easier, but this one in particular was a reminder from my mom to not forget the power of my blogger voice and reach, this time of year.  

Her favorite posts are the ones where I spill my heart or try to bring action for the greater good. That's a very mom thing to enjoy, but I'm with her, I like my more heart-felt, serious posts too. Being the great mom she is, she offered up an idea for a post that I absolutely LOVED. She suggested I list some of the charities I like this time of year that my readers might want to know about and donate to. 

When I was a kid we would always pick several children from the Angel Tree at the mall, and it was something that I got so excited to do every year. As much as children love getting gifts, I honestly think they enjoy giving to others just as much if not more. Remembering to give is somewhat lost in your teens and twenties. Perhaps it's because money is so tight, or maybe we're just more selfish at this age. Either way, we need to remember the excitement we got as children when we gave to those less fortunate.

So, what I've done is taken some of my favorite charities, as well as some local and national stories that have gone viral that I think you'd like to donate to this holiday season. Like I said, I know money is tight for many of us, so I've included things on this list that don't cost anything other than your time. For those things that do constitute a monetary contribution, keep in mind that donations are typically tax-deductible. Just make sure that you keep up with any tax reform changes taking effect for the given year.

Ring The Salvation Army Bell
This one costs ZERO dollars. Find a shift in your area to ring the bell for the Salvation Army Red Kettle. Bring a friend, bring a boyfriend, go by yourself, whatever makes you most comfortable, they'll be thrilled to have you volunteer.

Instead Of Sending Christmas Cards... || ASPCA
Instead of sending Christmas cards, make a donation to the ASPCA and they'll send out a card for you, in honor of your donation. You can choose to send a paper greeting card, or an e-card.

Gift Your Besties' Dog Instead || Barkbox
Do you have a girlfriend with a four legged best friend? Instead of getting her a bottle of wine or monogrammed tote bag, gift her pup instead! When you gift barkbox, 10% off all proceeds are given to over 3,000 shelters nationwide.

Me personally? Well, I'd rather you get something for Gee or Veenie any day!

The Moyer Foundation || Camp Erin, Camp Mariposa
Since I lost my father when I was 19, this one is really special to me. No time of year is more difficult for a child that has lost a parent, than Christmas time. By donating to The Moyer Foundation, you'll help fund Camp Erin and Camp Mariposa, the nations largest bereavement camp for grieving children and teens, ages 6-17.

Big Brothers Big Sisters || Nationwide
I interned with the East Tennessee chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters during college. Most of the children in this program live in single parent, low-income households where a parent is incarcerated. They match adult volunteers in positive relationships with children, in an effort to perform better in school and avoid violence and illegal activities. When I was interning with them, they desperately needed more male volunteers, and that's true to this day.

I know most of you reading this blog are female, so why not spend some time looking at the Big Brothers Big Sisters website with your husband or boyfriend tonight when you get home? My job as an intern with them was to find free tickets to events that bigs and littles could attend together, like Tennessee Vols football games or to see the Harlem Globetrotters play. It was a lot of fun for everyone involved, and being a mentor is so much less expensive than you think.

Wounded Warriors Project 
I started this search by looking for a charity that I could donate to that helped reunite military families during the holidays. There is nothing more beautiful than military reunions, I'd love to be responsible for making that happen. Does anyone know of this?

I do of course know of Wounded Warriors Project. There are many ways to donate to help fill the needs of injured service members, including something as simple as sharing on social media if money is especially tight.

Make a Wish Foundation || Worldwide
I'll just leave this here...

Four-year-old Tessa always dreamed of riding a unicorn. Tessa and her 10 adopted siblings were able to spend...
Posted by Make-A-Wish America on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

To donate time or money to the Make a Wish Foundation: click here (you can even donate unused airline miles!!

Sadie, 8 years old || Argyle, Texas
Sadie, who has spent most of her year in the hospital fighting leukemia, was worried that Santa might forget her friends at the Children's hospital. Here's what she asked:

"There's going to be a lot of kids in the hospital on Christmas morning, and if I was in the hospital on Christmas morning, I would be sad. So, I want you guys to help me do a toy drive."

Over 300 toys have already been donated, and each week Sadie's mom takes her to play Santa at the Children's hospital. Sadie fills her sleigh with the gifted toys, and hands them out to her friends at the hospital.

For details on donating: here
Follow Sadie's Story on Social Media: #SadiesSeligh

Safyre, 5 years old || Schenectady, New York (Worldwide)
I'm willing to bet you've seen this one already, and I wish the internet shared more stories like this one and less about the Kardashians. In 2013, Safyre's father and three siblings died in a fire caused by arson. She was found in a pile of rubble, shielded by her father who had died protecting her.

All Safyre wants this year are cards from all over the world to fill her card tree.

Send Cards for Safyre to:
P.O. Box 6126
Schenectady NY 12306: 

To learn more about Safyre, and for other ways to donate and help her this Christmas: here

I'd love it if you left a local Christmas wish story you've heard, or a charity you love in the comments section below, so that we can all see what we can do to help others this Christmas in our area. 

No gesture is too big or too small during the holidays! 

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  1. Sarah, thank you so so so much for this. I was feeling down today when I read some sad things on facebook and this brightened me up. I love this post idea (and your mom, of course!) and can't wait to pick a few to give to.

  2. Gifting your besties dog! I love this!

  3. I absolutely LOVE this blog post! I'd definitely add St. Jude's Children's Hospital to this list. Every child gets treatment here, even if they cannot afford to pay for it. It takes $1 million a day to operate this facility! I try to donate to them every single year!

  4. I'm getting teary eyed and emotional reading these--thank you for sharing, this really is one of the most important "gift guides" out there!

  5. These are my favorite gift guides :) A national nonprofit near to my heart is Feeding America, as I work at one of their member food banks. In my state (Oklahoma), 1 in 6 people, including 1 in 4 kids and 1 in 6 senior citizens, is hungry. Many of our neighbors are forced to make tough decisions: electricity (meaning heat, especially important this time of year) or food? medicine or food? The list goes on. I always encourage people to donate to their local food bank, too, if you want to make a direct impact locally. Thanks for sharing this post and giving a forum for people to share the nonprofits we are passionate about, too!

  6. Love all these idea.

  7. This list is awesome. I'll have to check out the Moyer foundation as that is my married last name, and my husband was 23 when he lost his dad (although not a child, he was still young and wishes his dad were there for our wedding and the birth of his grand daughter) Several people in my family have decided to not buy gifts for each other this year so we decided to spend some of that money on an angel tree kid. It was fun going shopping together buying clothes for a 13 year old girl. It makes me happy knowing that we were able to help provide a girl with a few things under the tree. I just wish we could see the smiles her gifts bring her :)

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  9. I LOVE THIS!! ohhhhhhh how I hope you do a Part 2 to include some of your readers ideas. I would encourage people to bring a few gifts ( cookies, poinsettias, ornaments, cute socks, stuffed animal or doll) to a local nursing home, especially those catering to Memory Care! Many of the resident's don't have visitors or family in the area and spend the holidays alone. It's heartbreaking. When my dad was in a facility with ALZ we dropped off 15 brown paper bags w cookies inside and decorated the outside of the bags. I asked the nurse to deliver them to any of the residents who were lonely or in need of a visit. She said it made a HUGE difference!!!

  10. One of my favorite posts of yours ever! :)

  11. I was a big sister in the big brother big sister program for a year it was a wonderful experience. This was an amazing post thank you!


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