Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Sandy’

Charity Begins With You & Me

It’s easy to get distracted this time of the year with everything that we have to get done between work, our families, and the holidays.  It’s easy to forget those in our communities, our country, and around the world that can’t forget that they’re cold and hungry and they won’t have a bright and cheery holiday season.


The holidays are upon us.  There is no way to escape it.  It begins with eating ourselves into a stupor this week.  We then focus our attention on fulfilling everyone’s Christmas dreams by shopping until we drop.  And, then there’s New Year’s Eve where many party and drink like fish to ring in 2013.


In the next six weeks, most Americans will devour so many extra calories and spend so much money for a few moments of bliss, whether it’s eating homemade candy, cookies, or treats, or buying some present that may be re-gifted, taken back to be exchanged, or never used.

I consider myself a very charitable person.  I donate money and my time to emcee and organize fundraisers that help everything from animal shelters to domestic violence centers to fight hunger and to raise awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  I’ve also donated money to fight cancer, to help fund school programs, and just last week, I donated money for Habitat for Humanity, a charity that I donate to on a regular basis.  Those are just a few things that I do.


I’ve even had to wrestle with my conscience when I bought popcorn from the Boy Scouts outside stores when those little faces ask you to help them out.  I struggle with it every time that I drop a dollar into the red kettles for the Salvation Army.  I know both of those organizations do good things for the community and for our kids, but why do they have to be so homophobic and judgmental?  I really struggle with that and I always have hope that both organizations will evolve and love all one day.

But, this is not about me.  It’s about making a difference.

I know many of you struggle to pay your rent and your utility bills, to keep your families fed, and to pay for medication.  I know you may not have extra dollars in your wallet or purse to make sizable donations to charities.  But, it’s true that every dollar and every coin makes a difference.

When it comes to me, I know that if I have the money to buy a compact disc (even if it’s on sale for $9.99), buy a DVD, go to the movies, or plan a vacation, I have the money to make small donations to charities that can help others.


A couple of my friends are asking for volunteers and donations to help their church in Moline, Illinois, present their first ever Thanksgiving lunch Thursday.  I’m sure they could still use some donated food or money to buy what they need.  I bet they could even use volunteers.  Give them a call to find out.  (309) 764-6721.

Thursday afternoon, Ray and I, and our friend, Vickie, are volunteering for Mr. Thanksgiving, a 40-year event that feeds about 2,500 people.  It’s for those that may not have money for food for a feast or for people who may not have family and just want to be around others at the holidays.  It takes place at SouthPark Mall in Moline from 4-6:30 p.m.  You can donate money at many local grocery stores to help offset the cost for the public event or you can drop by Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. to volunteer.


This Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a tough one for Americans living along the mid-Atlantic coast and in New England.  In late October, Hurricane Sandy brought wind, flooding rains, and heavy snow, that caused more than $52.4 billion  (that’s with a “B”) in damages and displaced so many people.


There have been many functions and telethons in the past few weeks that raised tens of millions of dollars to help the American Red Cross in the relief efforts.  Celebrities are donating huge sums of money, too.  Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged $500,000 from his Foundation, and “Mother Monster” Lady Gaga has put up ONE MILLION DOLLARS!


It’ll make me feel good to know that when I see Gaga in January 2013 in Las Vegas that part of my ticket price went to helping others.


Here is an update posted on the American Red Cross website Monday:  “Some people are still unable to return to their homes. About 750 people spent Sunday night in ten shelters.”

“The Red Cross is looking ahead to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and will be working with various organizations and community groups to get Thanksgiving meals to people in the areas affected by Sandy. This will include distributing food before the holiday, supporting faith-based and community Thanksgiving meal programs, and serving Thanksgiving meals from Red Cross kitchens on Thanksgiving.”

With that being said, I just made a donation to the American Red Cross to help out in New England and I’ll make it easy for you to do the same by providing the link.  If you donate, I appreciate it and I know those people who we’ll probably never meet will be thankful that you did, too.


My friends, I wish you the very best this holiday season.  Regardless of what is going on in our lives, good or bad, I know that for most of us, there’s another day that will follow.  We can only hope that it’s a good one.

Here’s my last thought to pontificate about before you donate.

We’ve all heard about the good that charities do and we’ve also heard about the few cases of funds being misused.  I still donate and I always will.  When I offer my time or money, I rely on hope and faith that the money is being used to make life better for many.

Happy Thanksgiving early and be thankful for your blessings.


Here’s a bonus — a powerful message behind a powerful and beautiful voice.  In 1997, my idol, Reba McEntire recorded a charity single for the Salvation Army and I’ll share “What If” with you now.