A month or two ago, I decided that I would try and do a good deed every day. I wanted to focus outside of my daily routine and really look for ways to make a difference in my community, even in small ways. Some days this is easier than others. Some days, I really have to force myself to be less selfish, which is hard, because I am a brat at heart. I think most of us are.
One of the first things I did as part of this agreement with myself was to enroll in the Be The Match program. Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, and is the largest marrow registry in the world. For the people who are diagnosed with blood cancers, sometimes this is their last hope for help. My family has been involved with marrow donation because of my mom, and I’m certain that many of you know or know of someone who has dealt with leukemia, lymphoma or the like, and you know how important it is in treatment.
Signing up for this is one of the easiest things you can do. It takes about 15 minutes of time to go through the questionnaire, even with the extra time I spent looking at the FAQ trying to figure out if I am eligible (tattoos, I have a cold, I am whiny). A week or two after you finish enrolling online, they send you a kit with some cotton swabs and instructions. I felt very CSI, swabbing the inside of my mouth, and then I mailed it off and that was that. Once they type you, you’re in the system and that’s that. You may never get called to donate. You may get called upon in twenty years or two weeks. You may be the last hope for someone’s life. That’s such an incredible help to so many people. About 1 in 540 people go on to actually donate. It’s like the most do-gooding lottery ever.
There is a ton of really helpful information here and you can read success stories, FAQs, and sign up all in one place. Honestly, twenty minutes out of your life to help save another is one of the easiest choices you can make, and that is definitely something to feel good about.
Located in Loudoun County (VA), LAWS is a nonprofit providing temporary shelter, counseling, legal services and support for survivors of domestic violence & abuse. They work to reduce the incidence of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
Once you get in contact with them, they will keep you safe. For example, LAWS filed a restraining order against my ex-abuser when he followed me to the LAWS offices. They aided me in finding legal resources to gain custody of my children. They referred me to social services for which I may be qualified. They offered me counseling and a spot in a support group. They gave my children presents at Christmas. They spent time with my children while I went to counseling meetings.
Today’s guest post is from my friend Devon Brookshire: “a small business owner as an Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay, and I was a victim of Domestic Violence for 10 years. So I created ‘Adopt a Mom’ to give a token of love to the women who are facing perhaps the hardest Holiday Season of their lives so far.” (As someone who has stayed in a place like Bethany House and experienced a Christmas right after leaving a domestic violence situation, I can tell you that gifts like this do help! -Maureen)
So I’m attempting to surprise someone. She has had to go into “protective care” because she finally realized that if she didn’t leave, her husband was literally going to be the death of her. This woman is so courageous, and I don’t think she knows that there is anyone who truly understands and cares right now. She’s going to be there for Christmas. They have this awesome program so that her two, small children will have gifts “from her”, but she won’t have anything from a soul to tell her that someone cares for her.
…Will you be that someone?
A series highlighting charities and organizations close to our hearts.
It’s been difficult to figure out how to write about food banks. We all know what they are. We’ve all collected and donated canned foods, usually right around this time of year. We think about hunger the most when we’re gearing up for our huge feast day, Thanksgiving, a day where Americans celebrate abundance and fortune. We think about the wonderful things in our life and in our show of excess, we make a show of helping those who have less, then move on to Christmas lists and New Years’ Eve plans.
Hunger is weird, we all experience it daily but once we’re eating, promptly forget it. We say we’re starving constantly, starving when it’s been 3 hours since our last meal. We eat until we hurt, we throw away food because we have too much, we eat constantly, mindlessly. We reach for a snack at the very first twinge of emptiness. Most of us don’t really understand hunger as a condition, as a way of life; for us it’s only an inconvenience.