Today I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison! From 2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win some awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including mine. All you have to do is follow my instructions below for winning the prize I have on offer, and then you can click over to Juliet’s blog to enter her prize draw, and see the list of all other blogs taking part and enter their giveaways as well. How cool is that? Why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new romantic comedy release, I Dream of Johnny, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it cracked up to be…
This past summer I read a lot of books. As usual, I tried to get as caught up in my Goodreads challenge as I could before school started again–especially before NaNoWriMo…I mean, November…hits. One of the books that I read this summer that I know is going to stay with me a long time (and not just because I’m going to make my eighth graders read it this year too!) was John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, a story about Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old girl with a terminal form of cancer. One of the lines from that book that the characters say over and over again (and sometimes I was able to read it without crying–but not always) is the world is not a wish-granting factory.
However, I really believe people can make a difference, even if the world isn’t going to go around sprinkling magic dust everywhere. Maybe we can’t exactly grant wishes, but we can help to make things better. I’ve collected three ways you can help, if you’re so inclined. There are many, many more…this is just a small sampling.
- Donate new or gently used items to charity. There are all kinds of charities out there that accept and need donations all year round. The Salvation Army, local shelters, veteran’s organizations–the list is endless, and they’re always in need.
- Donate recyclable products. Our school–and many of the other schools in my area–have paper dumpsters in the parking lot from Paper Retriever. Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, even school papers can all be placed in the bin, and our school gets a certain dollar amount per pound collected. It helps the environment, helps clear away clutter, and helps our school!
- Donate your hair. Actress Shailene Woodley, who is going to play Hazel Lancaster in the upcoming movie version of The Fault in Our Stars, decided to cut her hair before shooting began and to donate it to Helping Children with Hair Loss, an organization that provides free human hair replacements to children who have lost their hair for medical reasons. They help more than 300 children every year. There are many similar organizations out there as well, including Locks of Love, which many of my students have donated hair to over the years.
- Donate your time to a worthy cause. So many worthy groups in your area need volunteers. While staying home with her premature son, for example, a good friend of mine volunteered for our local Meals on Wheels group as a driver. If you have time to spare, find a cause to support and offer your time!
- Donate money. Of course all of these charities will always accept monetary donations, or you can donate to an event sponsored by the charity, like a walk/run or dinner. Mini Moe #1 and I always participate in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, walking 8K to help out our local YMCA’s programs.
2. Use your talents. There are fantastic charities out there looking for homemade items such as quilts, blankets, afghans, pillowcases, and more. Here’s just a few notable ones:
- The Quilts of Valor Foundation’s mission is to “cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor”. Completed quilts can be donated, as well as pieced tops and fabric. Longarm quilters are also needed to quilt the donated tops. They have an awesome website that has tons of patterns, including a series of mystery quilts that can be sewn and donated. So far QOVF has donated more than 88,000 quilts to service men and women.
- Project Linus provides “love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers”. Blankets and quilts can be sewn, knitted, or crocheted, and they even offer kits (including a no-sew blanket) and patterns for sale on their site.
- Need something smaller and quicker? A basic pillowcase can be made in less than an hour! American Patchwork and Quilting magazine has a 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge going on now. So far 500,000 pillowcases have been donated to charities across the United States. Their site offers more than 35 different free patterns that you can use.
- I’ve also helped out locally by making a memory t-shirt quilt for our local Hospice, and making small quilts for a local hospital’s neonatal ICU unit They were used in the hospital to cover the incubators–to shelter the babies from the light, and to give them (and their parents) something bright and cheerful to look at. So ask around–I’m sure there’s plenty of local places you can help out as well.
3. Shop! There are so many ways that you can contribute to charities just by doing the regular shopping you were going to do anyway, not even spending an extra dime yourself. Here’s a few suggestions:
- One of my favorite online fabric stores, eQuilter.com, donates 2% of every purchase made through their site to charity. You can choose which one at checkout–their current choices are the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, Engineers Without Borders USA, Rainforest Action Network, Altrusa International, Ocean Conservatory, and Mission of Love Youngstown, Ohio.
- Online sites like Shop for Charity let you shop at many of the stores you are probably going to shop at anyway (more than 50 stores can be accessed from their site, including Amazon, Target, and iTunes) and donate to the charity of your choice–there’s currently 28 charities to choose from. By you clicking through their site’s link and making a purchase, they get a commission of the sale, and at least 10% of that goes straight to the organization you selected.
- Finally, in my search for new back-to-school bags, I found this fantastic site. Esperos bags (their slogan is CARRY HOPE) makes sturdy and attractive canvas backpacks and tote bags that look like they’ll even stand up to the abuse that the Moe household dishes out. They’re reasonably priced and every bag donated helps send a child in need to school for a year.
What special charities to you support? What “wishes” do you help to grant? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Finally, a chance to win! I’ve got TWO prizes up for grabs today–brand new copies of the latest trilogy in Susan Mallery’s best-selling Fool’s Gold series (Just One Kiss, Two of a Kind, and Three Little Words), and a US$15 e gift card for either Amazon or Barnes and Noble–winner’s choice. After you finish filling out my Rafflecopter entry, continue down to the end of the post where you’ll find a link to Juliet‘s site, where all the other blog stops are listed. Tons of chances to win more prizes!
Once you’ve entered my giveaway, visit Juliet’s blog & enter her giveaway too, and visit any or all of the other participating blogs to enter more prize draws. You could potentially win a whole heap of prizes! Good luck! Visit the official Blog Blitz post here: http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/3-wishes-blog-blitz-official-post/
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