Trying to give as good as we get

Whitney has a heart of gold — she’s my BFF so I can say this in bold. When we started getting freebies from PR companies, it was her idea to start a spin-off site BloggersGiveBack to encourage everyone to help others less fortunate.

With so many products being sent to bloggers for “review”, I want to encourage donation of goods that we don’t really need to folks who DO really need them.

Just knowing Whit encourages me to not be such a selfish bitch. She inspires me to give back to the community. When I asked her on Saturday, “should I give this toy to a needy child or keep it for Milo?” — she knew just what to say to me to make sure it went to the right hands. Not judgy or anything, she asked, “Does Milo have enough toys?” so I grabbed the box of goodies and brought it to the party for the toy drive. We have enough to share.

So, with her inspiration, here are some of the ways my family is trying to give back this season:

Essentials
Now, I am a cheapskate so I really like to get free undies and socks. But I know that the Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center needs them more. And I was proud to provide the kids in the community with the unopened Hanes tighty whities I had been saving for Milo (and when Milo comes of underwear age, I can buy him more or *gasp* hand him down some of Holden’s). I also brought them several hospital blankets (that I had been hoarding), packages of unopened diapers and wipes, and some cozy toddler clothes. My good friends at Cafe Cacao are hosting the drop off so I enjoyed a morning mocha for my trouble.

Food
Whitney and the kids’ preschool were both hosting food drives this year, so I made sure to fill both collection bins with as many healthy and non-perishable foods as possible. I like to tell Holden what we’re doing and let him put the items in the bin, but I’m not sure he’s really getting it.

Money
Donating to charities is down this year. It’s a crappy year in the economy and job losses are creeping toward an all-time high. According to the good folks at NPR Marketplace, all kinds of charitable donations are down in a recession, but especially ones to the arts. Alec and I want to give back, so we chose 3 different places to give $$ before the year is out. If you’re looking for someone to throw money at, might I suggest some of our favorites:

  • Cancer research in the name of Jen Linn. Our friend Dave and his wife have been battling her cancer and it is back again. This totally sucks! Read her story and give what you can. Cancer killed my dad 10 years ago, so if you’re not moved by a woman in her thirties fighting for her life, there’s that.
  • NPR. Since working in the City and commuting nearly every day, I’ve been listening to more and more NPR. I’m getting totally smart despite myself and it’s time to give back. Totally tax deductible if you don’t choose a gift.
  • Youth Speaks. Since donating to the arts is down right now, then donate to the arts is what we’re gonna do. The Youth Speaks program is an amazing poetry-slam-get-the-kids-writing-and-speaking-out kinda thing. Alec and I went to a few of their events a year ago and loved it! We’ve been meaning to support them ever since but have been lazy.

Toys
Our good friend Karen hosted a kick-ass Depression themed holiday party with a silent little toy drop happening in the front room. She made her donation to “Toys for Tots” and impressed everyone with the volume and quality. Whitney and I were proud to donate Nana Star and Moon Baby along with their accompanying books. These toys are super cute and have a great backstory. I hope they make someone’s Christmas morning brighter.

How are you making sure to give back this holiday season? If you don’t have *stuff* are you giving your *time*?

Make sure to stop by bloggersgiveback for some warm fuzzies and inspiration.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.