Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Show Your Helping Hand

Hamburger Helper has teamed up with Beyonce and Feeding America to deliver more than 3.5 million meals to local feed banks. Here's how you can help:

Enter codes from inside specially marked boxes of Hamburger Helper, which will donate 18 cents to Feeding America - enough to deliver one meal to a local food bank. Deadline: Dec. 31, 2010.

Text "show" to 90999 to donate $5. You may receive one future text message from Feeding America, which will be sent no later than Dec. 31, 2010.

Bring non-perishable food items to Beyoncé's concerts.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Use your Coke rewards program

1. Sign up at www.mycokerewards.com
2. Enter your bottle codes from any participating Coca-Cola product
3. Use your points for one of the following:
a. Enter a sweepstakes (3 points) to donate $1,000 to the organization of your choice.
b. Donate points (15, 70 or 140) to Best Buy's at15, in which teens get to decide where the donated money goes. Interesting.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blog changes

Beginning June 1, the format of this blog will change. Mostly because I'm fresh out of ideas, and secondly, because I know my 12 readers will understand. I won't be posting daily, but I will be doing more research in order to produce better content that both expounds on ideas we've already covered and ones that offer new ways to give without spending.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 150: Learn what NOT to give

Broken appliances or electronics.
Stained or torn clothing.
Broken furniture.
Old computers.

Rule of thumb: Call and ask your charity what is unacceptable. A few of the items listed above can be recycled, which is great. But don't burden the organization you're trying to help with things that can be recycled or should just be thrown away.

Day 149: Educate yourself

Find a topic close to your heart and learn as much as you can about it and then educate others. Become a local expert, one journalists turn to for information on the topic. Get as involved as you can and inform as many others as you can.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 148: One click at a time

One click at a time is a Web site devoted to organizing all the click-to-give sites out there in the webosphere and putting them in one place for your convenience. All funds are sponsor driven.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 147: Hurricane preparedness

Make sure your elderly neighbors and relatives are prepared for hurricane season.

Coordinate an evacuation plan.
Check for supplies: batteries in flashlights, bottled water and canned foods are necessities.
Help them secure their homes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 146: Enter sweepstakes

Check out www.sweetiessweeps.com for tips and tricks to win free prizes. You can donate all or a portion of your winnings.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 145: Donate magazines

Give your magazines to schools or Sunday schools so they can be used in libraries, classrooms and craft areas. Classwork assignments for primary-grade children, for instance, often consist of finding pictures of words that start with certain letters.

You also might consider bringing them to your nearest senior or community center.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 144: Donate stock

A gift of stock or other securities can make a world of difference in your personal charitable and estate planning. Since many securities have appreciated in value since their purchase, they make an attractive gift under current tax laws. Consult your financial adviser for details.

Day 143: Care for your elders

Know the 10 signs on Alzheimer's disease.

1. Memory changes the disrupt daily life.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks.

4. Confusion with time or place.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.

7. Misplacing things and inablility to retrace steps.

8. Decreased or poor judgment.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.

10. Changes in mood or personality.

This information was provided by www.alz.org. Check Web site for more detailed information.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 142: Recycle plastic grocery bags

If you choose not to use reusable shopping bags (and if you do, be sure to wash them regularl as a recent study showed a link to such bags and food poisoning), Winn-Dixie asks that you please support their recycling efforts by returning the plastic bags, which are made out of 20 percent recycled materials, to any Winn-Dixie store.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 141: Free poverty

See how many cups of water you can donate by testing your knowledge about the world. Each correct answer results in 10 cups on your behalf.

Here are the rules, from the site:

"Your mission here is to locate the place given to you [e.g. Rome, Italy] and how many cups of water we donate on your behalf depends on how accurate your answer is. Once you have located one city or landmark, another location will be shown to you. You may play the game however many times you wish. Of course, the more you play and the more you are correct, the greater difference you will make with your donation. If your answer is correct, 10 cups of water will be donated. The further away you are from the location, the number of cups will decrease. If your answer is nowhere near the exact location, no cups of water will be donated. Therefore by playing this game, not only are you doing a good deed for others, but you are also gaining knowledge for yourself."

I am horrifying terrible at this. It's geography. I'm embarrassed. I scored 45 on my first attempt.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 140: Pampers rewards

Pampers Gift to Grow rewards program enables you to collect points that can be redeemed for gift cards or other rewards by posting a code inside its packages.

Another option is to redeem your points to help Marach of Dimes. Now through June 30, you can donate your points to help fund research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies' lives.

For every point you donate, Pampers will donate $0.10 to March of Dimes, up to a total of $20,000.

Day 139: Consider UPromise

If you don't have children but are close to someone who does, volunteer to help them contribute to their UPromise fund.

UPromise is a college savings program in which things you do every day (shop online, buy groceries, eat out at restaurants) earn cash.

All your earnings go directly into your Upromise college savings account. Then, you decide if you'd like to grow them tax-free in a 529 plan to pay for college, use them to pay down a Sallie Mae student loan, or receive a check for college expenses.

Before I had children, I signed up and saved for my nephew. Just ask the account holder to send you a friends and family e-mail in order to sign up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 138: Vote for Feeding America

Target is giving away $3 million, and you decide who gets how much.

By logging in or signing up on Facebook and voting each day through May 25, you can help an organization earn a percentage of the $3 million Target is giving away to 10 charities later this month.

By logging in or signing up on Facebook and voting for Feeding America each day through May 25, you can help it earn a percentage of the $3 million Target is giving away to 10 charities later this month.

Vote for Feeding America now!

The more votes Feeding America gets, the more dollars they receive to help the more than 25 million hungry Americans they assist each year. These dollars are more important now than ever as we approach summer, when many children are left without free and reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches.

You can vote once every 24 hours until May 25.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 137: Collect Tyson labels

Joining Box Tops 4 Education and Campbell's Soup labels is Tyson's Project A+. Clip and save Tyson labels, turn them in to your school, and your school receives 24 cents from each label collected.

Click here to see if your school is registered.

Click here to register your school.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 136: Recycle THIS

This site from the UK is so fun. Recycle This is a site where you can submit questions on how you can recycle "insert object name here" and they'll give you a new way to use said product. For example, what to do with old name tag/ID badgets, a toaster grill, laundry detergent bottles, silk scarves, broken bike helmets and so on.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 135: Use the web

Check out www.socialactions.com.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 134: Learn about charitable tax deductions

By educating yourself on the laws regarding charitable donations, you can make more informed decisions on the things you want to part with. Since tax law is not my specialty, here's a link to 'Lectric Law Library.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 133: Vote for a new playground

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes is rebuilding America's playing fields. More than 1,000 fields were nominated and 100 remain. Vote by May 31. The top 30 vote-getters will get a new field.

You can search for fields in your area by state or zip code. I voted for Pelican Athletic Club in New Orleans.

Day 132: Get teens involved

Do you know a teenager who doesn't text? Me either. So send the one you love to www.dosomething.org, a youth community-service non-profit, where they can sign up to receive text messages when volunteer opportunities arise in their area. Or, they can text "do something" to 30644, where they'll be prompted to enter their zip code. All opportunties are screened for legitimacy, so it's safe as well.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 131: Spend your vacation helping others

This is one for the truly selfless. But every spring break I see hundreds of teens and young adults venture down to southeast Louisiana to help in recovery efforts, and I can't help but be touched. They work with Habitat for Humanity and other organizations to rebuild houses and playgrounds. Obviously, these are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. But for those of us who don't have the time during our usual schedules to volunteer, sacrificing one day of free time might not be asking too much.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 130: Check out GiveStream

Givestream.com enables you to set up a virtual mall that your supporters can search and shop, with a portion of each sale going to your organization. Here's how it works:

The merchant finder is a web tool that links to hundreds of leading online retail merchants. Supporters will generate contributions to the organization on every successful purchase originating from the organization's GiveStream Center.

The product comparison engine is a web tool that enables organization supporters to search and compare products offered by hundreds of leading online retail merchants. The search helps organization supporters to find and compare the best deals. Supporters will generate contributions to the organization with every successful purchase originating from the Organization GiveStream Center.

The GiveStream Web Search lets your supporters generate contributions to your organization through their everyday searches. The GiveStream Web Search is a Toolbar powered by Google, which ensures the quality of the results.

For more information, check out their FAQs.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day 129: Double your donation dollars

This blog focuses on free ways to donate to charity, but when you find that you have the dollars to donate, look for ways to make it go as far as possible. For example, in the month of May, BD (a global medical technology company) will match dollar for dollar every donation received by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. for information on that program, click here.

Many corporations offer similar matching programs, as well. Check with your employer for details

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 128: Send your mom an e-card for Mother's Day

For every Starlight Mother's day card you send, the Starlight Children's Foundation will get $1 (up to $25,000). Send one to your mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, godmother, a special aunt or other maternal figure. Click here to get started.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 127: Play word games

At Charitii.com, play word game puzzles to donate to the charity of your choice. You may choose from the following:

Donate 10 oz. of drinking water
Give 10 grains of wheat
Put a child in school for 10 minutes
Save 10 square inches of rainforest land

Challenge your friends to see who can get the highest score.

There are charts that show how much the site has raised. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 126: Utilize YouTube

Create a video for your cause and post it on YouTube. Create a montage of different events you've been a part of, or simply state why you're an advocate and how others can help your efforts. Anyone who does a search for your organization will find it, and they can spread the message as well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 125: Help a family in need

ABC's Extreme Makeover is looking for "deserving families and deserving people — people who have amazing strength of character and who put their own needs aside to help others."

If you know of a family in desperate need of home repairs or renovation, click here for information on how to nominate them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 124: Start a recycling drive

If you have access to recycling paper, cans or plastics, but your employer, school, church or organization, doesn't, consider forming a team to take over those duties on a biweekly or monthly basis. Many centers pay for scrap metal, so it's a good way to raise money for your cause if you have the manpower.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day 123: Donate your timeshare

Trying to unload a timeshare and having no luck? You can donate it to a cause and receive a tax deduction. More than $3 million in time shares have been donated as of January.

For more information, click here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 122: Take action daily

Make a difference with care2, where you are given daily directions to make a better world. The site will track your progress and give you cumulative results of others as well. For example, it will send you a link that has 10 sites that will make contributions based on your click to charities such as save the baby seals and the rain forest, stop domestic violence against women and race to help children in need.

Click here to sign up for daily actions.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 121: Learn to help a choking victim

The first order of business, as silly as it seems, is to ask the victim if he or she is choking. If they can verbally respond, air is getting through, so let the person try to dislodge the item on their own. Just stay near and be prepared to assist.

If they cannot speak, immediately begin performing the Heimich maneuver. If you have help, ask someone to dial 911.

Wrap your arm around victim's waist.
Make a fist and place your thumb beneath the victim's abdomen, below the rib cage and above the navel.
Grasp your fist with other hand and quickly thrust upward.
Repeat until item is dislodged.

Source: www.heimlichinstitute.org.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 120: Find volunteer opportunities

If you're willing to give your time but are just undecided on where you feel your time would be best spent, check out volunteermatch to find a good fit. This site has made more than 4 million referrals. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and keywords describing the opportunity you're looking for. You can even search for virtual opportunities.

There are 57,925 current opportunities.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 119: Donate a car

I knew that Bridge House in New Orleans had wonderful commericals, but I wasn't sure what services it rendered. According to its Web site, "For fifty years Bridge House has served as a substance-abuse treatment center of last resort. Every day we accept and treat those to whom most other institutions deny admission: the homeless and indigent drug and alcohol abusers of our community. The only requirement for admission is a sincere desire to change, and we accept individuals without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation or ability to pay."

The other thing I knew about the organization is that it accepts car donations. I've always wanted to keep a car long enough to donate it (my first car was totaled, my second was gumbo-ed out {another story} and my third was flooded out). Oh, they also accept boats, too. For information on how to donate your car, click here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 118: Get tested

Raising community awareness is vital to prevention and understanding the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Schools, clubs, businesses and other groups can call upon NO/AIDS staff members and volunteers for workshops, lectures and seminars on AIDS-related subjects.

NO/AIDS also offers free and anonymous HIV testing. No blood, no needles, just an oral swab. It offers testing Monday through Saturday. Call the hotline at 504-821-6050 to make an appointment.

For more information, go to http://www.crescentcity.com/noaids/services.htm.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 117: Donate unused leave time

I came across an article that states that some employees, in particular federal government employees, can donate their unused leave time to others, such as disaster victimes. Check with your employer to see if this applies for you. I know it doesn't for me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 116: Technology Trade-In Programs

Here's a way to not only help the environment but help you save money as well. The next time you upgrade computer, camera or other technological equipment, check with your retailers trade-in/recycling program. Vendors such as Radio Shack, HP and Gateway will take your outdated equipment and turn it into a credit on your new purchase. If your item has no value, the often will recycle them free of charge.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 115: Help Grow Your Soup

Every time you click here on the "grow" button, Campbell will donate 50 seeds to Future Farmers of America. When you request a packet of tomato seeds, it will donate 100 more. You can even recycle your soup can, it's the perfect size for seedlings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 114: Contact your local animal shelter

Animal shelters often are looking for volunteers to walk or feed the animals, pass out flyers looking for adoptive parents, collect newspaper or blankets to line cages. Call your nearest shelter to find out its specific needs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 113: Virtual Caregiving Part II

CarePages Web sites are free patient blogs that connect friends and families during a health challenge. Offer to maintain one for an ill family member or friend. They can update you with doctors appointments, test results, etc., and you can update the masses.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 112: Double Up on Dinner

The next time you cook a batch of gumbo, jambalaya or a casserole or stew, double up on ingredients and send half to an elderly neighbor or stressed out friend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 111: Click for a Cure

If www.thebreastcancersite.com gets 200 clicks in April, it will donate $10,000 to research, and each click in itself generates a free mammogram. The contributions are made by non-profit greatergood.org. Right now, it is at 66 percent of its goal with nine days left. You can send an e-card to inform others about the cause.

Day 110: Adopt a Highway

Hawaii and several other states have adopt-a-highway programs in which groups come together to help maintain a stretch of public road. If your state doesn't have such a highway (apparently Louisiana did before Katrina but does not now), pledge to make sure an area near you remains litter-free.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 109: Start a carpool

After last summer's crazy gas prices, a few of my coworkers began carpooling. Their only question one year later is: Why haven't we been doing this all along? They have found they save money on gas, reduce their dependence on foreign oil and are able to vent to one another before taking work issues home with them.

Day 108: Virtual caregiving

If someone you love is ill and you'd like to find a way to help them through the crisis without being intrusive, check out foodtidings.com and lotsahelpinghands.com. Here you and others can sign up to prepare and deliver meals or provide other specific types of help.

I apologize for the lateness of this post. (I switched my settings to Pacific time to get it in on time.) I'm attending a friend's wedding in Hawaii, and while I made it here in time, my luggage has not (still has not actually). So I am at the mercy of the kind folks at American Airlines to deliver not only my bathing suit and clothing, but my laptop charger and video camera as well. I do have my next few days' posts prepared, it's just a matter of finding a way to get them on the Internet to you. Thanks for understanding!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 107: Get neighbors involved

Pick a drive - clothing, books, DVD, cell phones, toys, etc. Then create a flyer to distribute to your neighbors asking them to participate. Tell them you are collecting (insert items here) for (insert charity here) until (insert deadline here). Ask them to kindly leave items on your porch, back yard, whereever you like and deliver them on the designated day.

I think that lots of times people want to help, they just don't want to take the initiative. So by taking those early steps, you can help inspire your neighbors to be more giving.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 106: Donate expired coupons to troops overseas

U.S. military families stationed overseas can redeem expired coupons (for up to six months). Manufacturers coupons only, no Internet or "in-store" coupons. Grocerysavingstips.com has a list of addresses of military bases that you can reference. Click here for the list.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 105: Sign up for Ashton Kutcher's Twitter

Celebrity Ashton Kutcher has challenged CNN to a Twitter contest. If he reaches 1 million Twitter followers before April 24, he will donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day if he wins.

Join today at http://twitter.com/aplusk.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 104: Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity offers opportunities for individuals and groups to help build (or in New Orleans' case, rebuild) houses. To volunteer, read their FAQ. Read safety guidelines before registering. Check their volunteer calendar for opportunities.

Volunteer Groups, will need to visit the group volunteers page, and individuals must visit this page for more information.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 103: Campbell's Labels for Education

On Day 10 I blogged about Box Tops 4 Education. Campbell's also has a program to benefit schools, the Labels for Education program. Clip and save UPC codes on labels and bottle caps from participating products and send them in to earn reward points for your school. Products include Campbell's, Franco-American, Spghettios, Swanson, V8 and Prego. Five-point products include For more information, go to the program's Web site.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 102: Create a cookbook

A cookbook is a great fundraising idea. People love seeing their name in print, and submitting their favorite recipe is an easy way for them to do that.

You can even get kids involved by asking them to give their parents' recipes. We made such a cookbook when I was in grammar school, and we had some responses such as: "Then you pizza in the microwave for 40 hours; my mom makes pisketi and four meatballs; and my mom gets all our food from MawMaw's house."

Collect recipes from school, church, work. Get everyone involved. Have a contest to pick a cover drawing, print them out and sell.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 101: Donate a prom dress

It's prom season! This year, when the teen nearest and dearest to your heart has celebrated her big day, talk to her about donating her dress to donatemydress.org, which is a national network that connects dress drive organizations that help get special-occasion gowns to girls who cannot afford them.

If she seems reluctant, just tell her Taylor Swift donated hers!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 100: Make a bucket list

Make a list of 50 things you want to do or accomplish before you die and make at least five of the items include volunteering or supporting your favorite charities. You can pledge to take a volunteer vacation to a disaster area or to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity in your area. You can consider becoming a more active member in your community. You can vow to complete 365 days of giving without spending! And if you come up with 265 more ways, send them my way!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 99: Share your children

If you are blessed with a beautiful child or children, share the joy they bring to you with those who can use a lift, such as the elderly or infirm. If you feel uncomfortable bringing them to a nursing home or hospital, consider your local senior center, which is full of vibrant souls.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 98: Recycling Cell Phones Part II

Recycling mobile phones was one of the first entries created on this blog.

But seeing as this is National Cell Phone Awareness week, I'm taking this opportunity to remind you of some other ways to reuse those handheld devices.

The EPA has lined up several big name partners, including AT&T, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless that will offer promotions, contests or giveaways, along with easy in-store or online recycling opportunities. Other participants include Best Buy, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, Office Depot, Sony Ericsson and Staples.

Find a cell phone recycling location near you.

Other ways to recycle the phone are as follows:

Cellphonesforsoldiers.com turn old cell phones into prepaid calling cards that members of the U.S. military overseas can use to reach family back home. The program works with Recellular.

Wirelessrecycling. A portion of the money generated by recycling your cell phone will go to a charity of your choice.

Eco-cell partners with conservation organizations so that nonprofits benefit from the donation of your used cell phone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 97: Donate technology

Free Geek is a non-profit community organization that recycles and refurbishes used technology and provides computers, education and job skills training to volunteers in exchange for their services.

Free Geek grants computers to schools and charities who benefit others.

It recycles to keep toxic e-waste chemicals out of landfills.

We provide classes and technical support to ensure successful reuse for our computer recipients.

For more information, click here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 96: Record your family history

Instead of buying expensive gifts, create a family tree to share with your loved ones. Take the opportunity to interview your elders and document your history. It's a gift that will last a lifetime and a great way to learn from those who have been through it all and lived to tell about it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 95: Write a thank you note

Pen a thank you note to a teacher, coach or mentor who made a difference in your life. For bonus points, make it someone whom you haven't contacted in more than 10 years.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 94: Be positive!

"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change your attitude; Don't Complain." - Maya Angelou

Check out A Complaint Free World. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to positively transforming the consciousness of the world.

This is going to be a huge challenge for me personally, but I'd love to see how far I can go.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 93: Register through Wedding Channel

If you're making wedding preparations, weddingchannel.com will contribute 5 percent of each purchase off your registry. Here's how it works:

Just register with any partner store on WeddingChannel.com and select a charity. If you've already registered online or in-store, you can still select a charity to participate.

Participating retailers include Tiffany & Co., Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, JCPenney and Amazon.

Or you can create a charity registry, where your friends and family can donate to your favorite organization as their wedding gift to you. You can select up to four charities and still have a traditional registry as well.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 92: Calculate your ecological footprint

Find out how many planet earths it takes to support your lifestyle at www.earthday.net.

First you create an avatar, which will represent you throughout the quiz.

Answer a few questions, such as how often do you eat meat each week; how many miles you drive per week; your average electricity bill, etc.

After taking my quiz, if every person lived like me, we'd need 5.4 earths to survive.

After pledging to reduce the amount of animal products I eat, buy fewer packaged products and only purchase EnergyStar appliances, my footprint was reduced to 4.4.

To take the quiz, click here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 91: Update your paperwork

This year, as you're getting your finances in order, consider adding your favorite charity a beneficiary of your will, pension plan or retirement fund. It's a matter of deciding what percentage you're comfortable giving and filling out some paperwork.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 90: Check out Grant Gopher

GrantGopher.com is a Web site designed for free, easy access to millions of available grants for nonprofit organizations. Searching for that information can take hours, time that could instead by sent filling out applications and getting money.

There is no software to download, just a search engine that gives you access to an entire database of opporunities. They include everything they can find: corporate, community and private foundations and all levels of government.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 89: Take the 30 Day Challenge

The mission of Spreading Joy Corporation is to aid in restoring hope to those who otherwise would feel there is no use to try and make a difference. It believes many people often forget that "there is no joy like spreading joy," and you never know which gift will make a life changing impact.

You can help by taking the 30 Day Challenge. For the month of April, look for ways you can spread joy each and every day. You can volunteer, let someone ahead of you in line, make a donation or have a no chore-only fun day for your children.

For more ideas on how you can spread joy, click here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 88: Before you buy or sell a home, check here

HomeCash for Charity offers automatic cash rebates on your real estate commissions before you buy or sell a home. Simply register before you hire an agent, hire any agent you like and, after closing, get a check that you can donate to the charity of your choice.

Upon hearing of this program, I immediately went to its FAQ link to get more information. Here's what I found out:

Q. What is HomeCash for Charity?

A. HomeCash for Charity allows Care2 home buyers and sellers to get cash back using any real estate agent — while supporting a favorite cause or charity at the same time. Care2 members can also save on mortgage costs.

Q. How does HomeCash for Charity work?

A. By registering with the program before you agree to hire an agent, you are eligible to receive cash back from real estate commissions after closing. During on-line registration, you decide how much of the rebate you keep or share with your favorite charity. After closing, you get a rebate check and your donation is sent to your non-profit.

Q. Does this mean Care2 is getting in the real estate business?

A. No. Care2 has partnered with Chase and a national real estate company, HomeGift Realty, which helps non-profit organizations around the country to raise funds any time a supporter buys or sells a home.

Q. When did real estate companies start offering cash back on commissions?

A. For years, big-brand, established real estate companies like Coldwell Banker and Prudential have been offering cash rebates to members of trade associations, corporate executives and other affinity groups. Now, Homegift offers these same cash back incentives to members of non-profit organizations as a way of encouraging charitable giving. More about HomeGift Realty, Inc.

Note: There are only 10 states that do not allow rebates: Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 87: Make a pledge

Pledgehammer.com is a site that helps you keep your promises. It makes your pledge public and asks you to decide on a deadline as well as a financial incentive. Should you not succeed on your promise, it encourages you to donate money to a charity of your choice.

Some pledges include:

I pledge that every time I buy something new, I will donate something I already have or I will donate $7.00 each time I don't.

I pledge that I will send a balloon into space to take photographs by Sept. 30, 2011 or I will donate 250.00 GBP to charity.

I pledge to finish reading all the self-help books I've started, quit smoking and lose 30 pounds by Dec. 31, 2009, or I will donate 100.00 USD to charity.

You get the idea. It's fun, easy and an interesting way to hold yourself accountable.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 86: Switch to Nutrish

If you are a dog owner, this is a great opportunity to switch to pet food that uses all natural ingredients, and even better, all proceeds from the sales go to animal rescue.

Here's what Rachael Ray has to say about her creation, Nutrish:

"So I had this awesome idea to work with a team of pet nutrition experts to
create a pet food made with simple, natural ingredients that any furry family member
would love. With Rachael Ray Nutrish, my Isaboo gets all the delicious goodness she
loves to gobble up and all the nutrition I want her to have. Real meat — like chicken or beef — is the first ingredient. There are no fillers. No junk. Just lots of good, wholesome stuff. How cool is that? And you know me. I’m all about giving back, so all of my proceeds from Rachael Ray Nutrish go to charities that take care of animals who have no one else to look out for them."

You can get a free sample of Nutrish by clicking here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 85: Organize a clothing swap

I was flipping through Shape magazine and came across this fantastic tip from Elena Lipson, 33, of Bellingham, WA.

"I help coordinate bimonthly clothing swaps in my community. As our child grows, we're able to give away things that no longer fit, come away with a bag full of clothing for the next size up, and feel a sense of friendship as we connect with other families."

Good for the planet, good for the pocketbook and any unwanted items can be given to charity.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 84: Shake and bake

Participate in Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale, a national effort that encourages Americans to host bake sales to help end childhood hunger. Since 2003, more than 1.3 million people have hosted bake sales, raising nearly $5 million.

The event runs through July 31.

Cllick here for a checklist that provides tips on promoting and recipes for your event.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 83: Donate books

There are many organizations that will take the books off your shelves.

The Community Center is looking for donations of used books to put in its reading area and give out to local residents. Books should be suitable for children and families to enjoy and should be in average condition (no mildew, missing covers or missing pages). Hardcover and paperback are both fine. Books can be dropped off at the Community Center of St Bernard, 1107 LeBeau St, Arabi from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Local libraries often accept used books. Contact yours for details. Some libraries only want very new books. Others will take almost anything and will even clean up dirty books. Some libraries sell donated books in order to raise funds for library services.

You also might check with local hospitals, women's or homeless shelters, children's reading or after-school programs and senior centers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 82: Neighborhood Watch

Create or join a neighborhood watch program. USA on watch is the face of the national neighborhood watch programs. It recommends you follow these five easy steps to register your neighborhood:

1. Recruit and organize as many neighbors as possible.
2. Contact your local law enforcement agency and schedule a meeting.
3. Discuss community concerns and develop an action plan.
4. Hold regular meetings and trainings.
5. Implement a phone tree and take action steps.

Additional information can be found at www.usaonwatch.org

Day 81: Quilt for Kids

This is another wonderful way for those with a special skills set to give back. Quilts for Kids, Inc. transforms discontinued designer fabrics into quilts that comfort children with cancer, AIDS, and other life-threatening illnesses
as well as battered & abused children. Its goal is to link design centers nationwide to their communities, so that children in need in those regions may be served.

More than 40,000 quilts have been distributed worldwide.

In particular, they are looking for 36-inch square NICU quilts or approximately 38" x 45" crib/lap quilts.

Recommended fabrics are 100 percent cotton, regular or flannel. Please do not use polar fleece. The kids love brightly colored, kid-friendly fabrics.

Upon completion, mail quilts to:
Quilts for Kids, Inc.
11 Effingham Road
Yardley, PA. 19067

Please call 215-295-5484 with questions.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day 80: Join a bereavement committee

There's nothing more devastating than losing a loved one. But a great way to help alleviate some of the burdens of the grieving is to help take care of some of the mundane tasks while they're coping. Simply cooking a meal or helping serve their family during services are strong gestures. Perhaps you can take care of their lawn or run errands for them as well. A small gesture goes a long way during difficult times.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 79: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence is a fun opportunity for men to educate and rally the community to take action to prevent sexual violence.

In asking men to publicly stand up, particularly in high heels, and show their commitment to ending violence, their actions will encourage other men to start thinking about how they personally can do their part to end violence.

Tulane University will hold its march April 3.

To volunteer (women) or sign up for the walk (men), please click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 78: Be creative - like Joaquin the Bean!

Three-year-old Joaquin has been diagnosed with epilepsy, and his parents have created this awesome, funny, inspiring Web site to raise money for research and awareness of the disease.

One original idea they had was to take pictures of Joaquin holding signs of popular phrases and sayings. You can't look at this boy and not feel a huge smile spread across your face. And to raise money for their cause, you can send in your favorite saying, and Joaquin will hold the sign and pose just for you!

Another great idea is they've created Joaquin the Bean T-shirts that are available for purchase, featuring a picture of the most punk-rockin' kid around.

I just think this is one of the most creative fundraising sites I've ever seen. It's the perfect example of thinking outside the box. It got me to share the idea with all of you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 77: Clean out your cupboards

Go through your pantry and see if there are items you have stocked that you know you won't use and bring them to your local food bank. Canned items and non-perishables are always welcome contributions.

Some examples:

Peanut Butter
Canned Goods: meats, stews, tuna fish, pork & beans, navy beans, spam, soup
applesauce, peaches, pears, fruit cocktail,
Green beans, corn,pPeas and other vegetables
Dry pasta and Ramen noodles
Dried beans
Powdered milk
Spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, ravioli, beefaroni
Macaroni & cheese and other packaged dinners
100% Juice
Saltine crackers

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 76: Pledge to Dine In to Fight Childhood Hunger

By simply hosting a dinner with your friends and family, you can help make a difference for the more than 12 million American children and their families who don't have access to regular healthy meals.

Pledge to have a dinner with family and friends to talk about childhood hunger and STOUFFER'S® will donate $5.

Click here to make your pledge.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 75: Reach out, give support

This idea comes from Becky, a reader who is founder of www.greatestgiftfoundation.org:

Do a blog search on an illness or difficult event that is close to your heart (i.e. breast cancer, or dying mom, or kidney transplant) and stop by a few blogs written by people who are dealing with those issues. Leave them a comment of support, something simple, like "I found your blog on a search and read a few entries, and just wanted you to know that my heart is going out to you today. I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through, and you will be in my thoughts." Bloggers who are sharing personal stories of tragedy are often doing so to reach out for support, and a few words from a stranger can go SO FAR in making them feel less alone!

And that concludes my first guest entry to this blog. I should also thank my friend, Celeste, who has given me at least a dozen ideas for entries, and Shannon, who reached out with the shopping mall and Soles United ideas, and Dawn (from Nova Scotia!), who clued me in on Earth Day, as well as a few other entries to come. Obviously, I can't get to 365 alone, so your contributions have been greatly appreciated.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 74: Give a compliment

It won't cure cancer or save dolphins or stop coastal erosion, but it could make someone's day. Give a compliment to someone who could use it. Tell someone you appreciate them. Hold a door open. Try to be less of a jerk, whatever. Just be nicer.

Vow to start off with one a day and see how quickly it becomes a habit.

I appreciate you reading this blog!

Day 73: Shop with a purpose

A great way to donate to your favorite local health care institution is to shop online through the Association for Health Care Philanthropy shopping mall, where you can access dozens of store, including Apple, Home Depot, Target, PetSmart and numerous travel outlets, such as Hotwire and Sandals, plus more. A percentage of each purchase you make will go to the health services organization of your choosing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 72: Become a Big Brother/Big Sister

Big Brothers/Big Sisters has been the No. 1 mentoring program for youth for more than 100 years. It is a volunteer-driven organization with a proven track record of success in serving families and kids. In southeastern Louisiana, the goal is to serve 2,000 kids by 2010.

Getting together is a great time for both Bigs and Littles. It doesn’t require a special occasion or expensive activities; just a few hours every month sharing simple things you already enjoy with a young person. Things like shooting hoops, playing a board game, sharing a pizza, taking a walk in the park or just hanging out and talking.

For more information on volunteering, click here.

Day 71: Donate plasma

Plasma is the clear, straw-colored liquid portion of the blood that remains after the removal of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cellular components. It is the single largest component of human blood, comprising about 55 percent, and contains water, salts, enzymes, antibodies and other proteins. Human plasma is the source of proteins and antibodies including albumin, clotting factors, immunoglobulins and fibrinogen, which are used to make therapies that treat life-threatening rare, chronic, and often genetic diseases such as hemophilia, primary immunodeficiencies, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and neurological and autoimmune disorders.

Plasma donors are providing a vital service to patients who suffer from rare, chronic diseases, and the industry that manufactures these life-saving plasma-derived therapies appreciates their commitment to donate.

To find a plasma donation center near you, do a goodsearch for donating plasma and your city.

I've been struggling to find a location in the New Orleans area. I believe this could be Katrina-related. If anyone knows of a local spot, please e-mail me, and I will update this entry. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 70: Shave your head

St. Baldrick's raises awareness and funds to cure children's cancer by supporting research and fellowship. There are three ways to participate:

Be a shavee - register to shave your head and have friends and families donate on your behalf

Be a barber - licensed barbers or cosmetologists can register to volunteer

Organize an event.

To find someone in your area to support, click here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 69: Vote Earth

Save the date of March 28, 2009, at 8:30 p.m. to participate in Earth Hour, where you can cast your vote for or against global warming. Click here for more details.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 68: Help Pampers Support UNICEF

Pampers has teamed with UNICEF to create the "1 Pack = 1 Vaccine" program to get lifesaving tetanus vaccines to newborns. For each pack of specially marked Pampers diapers and wipes that you buy during the promotion period; Pampers donates the cost of one vaccine to UNICEF. In two years of the program, more than 40 million vaccines have been given.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 67: Clip coupons

The Sunday newspaper is a great resource for sale ads. Clip coupons from the circulars and hold on to them. In the weeks before they expire, compare your coupons with free-after-rebate specials from your local drugstore. Walgreens, for example, has a booklet you can pick up every month with several items free after rebate. This is a great way to get things that you need for free or for the price of the tax you paid only, but it's also a great way to collect items (toothbrushes and toiletries are good examples) that you can bring to a local homeless or women's shelter.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 66: Live Organ Donation

Today it’s possible for living donors to provide a kidney, a segment of the liver, even the lobe of a lung or the pancreas.

For more information, visit www.LivingOrganDonor.org.

To read an amazing recount of a living donor journey, that of Becky Waller, who received the world’s first laparoscopic living donor liver resection in 2006 for her brother, Joe Waller, who had Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis check out her Web site www.greatestgiftfoundation.org.

Becky created the non-profit organization to improve the care, knowledge, and support that living organ donors receive throughout their donation experience, from initial consideration through recovery and beyond. They do this by connecting living donors with each other as a community to share their experiences and support, by simplifying the search for the best available resources, and by working with transplant programs to identify and promote the use of best practices in donor care.

To donate organs in the case of your death, simply be sure to indicate it on your driver’s license.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 65: Be a Designated Driver

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the death of my beloved grandmother, who was killed by an impaired driver in an automobie "accident." In honor of her, I ask you to strongly consider being a designated driver.

The following statistics were provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving:

Every year, nearly 13,000 people are killed by drunk drivers with an illegal alcohol level of .08 BAC or above. That means that every month more than 1,000 families must live with the tragic consequences of drunk driving.

So give up the keys or call a cab if you think you've had too many. Thank you.

Day 64: More on the parade front

As I wrote in Day 16: Throw Them Something, Mister, Jimmy's Kids of St. Bernard Parish collects donated beads and Mardi Gras throws. There's another organization that accepts them as well.

ARC of Greater New Orleans, formerly the Association for Retarded Children, provides various services through the metropolitan area, including early intervention, family service, employment and supported living.

Bring your throws to one of the following locations:

925 S. Labarre Road in Metairie
5700 Loyola Avenue in New Orleans
333 Sala Avenue in Westwego

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 63: Go to parade, catch veggies, donate them

This Sunday is the Irish, Italian and Islenos Parade in St. Bernard Parish. Every year pounds upon pounds of potatos, carrots, cabbages, lemons end up on the streets of Judge Perez Drive, simply because, really, how much of that stuff can you store at home?

This year, collect your throws, take what you need and donate the rest to the Community Center of St. Bernard Parish at 1107 LeBeau Street in Arabi. I e-mailed Iray, the executive director, and found out they absolutely will accept and utilize any organic donations they can get.

Please forward this message to anyone you know who is attending the parade. Let's not let all that good food go to waste.

Day 62: Donate breast milk

The National Milk Bank is a nationwide organization that collects donated human milk, ensures milk safety and quality and makes it available for infants in need. Its goal is to make quality human milk to all premature and critically ill babies. Donated breast milk is also helpful to adopted babies or babies whose mother cannot produce enough milk.

For information, call 1-888-522-MILK.

You can apply online here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 61: Offer to babysit for free

Do you know a young couple who are parents of, say, a toddler? You have no idea how much they would appreciate a break. That's charity, right? Says the mother of a toddler, "Heck, yeah, that's charity!"

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day 60: Take a survey

At Make a Difference surveys, $3 will be donated to one of several organizations you can choose from (I picked the Special Olympics). It's one of those surveys where they are looking for your interests and illnesses and whatnot so they can send you the types of junk mail we're trying to avoid, so just use common sense when providing personal information. Overall, a simple task for $3.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 59: Give in gift bags

For special occasions, give presents in gift bags and attach a card so the bag can be reused. For filler in the bag, take your junk mail or used paper or newspaper, run through a shredder, and boom, you have a tissue-paper-esque product!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 58: Recognize MS Awareness Week

I signed up to support a friend's team in the Walk MS. I received the following e-mail with a list of ideas of way to raise awareness for the cause as part of MS Awareness Week next week.

Monday, March 2 - Open House at the MS Society Office at 4613 Fairfield Street in Metairie from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Come learn more about the events, programs and services that the Louisiana Chapter offers.

Wednesday, March 4 - MS Awareness Rally at the Louisiana State Capitol from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. Come out to witness MSAW Presentation, Proclamation and “Try On MS” and let yourself be seen and heard by our local legislators who can help with regulations and funding for MS research.

Wednesday, March 4 - MS Give Back Night at Chili’s. Dine at any Chili’s restaurant in the state and 10 percent of sales brought in will be donated back to the Louisiana Chapter. Click here for link to download the flyer, which must be presented for donation to be received.

Thursday, March 5 - MSAW Presentation, Proclamation and “Try On MS” at New Orleans City Council Meeting from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Constituents invited.

Thursday, March 5 - “Try on MS” at Lakeside Mall in Metairie from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Friday, March 6 - Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs Hockey Team is hosting an MS Night. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. A limited number of free tickets are available while supplies last. For more information about tickets call the Chapter at 504-832-4013 (option 2) or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (800-344-4867).

Saturday, March 7 - Bayou MS Foundation 9th annual MS Health Fair at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. This year’s fair will focus on MS and Family Relationships. The agenda includes presentations on Relationships, Children’s Roundtable Workshop, Stress Management, and YOGA Fest breathing and stretching techniques. Lunch time includes great food, live entertainment and time to visit numerous vendors for information and resources. A silent auction will take place as well as “Try On MS”, adding more excitement to the day's event.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 57: Give a little, get a little

March 2 through March 8, Ann Taylor LOFT and Goodwill Industries invite you to donate your gently worn pants. In return, you'll receive $15 off a new pair.

To locate a store near you, click here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 56: In lieu of sending flowers, plant a tree

Every time I've lost a loved one, the funeral home has been flooded with flowers and plants from well-wishers. The flowers die quickly; the plants are a nicer thought because they last so long.

Taking that one step further, in lieu of flowers, why not consider planting a tree in honor of the deceased and sending a card that states your intention? It's a gift that will last beyond our lifetime.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 55: Walk for a cure

Walk MS - Step by Step Closer to a Cure will be held April 4 at Audubon Park. Registration is free to participate, or you can become a "Virtual Walker," where you can raise funds online.

For more information, click here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 54: Open a new e-mail account

For every email you send, Care2 donates to the Environment and other good causes!

You can choose from the following domain names:

This web-based service is free and comes with 5 GB of storage, spam filtering, spell checkers in 12 languages, a secure login option and more.

Five percent of all revenue generated by the Care2 service will be donated to charity. You can also send free E-cards (including musical ones!), and you can schedule cards months in advance so that you never forget an important occasion.

Click here to sign up.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 53: Add your cause to your e-mail signature

An easy way to point others toward causes you're interested in is to post your cause's Web site in your e-mail signature.

For example:

"Your Name Here

I GoodSearch for (insert charity here).

Raise money for your favorite charity or school just by searching the Internet with GoodSearch - www.goodsearch.com - powered by Yahoo!"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 52: Create a petition

Passionate about something? Want to make a difference? Make a petition at The Petition Site. If you're not feeling particularly inspired, search the site for petitions to sign, such as this one, to forgive student loans, or this one, to help feed hungry children.

Day 51: Let Subway support your school

This technically is a free way to give back only if you're a frequent Subway customer. But if you are, here's an easy way to support your school.

1. Purchase a Subway card for $5, $10, $50, however much you typically spend there in a week or month.

2. Add your school code when you register your code.

3. Use your card and earn points for your school.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 50: Donate season tickets

If you're lucky enough to have season tickets to a sports team, concert series or the performing arts, and you know you can't make a particular date, donate the tickets to a local youth group. Imagine the smile on a young kid's face who gets the opportunity to see live entertainment like that for the first time!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 49: Send an S.O.S.

Every year, Dress for Success issues an S.O.S. to all women nationwide: Donate one new or nearly-new business suit to help another woman enter the workforce!

By dropping off your suit donations at any dressbarn store across the U.S. during S.O.S. - Send One Suit - Weekend, you are giving a disadvantaged woman the confidence to take the first step towards economic independence.

Dressbarn, one of America's premier specialty retailers of women's casual and career fashions, has been the national drop-off site and title sponsor of the Send One Suit efforts for seven years. To date, more than 200,000 suits have been donated by consumers through dressbarn during this national campaign.

The Style Network has supported the Send One Suit efforts as a title sponsor for the past four years.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 48: Create a gift bag for a homeless person

Every day I pass a homeless woman at the corner of Elysian Fields and Claiborne avenues. I've been thinking of what I could put together for her the next time I pass. Here are a few of the things I've come up with:

Any free T-shirts I've picked up either from Hornets games or casinos.
Bottles of water
Bars of soap
New toothbrush and toothpaste
Shampoo and conditioner
Fruit bars or other portable snacks

I'm going to put it all in a gift bag and drop it off today.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 47: Freecycle

Here's how freecycling defines itself: The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,681 groups with 6,432,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free.

There are 7,655 active members in the New Orleans group.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 46: Thank a serviceman

Operation Homefront is an organization driven by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to create a resource library "dedicated to the service men and women from the Land of Lincoln, their families, and the citizens and organizations that support them."

Through this organization, you can e-mail our troops to thank them for their service to our great nation. Click here for the link.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 45: Be someone's unexpected Valentine

Valentine's Day is such a hard day for so many people, especially those who have lost a spouse. Pick up the phone and give someone like that a call, just to talk. Take a second to think of the people in your life who have struggled in the past few years with the death of a spouse. Or perhaps you have a friend who had a really bad breakup. A lonely neighbor. A little phone call can go a long way to lift someone's spirits.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Day 44: Social vibe

Social Vibe provides a free, simple way for you to get corporate sponsorship for a cause dear to you simply by placing an ad widge on your person web pages, including myspace, facebook, blogger and others. Setup only took me about 5 minutes, and you can see the result in the bottom left of this page.

There are three easy steps after signing up.

1. Select your cause (health, education, animals, peace and human rights, arts and culture). I chose the Children's Miracle Network.

2. Select the advertiser you want to feature. (I chose apple. There were many popular brands: Nike, Ed Hardy, Sprint, Colgate etc.)

3. Earn points for donations to charity.

Then copy the html code and put it on your page. Done and done.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 43: Donate hotel toiletries

If you plan to travel this year, collect any unused hotel toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, shower caps) in your room and donate them to your favorite shelter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 42: Send an e-card mammogram reminder

Every woman older than 40 should have an annual mammogram, according Many times, early stage cancers can only be found via mammograms.The Center for Disease Control has created an e-card you can send to the women you love to remind them to get their annual exam.

Click here to get started.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 41: Support a loved one in his or her attempt to quit smoking

If there's someone in your life who is trying to quit smoking, the American Cancer Society has provided the following list of ways you can help support them.

Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.

Do ask the person whether he or she wants you to call or visit regularly to see how he or she is doing. Let the person know that it's okay to call you whenever he or she needs to hear encouraging words.

Do help the quitter get what she or he needs, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept cold in the refrigerator.

Do spend time doing things with the quitter to keep his or her mind off smoking -- go to the movies, take a walk to get past a craving (what many call a "nicotine fit"), or take a bike ride together.

Do try to see it from the smoker's point of view -- a smoker's habit may feel like a cherished friend that has always been there when times were tough. It's hard to give that up.

Do help the quitter with a few chores, some child care, cooking -- whatever will help lighten the stress of quitting.

Do celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL!

Don't judge, nag, preach, or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You don't want your friend to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings.

Don't take the quitter's grumpiness personally during his or her nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms usually pass in about 2 weeks.

Don't offer advice. Just ask how you can help with the plan or program they are using.

If your ex-smoker "slips"

Don't assume that he or she will start back smoking like before. A "slip" (taking a puff or smoking a cigarette or two) is pretty common when a person is quitting.

Do remind the quitter how long he or she went without a cigarette before the slip.

Do help the quitter remember all the reasons he or she wanted to quit, and forget about the slip as soon as possible.

Don't scold, nag, or make the quitter feel guilty. Be sure the quitter knows that you care about him or her whether or not he or she smokes.

If your quitter relapses

Research shows that most people try to quit smoking 5 to 7 times before they succeed. (It's called a relapse when smokers go back to smoking like they were before they tried to quit.) If a relapse happens, think of it as practice for the time he or she will succeed. Don't give up your efforts to encourage and support your loved one. If the person you care about fails to quit or starts back smoking:

Do praise him or her for trying to quit, and for whatever length of time (days, weeks, or months) of not smoking.

Do encourage him or her to try again. Don't say, "If you try again..." Say, "When you try again..." Studies show that most people who don't succeed in quitting are ready to try again in the near future.

Do encourage him or her to learn from the attempt. Things a person learns from a failed attempt to quit may help him or her quit for good next time. It takes time and skills to learn to be a non-smoker.

Do say, "It's normal to not succeed the first time you try to quit. Most people understand this, and know that they have to try to quit again. You didn't smoke for two whole weeks this time. You got through the worst part. Now you know you can do that much. Now that you know you can get through the worst part, you can get even further next time."

If you are a smoker

Do smoke outside and always away from the quitter.

Do keep your cigarettes, lighters, and matches out of sight. They might be triggers for your loved one to smoke.

Don't ever offer the quitter a smoke, even as a joke!

Do join your loved one in his or her effort to quit. It's better for your health and might be easier to do with someone else that is trying to quit, too!

Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345) to find out what resources might be available to you for your quit attempt.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 40: Reduce junk mail

Junk mail is advertising that arrives in your mailbox along with the mail you really want or need. It's impossible to eliminate all of it, but you can substantially reduce the amount you receive.

Register with the Direct Marketing Association online. You must re-register every three years.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 39: Locks of Love

Locks of Love provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

In order to donate, hair must be 10 inches long and put in a ponytail before it's cut. Hair must be dried before it's turned in. Place the hair in a plastic bag inside a padded envelope and mail to:

Locks of Love
234 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Man stylists will even offer you a free haircut if you tell them you're donating. Just ask.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 38: More on the grocery front

Winn-Dixie will donate $1 million to Community Pals in Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

And you can make sure that money gets spent in our area by going to www.ccstb.org and click on the "Buy Groceries at Winn-Dixie" link. Print out the bar-code coupon and have the cashier scan it when you make your purchase and the store will make a donation to the Community Center of St. Bernard Parish.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 37: Sell on eBay

If you sell on eBay, you can donate 10 percent to 100 percent of the final sale price to one of more than 1,000 nonprofits. Furthermore, eBay rewards your generosity by offering a fee credit. When you create a listing with eBay Giving Works and that item sells, eBay will credit the insertion and final value fees back to you, equal to the percentage of the final sale price that you elected to donate. You also will receive a tax-deductible receipt for your donation.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 36: Wear red tomorrow

Did you know heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America? Tomorrow, Feb. 6, is Wear Red Day to raise awareness for the American Heart Association.

And check out this Web site, which offers heart-healthy recipes, the questions you should ask your doctor and a free 12-week fitness plan to help you take better care of your heart.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 35: Donate cleaning supplies

The New Orleans Women's Shelter, a privately funded grassroots, non-profit offering shelter and case management to homeless women and children in new Orleans, is in need of donations. Planned Parenthood is helping to gether donations. Perhaps you could ask your loved one to send some supplies their way in lieu of Valentine's flowers or candy this year.

Donations can be brought to 4018 Magazine Street in New Orleans.

They are most in need of cleaning supplies (tall trash bags, laundry detergent, bleach, liquid hand soap, dishwasher detergent, Pine Sol).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 34: Donate your computer's idle time

This one is way over my head, so I'll give you the details and you can check it out for yourself. But, apparently, you can donate your computer's idle time to scientists, who use it to "cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars" and conduct other types of research. This is called volunteer computing.

The grid computing software only uses idle CPU cycles, and when your computer needs more processor cycles, the software automatically turns those resources back over to the program you are using. It starts automatically when you open your computer and runs quietly in the background. You just download the software, install it and forget it. You can use grid computing applications on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Click here to link to Berkeley's volunteer computing site, boinc.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 33: Hug and kiss

Are you a hugger or a kisser? Cast your vote and Nivea will donate $1 to the Make It Right Foundation, which rebuilds houses that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Even better, if you can manage to land a guest appearance on "Ellen" before Feb. 13 and give her a hug or kiss, Nivea will donate $1,000 to the cause.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 32: Drop off paint and e-waste

Bring your old paint and electronic waste to the Arabella Station Whole Foods Market between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month. Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products.

My contribution: I'll make my first drop this Saturday. I have lots of leftover paint that's just cluttering the shed because I didn't know what to do with it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 31: Shop online

This one couldn't be easier.

1. Go to www.goodshop.com.
2. Choose your charity.
3. Shop online at more than 700 retailers worldwide.
4. Goodshop donates as much as 30 percent of your purchase to your charity.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 30: Wedding favors

Wedding expenses seem to keep on escalating. Rather than spending hours and hours compiling favors that ultimately will end up left on the table, put in the trash or cluttering a shelf, consider making a donation to your favorite charity in the name of your guests. It's something everyone can feel good about, and you won't have to worry about what to do with all those leftover matches.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29: Donate cord blood

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, with a little bit of planning, you could change someone’s life: You could donate your baby’s umbilical cord blood to a public bank at no cost to you. Umbilical cord blood is rich with blood-forming cells, which are no longer needed by your baby after delivery. But these cells may be needed by someone else — someone with leukemia or lymphoma who needs a transplant to survive.

Before your 34th week of pregnancy, talk to your doctor to find out if your hospital accepts donated cord blood. Then contact the public cord blood bank that works with your hospital. The cord blood bank will confirm if you are eligible to donate and give you a consent form and health questionnaire to complete.

After your baby is delivered the umbilical cord is clamped and blood from the umbilical cord and placenta is collected into a sterile bag, given an identification number and stored temporarily. This collected blood is called a cord blood unit. After testing, the blood is sent to the cord bank.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28: Go grocery shopping

If Ralph's is one of your neighborhood grocery stores, you can sign up to raise money for the Violence Intervention Program.

If you have a Ralph's Club Card and use it when you shop, you can also earn money for VIP.

To register your card, please visit the Ralphs Community Contributions website.

You will be prompted to enter VIP's NPO number, which is 82170

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 27: Online volunteering

This is one of the most fascinating ways to volunteer I've come across yet. UN Volunteering online offers ways for you to "share you skills, knowledge and ideas - from a computer anywhere in the world."

Simply choose a task that matches your skills (research, translation, project development and management, writing and editing, design, IT development, training and coaching, coordination and facilitation, consulting).

Focus on a specific development topic (education, income generation and employment, youth, governance and human rights, health, environment, culture, gender, among others).

Then select a region in the world.

My contribution: I registered online, it took less than a minute. They'll send you a confirmation e-mail and then you can set up a profile that matches your interests with their opportunities. I'm very interested to see where this one leads me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 26: Chat

If you use instant messanging devices, Windows Live Messenger i'm donates to the organization you support with every instant message you send. Download and install the latest version type the text code of the organization you choose on your display name.

You can instantly invite friends from Hotmail, Facebook and other social networks to join you. The more who join and start IMing and e-mailing, the more Microsoft give.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 25: Recycle ink cartridges

Recycling printer cartridges will reduce the plastic put into landfills. Most cartridges can be recycled up to six times and are guaranteed by most manufacturers to work as well as brand-new ones.

Laser-Tone International, (800) EARTH-58, will pick up and deliver back to you, for free, laser and ink jet printer cartridges and other office products you wish to recycle and reuse.

Eco-Office recycles and purchases used cartridges. They will provide lists of companies in your area that will purchase used cartridge, as well as companies that will provide remanufactured ones.

My contribution: I've got one to dispose of that I'll bring to my local community center so they can cash it in.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 24: Donate blood

January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, a time to highlight the importance of giving life through the donation of blood and to honor past and present donors and encourage new ones. Only 3 out of every 100 Americans are blood donors.

There are several organizations you can reach to donate.

Your local chapter of the American Red Cross is one. Another is United Blood Services, which offers a reward program for donors. By donating blood once a year, you will receive a personalized blood donor card, cholesterol results, access to online scheduling and a personalized thank you from a donation recipient. You also gain access to the donor rewards store, where the more you donate, the more gifts you will receive in the form of gift cards or movie tickets.

My contribution: I scheduled an appointment through UBS but was unable to give because I was anemic. I plan to take iron supplements and try again next month.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 23: Throw some rice their way

Test and your knowledge and challenge your friends with a fun game that supports a great cause, http://www.freerice.com/index.php. Funded by the UN World Food Program, 20 grains of rice are donated for every question you answer correctly to help end world hunger.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 22: Get credit

IF you're in the market for a new credit card (DISCLAIMER: Credit cards are evil. Totally not encouraging anyone to get more credit, this is purely if you were looking for a new card), consider the Make-A-Wish Platinum Visa.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® will receive .65 percent of all net purchases and a minimum of $2 per open and activated account.

My contribution: I needed a new card, applied and received immediate approval. The card is backed by Bank of America and also is eligible for other rewards programs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 21: Point and click

One site, six ways to give. Go to http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces. At the top there will be tabs for the following causes: hunger, breast cancer, child health, literacy, rainforest and animal rescue.

Click on hunger, you give 1.1 cups of food to the needy.

Click on breast cancer, you help one woman in need get a mammogram.

Click on child health, you help one child in need receive health care.

Click on literacy, you help a child in need achieve literacy.

Click on rainforest, you help protect 11.4 square feet of rainforests.

Click on animal rescue, you give .6 cups of food to rescued animals.

You also can sign up for a daily reminder to go to the site and click. For signing up, you will receive a Seek Peace silicon bracelet and give two extra cups of food to the needy.

You can also send free e-cards to your family and friends, encouraging them to point and click for some good causes.

My contribution: I signed up for daily reminders. Turns out you have to pay for shipping to get the bracelet.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20: Write to the president

Today, Inauguration Day, sign a petition to President Obama making child survival a priority of the new administration as part of UNICEF's Believe in Zero campaign. The organization says every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes, malnutrition, poisoning by unclean water, malaria and measles.

My contribution: I signed the petition. which requested my name, address and e-mail, and received the following response:

Thank you again for adding your name to our petition for a Presidential Initiative to Accelerate Child Survival, calling on President-elect Obama to scale up the coordinated, high-impact interventions that are proven to save child lives in even the poorest communities.
Your support brings us another step closer to a day when no child dies from a preventable cause.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19: Vow against violence

Deepak Chopra, president and founder of the Alliance For A New Humanity, was on "Ellen" on Jan. 12, where he urged viewers to take a vow for non-violence in their thoughts, speech and actions. To join his global movement, click here.

My contribution: I took the vow and got this short but sweet response:

Thank you for taking the vow.

Please forward this message to two friends:

I took the vow

Will you?


Easy enough.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 18: Donate frequent-flyer miles

I dream of one day being a frequent flyer. But if you have leftover miles that otherwise would go unused, donate them to the Fisher House Foundation. This organization provides free airline tickets to military men and women who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center incident to their service in Iraq or Afghanistan, and their families.

There are two categories of eligible recipients:

Service men and women with an approved leave of five or more days may be given a free round trip airline ticket for a trip from the medical center to their home and return if they are not eligible for government funded airfare.

Qualifying service men and women may be given free round trip airline tickets to enable their family or close friends to visit them while they are being treated at the medical center.

The following airlines have partnered with the group: AirTran, Alaska, American, Continental, Frontier, Midwest, Northwest, United and US.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 17: Donate a wedding gown

If you were married between 2000 and now, you can donate your wedding gown to Making Memories as part of Brides Against Breast Cancer Nationwide Tour of Gowns sale. This sale enables the organization to grant final wishes for women and men suffering from terminal breast cancer.

Mail your gown to:

Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation
2553 NW Division Street
Gresham, OR 97030

Bridal shops or manufacturers wishing to make a donation can send an e-mail to mminfo@makingmemories.org.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 16: Throw them something, Mister!

Jimmy's Kids, a group for mentally challenged kids and adults, will ride in the Knights of Nemesis parade Feb. 15 and the St. Bernard Irish/Italian/Islenos parade March 8, and they are looking for donations of beads, cups, doubloons and other throws.

If you didn't save beads from last year, just keep them in mind as you lug your goodies back this year.

Donations can be dropped off here:
Jimmy's Kids Of St. Bernard Parish
1201 Camille Place
Chalmette, LA 70043

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15: Go corporate

If you work for a corporation that would be interested in coupling its hurricane relief efforts with global recognition for its contribution, this is an outstanding opportunity. MTV is coming to St. Bernard, and there's still time for local and national companies to get involved.

Here's the deal: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Inauguration Day, the St. Bernard Project will hold a 24-hour build that will show the world the enduring need for help rebuilding homes even three years after Hurricane Katrina. MTV, as part of its inauguration coverage, will feature the final hour and a half of the build live on the air. It will be broadcast in 162 countries and 33 languages.

The sponsorship levels for the "Rebuild the Dream" event are as follows:

Title sponsor: $12,000 (Supports the complete rebuilding cost of one house)
-Your corporate logo and a link to your website on the front page of the St. Bernard Project website.
-Your name in the credits of the MTV inaugural show, shown internationally.
-A banner with your corporate logo and "welcome home" message to the family hung prominently in the home that will be featured on MTV.
-Recognition on the St. Bernard Project website as the sole house sponsor for the family whose home will be featured on MTV.

MLK Volunteer End-of-Day Dinner: $8,000 (Supports half of the rebuilding costs for a family whose home was devastated by Katrina and supports food for volunteer rebuilders)
-Your corporate logo and a link to your website on the front page of the St. Bernard Project Website.
-A banner with your logo displayed prominently at the dinner, which will be attended by volunteers from across America, and by local government, faith-based and civic leaders.
-Your name in the credits of the MTV inaugural show, shown internationally.

Shift Sponsor: $3,000 (4 six-hour shifts and 1 MLK day 8 hour shift available)
-Your corporate logo and a link to your website on the "Rebuild the Dream" page of the St. Bernard Project website.
-Your name in the credits of the MTV inaugural show, shown internationally.

Dream Builder (corporate): $1,000
-Your corporate logo and a link to your website on the "Rebuild the Dream" page of the St. Bernard Project website.

Dream Builder (individual): $100, $250, $500 or $1,000
-Your name, or the name of someone you wish to honor, listed on the "Rebuild the Dream" page of the St. Bernard Project website.

Below you will see the work schedule for "Rebuild the Dream." If you have any questions about the event, please don't hesitate to contact our development coordinator, Gretchen, at 504-723-6837.

Work Schedule

Monday, January 19, 2009 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

8:30-4:30 Normal work hours celebrating the service of Martin Luther King, Jr.
5:30-7:30 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Volunteer Dinner
10:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m. First shift of "Rebuild the Dream"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 (Inauguration Day)

4:00 a.m - 10:00 a.m. Second shift of "Rebuild the Dream"
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Third shift of "Rebuild the Dream"
4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Final shift of "Rebuild the Dream"
9:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Live Coverage on MTV

With your help, SBP can achieve two vital goals: We can honor past and future service to America and we can rebuild homes for hard-working, tax-paying American citizens.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14: The gift of music

If you have or know someone who has a musical instrument that's no longer in use, donate it to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. Electronic accessories (microphones, amplifiers, etc.) also are in high demand.

1321 Lowerline Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118

P.S. Dr. John has informed the group about a third-grade class with no instruments that he would love to get set up with percussion.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 13: Paper or plastic?

The next time your local grocer asks for your choice, answer "neither," because you've brought your own canvas bag. Besides being good for the environment by reducing our dependence on petrochemicals and helping prevent litter, which can end up as debris in our waterways or suffocate animals, you can fit four times as much in one bag!

My contribution: I try to bring my reusable bags to the grocery every time I have purchases of 12 items or less. It also saves me on trip after trip to unload the trunk.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12: Donate out-of-prescription eyeglasses

Prescription eyeglasses can cost hundreds of dollars, but Lions Club can recycle them for as little as 8 cents per pair. Bring your out-of-date prescription eyeglasses or non-prescription sunglasses to Goodwill Industries stores, LensCrafters or your local Lions Club and help the less fortunate see the world.

You can mail them to:
New Eyes for the Needy
549 Millburn Avenue
P.O. Box 332
Short Hills, NJ 07078

You also can check with the lost and found department of your employers, doctor's offices, stores etc. and ask for unclaimed pairs to donate as well.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 11: Change for good

Do you throw away pennies? Seriously, I know people who do. Instead, collect the copper and dump it into your local Coinstar machine, then press donate. A list of non-profits will appear. Coinstar machines are located at all Winn-Dixies and select CVS pharmacies. Check here for locations.

My contribution: $9.70 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I had to travel to three Winn-Dixies in three parishes (St. Bernard, Jefferson and finally St. Tammany) before finding a Coinstar machine that worked. But I really was surprised that one small Mardi Gras cup full of pennies added up to almost $10.

Day 10: Save your box tops

Check your pantry for products with the Box Tops 4 Education bar code. Clip the coupon (each is worth $.10) and send them to your school.

Schools can use the money at their discretion (new computers, playground equipment or field trips, for example).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 9: Be a Lifesaver

CPR and first-aid classes can be time-consuming and expensive. But at www.firstaidweb.com, you can take online courses at your convenience that prepare you to help others in an emergency.

According to the site: "Each of our step-by-step CPR and First Aid lessons are thoroughly explained with minimal technical jargon and include a helpful quick review section. A brief quiz will recap everything you learned and will give you the confidence you'll need to take appropriate course of action should an emergency arise."

Certificates can be obtained for a fee.

My contribution: The course took me 25 minutes. I learned the difference between admininstering adult, child and infant CPR. Good stuff.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8: Got Crocs?

SolesUnited collects worn-out Crocs shoes and recycles them into new footwear for the less fortunate.

Click here to find a dropoff location near you.

In the New Orleans metro area, you can bring them to Dillards at Oakwood, Lakeside or Esplanade, Journeys at Oakwood or Esplanade, or Haase Shoe Store on Oak Street.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 7: Consider organ donation

After watching a very, very good movie that I don't want to name and spoil for you, it reminded me what a difference organ donation can make.

Each organ and tissue donor saves or improves the lives of as many as 50 people. And registering is simple. Click here.

1. Register with your state.
2. Designate your decision on your driver's license.
3. Sign your temporary donor card in the meantime.
4. Discuss your plans with your family so your request can be met in case of emergency.

My contribution: I've been signed up to donate since 1997, with fingers crossed that they won't be given away anytime soon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 6: Sign up for wireless AMBER alerts

Help locate missing children by signing up for wireless AMBER alerts.

The AMBER Alert system was created in memory of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas, who was abducted while riding her bicycle and later found murdered. AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alerts are emergency messages broadcast when a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. The broadcasts include information about the child and the abductor, including physical descriptions and information about the abductor's vehicle, which could lead to the child's recovery.

Click "here or text the word AMBER, followed by a space and your five-digit zip code to 26237.

My contribution: When I entered my cell number on the site, it first sent me to verizonwireless and then back to the home page with the following response: The Telephone Number xxx-xxx-xxxx is not a valid wireless number or your carrier is not participating in the program. But the text message worked. I received this response: You've successfully set up an AMBER alert. To cancel this subscription, respond with your zip code + quit. Took less than a minute for the whole process.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 5: Donate a Christmas tree, help save our wetlands

It's the 12th day of Christmas and time to take down your Christmas tree. (Boo!) But don't just stick them in the trash can.

In Orleans Parish, between Jan. 5-8, place live trees curbside (free of ornaments, stands, tinsel and lights). Volunteers will collect trees and ship them to to Bayou Sauvage, where they will be submerged along the coastline, creating new wetland habitats.

Collection in Jefferson Parish will take place Jan. 8-10.

St. Bernard Parish will pick up Monday, Jan. 12.

Flocked and artificial trees will not be collected.

The project is funded by the Louisiana State Department of Natural Resources.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 4: Use a charitable search engine

Helping your favorite organization is as easy as doing a web search. Just go to www.goodsearch.com. There you can pick from thousands of organizations or even add your personal favorite. The site is powered by Yahoo. Fifty percent of the revenue generated from advertisers is shared with the charity, school or nonprofit organization of your choice.

Taking it a step further, you can download the search engine to your Internet Explorer, Firefox or Mac toolbar.

My contribution: I downloaded the toolbar software. It takes up minimal space at the top of the browser. There's a tab for your search entry, a My Charity tab, where it saves the organization I chose (St. Bernard Project), followed by the clear selection option, highlight option and the popup blocker at the end. I also set it as my home page on my office computer.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 3: Mobile phone recycling

If you're like me, every 2 years when your cellular contract is up, you take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade your phone. I used to save mine for my children to laugh at one day, but these days I save as little as possible.

But rather than throwing away electronic equipment, there are hundreds of charitable organizations that refurbish or recycle them. And http://www.collectivegood.com/ is a good place to start.

From this site you can choose to send your phones to a number of charities, be it animal, children, domestic, international or medical, among others. Many organizations will even pay your shipping fees. Tax-deductible receipts also are available.

My contribution: I know I have two phones, and will collect more from my immediate family this week, before sending them to Center For Domestic Violence Prevention.

Day 2: Pound For Pound Challenge

"The Biggest Loser" is my reality show indulgence. The show has teamed up with Feeding America to donate 10 center of food for every pound you lose. Just register and report your results between April Fool's Day and Cinco de Mayo 2009.

If weight loss was part of your resolution, this is a great way to stay motivated and feel even better about your efforts.

My contribution: I pledged 20 pounds. To register: http://www.pfpchallenge.com/

Or, if you're not planning to lose weight, but still want to contribute, look for specially marked packages of General Mills products, including Cheerios®, Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ and Yoplait yogurt, and mail the seals to:

Pound For Pound Challenge
P.O. Box 400013
El Paso, TX, 88540-0013

Be sure to include your return address on the envelope. Feeding America uses that information to donate to food banks in your area.

For every Pound For Pound Seal and/or Lid received by December 31, 2009, General Mills will donate 10¢ to Feeding America™ up to a $275,000 maximum donation.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 1: Used gift card donations

The Salvation Army Miss. Gulf Coast Command collects used and unused gift cards to redeem them for cash to help those in need.

My contribution: After finding a Macy's gift card that expired in 2006 and is of no use to nobody, I found a Smoothie King gift card and four Home Depot gift cards. After making a few phone calls and visiting a few stores, I found $22.62 worth of donations. Here's the breakdown:

Babies R Us: $2.47
Kmart: $3.25
Home Depot Card 1: $7.66
Home Depot Card 2: $1.49
Blockbuster: $5.00
Smoothie King: $2.75

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