Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 31: Shop online

This one couldn't be easier.

1. Go to
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, 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 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

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, 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 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 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:

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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