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 - - 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 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.