The Accidental Activist

Making a Difference on a Tight Budget and Busy Schedule

Blessings for Babies July 1, 2016

Filed under: Make a Difference — The Accidental Activist @ 12:09 pm
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Last week, my state experienced devastating flooding.  Several towns in three counties were impacted and 23 lost their lives.  It’s been one of those weeks when you wish you weren’t working so you could help those who have lost everything.  This week, however, I ended up working several 12 hour days.

An event like this brings out the best and the worst in people.  The news has reported on several people taking advantage of the generosity of those trying to help.  But I’m so blessed to know several who are stepping up and assisting the most vulnerable.  One of the ladies from my church drove up to one of the cities destroyed by flood waters.  So many things are needed at this time, but she realized, as a mother of young children, that baby food and powered formula was in short supply.  Our church was able to collect some of these items during the course of the week, and she’ll be delivering the items this weekend.  I’m so blessed to know people who see a need and take charge to meet that need.  I love my church family!baby food

 

Life-Changing Loans March 2, 2016

Filed under: Make a Difference — The Accidental Activist @ 10:50 am
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Can a $25 loan change someone’s life?  Well, maybe not $25 on its own.  But when you have several loans totaling a few hundred dollars, it can change a life.

A few months ago, I stumbled across Kiva on Twitter.  Kiva is “a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.”

As I was scrolling through the potential borrowers on Kiva, one particular woman, Maria, caught my eye.  Maria is an elderly woman from El Salvador.  According to Kiva, “People 60 years old and older in El Salvador have limited access to credit, even when fully physically and mentally capable of working. The reason is insurance companies don’t cover people who are over 65 and require them to show a health certificate if they are over 60. This potential for health expenses makes financial institutions less willing to take on the risk of the loan. By funding this loan, you are helping elderly people access opportunities in El Salvador.”

Maria’s story appealed to me.  “María lives in her own house with her daughter and three grandchildren. She has lived there for four years. One of her sons who is independent helps her economically, but she is a fighter who likes to work so she can cover household expenses that arise. For this reason, five years ago she decided to start a sale of drinks and snacks. Because of her experience, she has not had difficulties.

She has asked for a loan to be able to purchase juices, sodas, water, flour, tomatoes, condiments, snacks, etc to be able to increase her inventory. She will continue to prepare and sell snacks such as fried yucca, cakes and others. Maria hopes to take advantage of the Christmas celebrations and New Years in order to increase her sales as well as her income. Her dream is to continue working, pay off her loan and help her family to have daily support.”

I and many others fully funded Maria’s loan request.  And she has already made her first repayment!  She is scheduled to repay her loan to me over six months.  Once it has been repaid, I will look for another loan request on which to contribute.

If you haven’t heard of Kiva, check them out. What an amazing service!

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. ~ Proverbs 19:17

UPDATE:  My loan has been totally repaid.  6/20/16

 

 

Fund Sourcing February 12, 2016

Filed under: Make a Difference — The Accidental Activist @ 9:52 am
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A six-year-old girl named Addison died unexpectedly this week.  I didn’t know her or her parents.  But I saw her story on Facebook and information about the GoFundMe account that friends created to help with this child’s funeral expenses.  I can’t imagine losing my baby, and then dealing with the added financial stress of a funeral and burial.  The last time I checked, over $7,000 had been raised.  I contributed to the account thinking my donation might provide some small amount of relief during this time of devastation.

I have donated to other GoFundMe accounts in the past.  Some were for life-and-death situations.  Others, not so much.  One was for a daughter’s friend to attend a cheerleading event!  But regardless of the reason for the account, I contributed to them because I felt strongly about the cause.

GoFundMe is an online fundraising site where you can set a financial goal and then share to social media sites asking for donations from friends and family.  It’s free to create your GoFundMe account; however, a fee is deducted from each donation received.

If you’ve been on the GoFundMe site, you may have noticed there are some ventures that are definitely WANTS and not NEEDS.  A few of my favorites:  buy me a car; bail me out of jail; pay for my vacation; fund my wedding.  The lack of responsibility in these requests are an abuse to the crowd funding concept, in my opinion.

GoFundMe is a convenient way to help those in need with a few mouse clicks and a couple of minutes. Have you contributed to a GoFundMe account before?  Will you do so again?

 

money

 

Holiday Cheer January 6, 2016

Filed under: Make a Difference — The Accidental Activist @ 8:18 am
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Every year, I usually buy Christmas for a child or help someone going through a hard time.  This year, we decided to do something different.  I say “we” because my daughter, Audrey, was in on the festivities this year.  She has a soft spot for our elderly friends, so we decided to adopt a nursing home.  After emailing back and forth, the administrators at the nursing facility provided us a shopping list for several nursing home residents whose families couldn’t afford to help much or had no families at all.

We were able to purchase nightgowns, sweaters, and slippers on our budget.  The administrators at the facility were thrilled with our purchases and I hope the residents enjoy them.  We were invited to their annual Christmas party, but it was during the workday so we were unable to attend.

It was our pleasure to adopt the nursing home.  I sincerely hope we are able to again in the future.

Leviticus 19:32
“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.”

 

Lobbying Lawmakers April 1, 2015

Filed under: Make a Difference — The Accidental Activist @ 12:25 pm
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ohio-statehouse-630x400Most people don’t realize they have the ability to make a difference in their local and national laws.  They think voting is the only way their voices can be heard.  In actuality, everyone can effect legislation by speaking with lawmakers about the matters that are important to them.  Lobbying isn’t just for industry representatives; it’s something anyone can do. In fact, few things impress lawmakers more than citizens willing to pay them a personal visit.

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking with my state representative and state senator on behalf of the American Cancer Society.  In Ohio, the governor has proposed a budget that would raise the cigarette tax this year.  The Buckeye state ranks 8th in the number of smokers and 37th in cessation programs.  This raise in taxes will hopefully deter new smokers from starting and prompt current smokers to stop.  Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer among men and women in Ohio.

To aid in this effort, I and other volunteers visited our lawmakers to encourage them to support the Governor’s proposed budget.  This message has a powerful impact when it comes from constituents in the legislators’ districts.  Letter-writing campaigns or emails can also be effective.  Congress Merge has some great tips on communicating with your national representatives.

What are the causes that have legislation pending that you could influence?

“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

 

Benefit for Babies March 24, 2015

Filed under: Make a Difference — The Accidental Activist @ 10:11 am
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Seventy-five of every thousand babies born at our largest local hospital have been exposed to drugs or alcohol, a staggering figure that trumps the national average of five per one thousand.  To assist drug-addicted babies, Lily’s Place was opened last year in my town to help these infants and their caregivers.  The mission of Lily’s Place is to provide “behavioral health to infants suffering from prenatal drug exposure and offers education and support services to families and communities to help recognize and manage the needs of substance abused babies. In its efforts to provide immediate, short-term care for these infants, Lily’s Place provides non-judgmental support for mothers, offers counseling and support for families, all at a savings to the taxpayers.”

When my 16-year-old daughter, Audrey, told me she needed community service hours for one of her classes at school, I immediately thought a baby shower for Lily’s Place would be fun for her AND a fantastic way to provide assistance to Lily’s Place.  We picked a date, sent invitations, and planned the menu.  My cousin, a cake decorator on the side, donated the cake.  We bought pink and blue decorations, made pink and blue punch, and Audrey made appetizers.  Our friends and family came through for us and donated $435 for the cause.  babycake

 

Do you have causes or facilities that could benefit from a fundraising party?  With the epidemic of drug addiction in our nation on the rise, it was an honor to serve the tiniest victims of substance abuse, newborn babies.

 

The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it ~ Mother Teresa

 

Sole Hope February 27, 2015

Filed under: Make a Difference — The Accidental Activist @ 1:42 pm
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My church recently hosted a Sole Hope party.  I wasn’t able to make it to the meeting, but I did contribute a garbage bag of bluejeans that my teenagers had outgrown.  So what is Sole Hope?  What’s a Sole Hope party?  And why did I contribute bluejeans to the cause?

Sole Hope is an organization located in Jinja, Uganda.  The people of Uganda often suffer from complications of  parasitic insects called jiggers.  Jiggers enter the body through bare feet.  While they are not deadly, the infections caused by them can be.  Sole Hope addresses this issue by meeting the medical needs of those affected, educating caretakers, and providing footwear utilizing denim.

finished pair

Sole Hope’s vision is “to effectively put in place preventive methods to combat diseases that enter through the feet and to create a positive physical and spiritual difference in the lives of individuals in impoverished communities.”

So the Sole Hope party was organized so that church members could cut the bluejeans using the shoe patterns provided by Sole Hope.  These shoe uppers are then mailed to Uganda where they are completed by the tailors and shoemakers and distributed to those who need them.

SHOEPROCESS

Want to organize your own Sole Hope party?  This would be a perfect girls’ night!

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Desmond Tutu

 

 
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