Pearls & Vodka

‘Tis Better to Give than Receive…

Today is #GivingTuesday and I thought what better way to start off this site than to share some nonprofit organizations that are helping others thanks to the generous donations of folks like you and me.  Check them out!

Homes for Our Troops

I had the honor of helping to build a house in 2008 in Minnesota for a veteran and have since been a donor very frequently to this organization.  HFOT is a nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans Post 9/11 to enable them to rebuild their lives.  These veterans have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or severe traumatic brain injury.  These homes mean freedom and independence for these veterans.  The homes help them to focus on their families, recovery, and rebuilding their lives.  Nearly .90 cents per dollar goes directly to the program services for Veterans.  Charity Navigator has given HFOT 4 stars every year since 2008 and Charity Watch has given HFOT an A rating and listed them as a Top-Rated Military & Veterans Charity.

To Write Love on Her Arms

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people who are struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also invest directly into treatment and recovery.  Donations to TWLOHA allow their organization to act as a bridge to help for those who are suffering, to continue to create a positive community that believes in the reality of recovery, to challenge the stigma of mental health through merchandise, speaking, tours, social media and various other programs, and to invest in treatment through grants to centers and support counseling through scholarship funds.

The Cancer Card Xchange

CCX collects monetary and gift card donations and then distributes them to verified cancer patients simply to brighten their day, and lessen their load.

Puppy Rescue Mission

TPRM fund raises and assists in pet rescue, foster and re-homing when needed, in particular pets of soldiers, especially those deployed in war zones.  They assist with requests, logistics, administrations and fundraising for the adopted stray dogs of war rescued and bonded with soldiers.  They help cover everything from vet care, supplies, transport, and related issues.  They work with other organizations to help our soldiers bring their companion animals home from war.

Special Olympics

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  This organization gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.  My Dad began taking me to volunteer at Special Olympics about the time I could walk.  It has been a part of my life ever since.  I’m thankful for the years I spent with him helping train these amazing athletes and then into college as my social club volunteered at the state games in Arkansas every year, and on to my time in Minnesota in 2008 when I volunteered at their games.

Thirst No More

Thirst No More is also an organization my Dad introduced me to through his friend Craig Miller.  TNM’s mission is to help  transform communities through the power of compassion.  Their projects are usually centered around regions where people have been ravaged by war, tyranny, or natural disasters.  TNM is actually an association of like-minded churches, cooperating in relief, development and church planting.  One of the main focuses of TNM is getting clean water into needy areas.  Six thousand deaths occur every day from unsafe water and poor sanitation, sadly 90% of those deaths are children.  So many of those deaths could be prevented with clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene training.  The World Health Organization estimates the ROI on $1 invested in water and sanitation to be anywhere from $3-$34 depending on the region and the technology.

Together We Rise

TWR is a nonprofit organization that is comprised of motivated young adults and former foster youth.  Their vision is to improve the lives of foster children in America.  They collaborate with their communities to bring resources to youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system.  TWR works with hundreds of foster agencies, social workers, CASA advocates and other partners.  Their foundation provides thousands of foster youth across the country with new bicycles, college supplies and suitcase so that they don’t have to travel from home to home with their belongings in a trash bag which is typical in their situations.  94% of all their proceeds go towards the things they give the foster youth.

Ronald McDonald House

Not going to lie, I find the actual Ronald McDonald character creepy b/c I hate clowns.  But what this organization does is life changing.  RMHC has been giving families a place to rest and refresh right next to medical facilities that their children are in since 1974.  RMHC has helped lessen the burden for more than 7 million families since its inception.  You can’t put a price tag on being able to be close to your child who is sick and receiving care.  RMHC does several things including obviously building the homes next to medical facilities, but also building resting areas for families right inside the hospitals, Ronald McDonald care mobiles bringing healthcare to children where they need it, grants and scholarships.

The Moyer Foundation/Camp Erin

The mission of the Moyer Foundation is to provide comfort, hope and healing to children and families affected by grief and addiction.  The Moyer Foundation was created by former Major League Baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen.  It started in Seattle with a broad mission to help children in distress but has grown into a national organization with signature programs reaching thousands of children impacted by grief or addiction in their family in over 50 cities each year.  Camp Erin was named after a young girl named Erin Metcalf who died at 17 of liver cancer.  The Moyers felt that a grief camp for children would be a befitting tribute to her life.  Now there are over 45 Camp Erin locations across the country and over 18,5000 campers have attended Camp Erin.

The American Widow Project

Since 2001 over 6600 U.S. service members have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This number doesn’t even begin to touch the additional thousands who have lost their lives due to sudden illness, accident, homicide or those who have taken their own lives due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  These staggering figures have also left behind 3600 young military widows facing their worst nightmares.  The AWP believes that every widow deserves the opportunity and tangible tools available to rebuild their lives.