Three Mommy Bloggers Give Back

My BFF Heather sent me links to three mommy bloggers (sorry to whomever is offended by that label) who shared stories about paying it forward.

Christina, whom I've met in person, of A Mommy Story, received $100 in the mail anonymously and used part of it to buy diapers and formula for babies whose mama's are strugging. Rock on, Christina!

Christine and Jessica
made Christmas magic happen with a Walmart giveaway that turned into an opportunity for someone else to put their Santa hat on. I love this because I think generosity is contagious.

Her Bad Mother did exactly what I was hoping to read about bloggers doing. Took a bunch of the stuff she had been sent for giveaway and promotional purposes and gave it away, not as reader prizes, but instead to Toy Drive destinations. And, she asked her readers to shout out their charities of choice.


Robeez Give Back and Let Bloggers Help

Yay for Robeez! Great product, first of all. Second, they are donating $5 worth of shoes to Kids in Distressed Situations (KIDS) for every e-card that gets forwarded from their holiday e-card program.

And, if a blogger posts about the program, they'll donate $25 on their behalf.


Travel Bloggers Give Back

Debbie Dubrow who writes Delicious Baby, a travel blog for parents, emailed me about her project Passports With Purpose.

This month I've been working on a blogger's benefit for Heifer International called "Passports With Purpose." It has been a really fun and rewarding project, and I've been absolutely amazed at the support we have gotten from both the travel blogger's community and the "travel establishment." So far we've raised over $2000.

What Is Passports With Purpose?
Passports with Purpose is a travelblogger's fundraiser for Heifer International. It's easy, and fun to join in. This is a raffle, where you buy tickets ($10 each) for a chance to win prizes that range from hotel stays to camera equipment and even luggage. You can find a complete list of prizes at http://www.Passport sWithPurpose.com. The money is collected by firstgiving.com, and all funds (minus a small fee to firstgiving) go the Heifer International. You can buy tickets online and pay with a credit card.

Why Heifer?
Heifer seeks to relieve poverty around the world, not by giving one-time assistance, but by providing needy families with animals that can sustain them for a lifetime. Even a small donation can make a huge difference in the lives of malnourished children. For example, $20 (the cost of two raffle tickets) can buy a flock of chicks whose eggs provide both food and income for a needy family.

How Does it Work?
- Browse through the list of prizes at http://www.passport swithpurpose. com
- Choose which ones you'd like to win for you or someone else
- Click on the FirstGiving link
- Buy one or more $10 raffle tickets for each prize you want by December 29th (11:59 pm PST) and specify which prizes you are interested in

Kid Related Prizes


Donation Made: Another Caring Corners dollhouse to the Ronald McDonald House

Heather, who blogs at Want What You Have, donated a Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse to her local Ronald McDonald House. Read her donation story here


Donation Made: Crazy Bloggin' Canuck donates to Ralston House in Colorado

I'm so excited about this donation story because I feel like I had a very small part in it. I asked Amber from Crazy Bloggin Canuck and Mile High Mamas if she wanted to donate a dollhouse as part of the Project Dollhouse program I had organized for Caring Corners. She accepted my offer, and not only did she donate the Mrs. Goodbee interactive dollhouse
to a family in need, she donated another wonderful product to a charity.

The World Discovery Box is a collection box for kids that encourages scientific discovery by providing them a place to put all the goodies they find on hikes and exploratory adventures. (Looks like a great gift for my four year-old son, in fact!) Amber remembered reading about The Ralston House and set up the donation.

She wrote:

This non-profit agency provides services for sexually, physically or emotionally abused children and their families. This safe haven is a place where they can share their stories and begin to heal. I would donate the box to them.

World Discovery Box’s owner John Skowland was thrilled with the idea and we contacted Ralston House.
discovery box
John personally delivered the World Discovery Box from Durango and I got the tour of my life at the Ralston House. As I listened to the services and stories of the many battered children who are helped during this fragile time in their life, I was so moved.

What would be more appropriate by showing these precious children the world of The Discovery Box when so many of their worlds are crumbling?

And you know what? These simple gestures have made me that much more mindful of all that I have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Football games and all.

My challenge to you this Thanksgiving? Don’t just express your gratitude, show it. Whether it is extra time spent in meaningful activities with your children or if you are in a position to help someone in need.

Thanks Amber and John for making this donation happen, and thanks to the Ralston House in Durango, Colorado for offering services to children who need them.


Donation Made: GearHead Mom Gives Back in Oakland

Missy, the publisher of GearHead Mom, reviews trendy baby and kid products. She took her almost-four-year old daughter with her to donate a Caring Corners Dollhouse to Bananas, Inc in Oakland.

We walked in and Sy literally started to dance in the halls; she was so excited to give the dollhouse away. She shouted to the employees that she was there to give this toy to a child who didn’t have any toys. The woman at the desk was kind enough to explain to her what was going to happen and Sy was just completely geeked out. She talked about it all day. I told her that going forward we’ll take all of her old clothes and toys there, so that she can always give back to the city we live in. She thought that was a fine idea, although she balked at the idea of going home and cleaning out her toys (baby steps, right?).

This was just another reminder of how much a three year old understands. We take things to Goodwill all the time, but I think this was the first time Sy felt connected to what we were donating. It was a much more tangible event since we actually saw people picking things up, as opposed to the vortex of a Goodwill truck. I like giving back to the community with Sy along for the ride; opportunities like this remind me how easy it is to teach my kiddos to be pint-sized social justice warriors.

Many thanks to Caring Corners for allowing us to donate a generous toy and helping my daughter learn something new about her growing world.

Well done, Missy!

Another good link I saw today:
Glow Mama shares ideas for charitable giving that don't involve money


Gerber helps me give back

As part of an effort to accomplish more philanthropically for our household, I am currently hosting a food drive. I have been a supporter of The Alameda County Food Bank for many years, but this year I thought I should do even more. Maybe I was inspired by Obama or maybe I just didn't want to let another year slip away and hear my husband say that we are just so lucky and we don't do enough for other people who aren't.

Anyhow, it couldn't be easier, so I want to encourage other people to do it. Simply contact the Alameda County Food Bank through their web site and arrange to have a canister dropped off at your house or work place. Then, spread the word.

I have already emailed my neighborhood list, and I need to now work on my preschool community and my Moms Group.

Gerber has donated baby food for me. And, it's from their line of foods with DHA added, so it's extra healthy. Yay!

This is a wonderful lesson for children around Thanksgiving. Teaching social responsibility is a big job, but we are all signed up for it. Please let me know how you'll be teaching social responsibility at your house this year.


Donation made: Little Window Shoppe gives Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

I'm so thrilled to share the story of Emily Norton donating her Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. She did a fantastic job of spreading the word about her donation. And, the sweetest part of her idea: she created a card so that visitors to her site could "sign" the donation card, enabling more than 125 people to feel like they were a part of this donation.

Read more about Emily's experience. She did a fabulous write-up with lots of pictures.

Thanks again to Caring Corners for providing Emily this opportunity! Here's a picture she posted on her blog:


Donation made: Marketing Mommy gives Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse to Hephzibah House

Read about Marketing Mommy taking her daughter Z to donate the Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse to a six-year old girl who lives in a group home for neglected and abused children.

Caring Corners, the makers of Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse made this possible by providing the dollhouse to Marketing Mommy's family. The new homeowner lives in The Hephzibah House in the Oak Park area of Chicago. Awesome!


Navigating charities

I started this blog because I really want to find good homes for the things I have but don't need or want. I also want to be able to encourage companies to make donations to the right people, so that when I am asked if I want "the hippest thing in babywearing", I can say that I don't, but I know who does, and then ask the company to consider a donation to that organization.

Charity Navigator offers a good tool for this. It's an independent evaluator of charities and their database is available online.

They've assembled top ten lists, ratings of financial health of the organization, and most helpful to most of us, a search engine that lets you find charities in your local area. Oh, and don't miss the tips and resources section of the site, featuring articles like Guide to Donating Noncash Items and How to Stop Solicitations By Mail.


Donation made: Curt White Fundraiser in Oceanside, CA

Last week, my cousin forwarded me an email from a friend of a friend who has organized an auction/shopping party to raise money for the family of a three and a half year old boy who has cancer.

Curt had surgery on August 13th to remove the grapefruit size tumor on his right kidney, as well as his kidney and the lymph nodes in the area. He has a large scar on his stomach that we call his "shark bite". He has had seven treatments of radiation done at UCSD which he finished like a champ. Curt is now going to Rady Children's Hospital for weekly chemotherapy treatments. Each day is a new challenge with his fight against cancer but this little boy brings a new meaning to strength.

Friends of Curt's family are seeking donations of products that people will want to buy as holiday gifts. "Perfect," I thought. Caring Corners is allowing me to give away a Mrs. Goodbee Interactive Dollhouse and this will be a great destination for it.

I also looked amongst the products that Heather has been sent by PR firms and found a cute Mopsy doll that is perfect for a young baby. (Thanks Kids Preferred!)

And, I threw in a copy of The Rookie Mom's Handbook
too. Items at all price points are needed, the auction organizer told me.

I sent these items to the auction organizer, Michelle, in Carlsbad, CA. I hope they can make a contribution to the funds that Curt's family needs to pay for his medical expenses.

So, bloggers, whenever you hear of a fundraiser, dig deeper to find out if any door prizes or auction items are needed!


Donation Destination: Amazon Wish Lists

Have some Amazon dollars burning a hole in your pocket? Use it to donate something to a Children's Hospital.

Child's Play Charity has organized more than 45 children's hospitals to put together wish lists on Amazon. Most are filled with video games that will be enjoyed by the young patients.


What this is all about

When my blog, RookieMoms.com, began to catch the eye of public relations folks who were in search of bloggers who would write about their products, the pitches started rolling in. Many of them are for things that don't interest me, many have been wonderful offers, and all of them have reminded me that I am one of the last people who should be getting free stuff. I have a home, a family, and enough resources to live a comfortable life. I kept thinking about those who are struggling and how frustrated they would be to know that I have been sent Hanes underwear for my son, a photo printer from HP, and parenting books packed with helpful advice.

I have now decided that when possible, I will encourage the company to give whatever they're offering me to someone who really needs it. And, I want to encourage the blogger community to donate their "free stuff" to others as well.