Giving it all away

Okay, so I’m pretty late with this post, given that it’s 6pm on New Year’s Eve, but go with me here.

Every year at Christmas, my kids and I pick charities to donate to, as a kind heart of balance to all the ridiculous shit they receive for Christmas. I want them to remember that there’s more to life than being an American jerk who gets almost everything they want, almost all the time they want it. We are a bunch of lucky fuckers, and as long as we can help other people, we should do it.

This year, we picked three charities:

Peeta wanted to donate to people suffering from Ebola, so we donated to Partners in Health.

Noodle wanted to donate to Lola Children’s Home, which is run by our friend in Ethiopia and funded by Lola Children’s Fund. Lola is a community program and orphanage for HIV-affected kids that allows them to stay with or near their families without being taken away from their loved ones.

I saw an ad for coats for kids in Syria that I am incapable of watching without weeping like a baby, so I donated to SOS.

There are a bunch of other places you could give to, if our choices don’t work for you! Here are some suggestions, just in time for you to get your charitable deduction:

The Sato Project: Rescues abused and abandoned dogs from the Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico. My sister and dad both have adopted dogs from them, and they are a pretty cool organization. For my sister’s Christmas present, I made a donation in her name.

Pine Street Inn: Provides housing, employment services and emergency shelter to homeless men and women in Boston. Our friend Yvonne and her son volunteer there every week, and they do really good work.

Horizons for Homeless Children: One of the few organizations in the Boston area catering strictly to the needs of homeless children, offering education, play opportunities and family support. If you don’t want to help homeless kids, it’s entirely likely you have no soul. Just saying.

Medecins Sans Frontieres: Doctors Without Borders, because those guys are frigging amazing and do all kinds of awesome medical work that no one else will. Do YOU want to treat Ebola victims in Western Africa? Didn’t think so.

Mercy Corps: Helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster. Our friend Jen works for them, and since Jen is rad, I know they are rad too.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: For my birthday, I made my sister sponsor an elephant for me from this program. I have kind of an elephant obsession, and if you didn’t know–motherfuckers are KILLING them all the time! This is a program in Kenya who rescues them and keeps them safe from those bastard poachers.

And if you’re looking to donate items, I just discovered Project Smile, who accepts children’s items for emergency responders to give to children after emergencies or who are entering foster care. I know we have a zillion stuffed animals around the house that we are going to bring to them.

So run! Make a donation to cats or dogs or kids or famine victims or casualties of war or disease research or whatever floats your boat! Find a program that accepts used clothing or toys or other things you don’t need and give them to people who do! At the very least, you will get rid of things you don’t need. At best, you will feel frigging great and might just teach your kids about the importance of helping others and being grateful for what you have. You don’t just have to do it today, and if you miss the deadline for a 2014 charitable deduction, it can be your new year’s resolution.

Happy new year! Make it a good one!