Last year, we started a new tradition at Thanksgiving of giving each person in the family the same amount of money to donate to the charity of their choice. It has turned out to be a nice way to talk about our own family's blessings and the struggles and issues facing other families. I think we all benefit from letting the children really have a say in how we do some of our charitable giving. We discussed our selections over Thanksgiving but with the chaos surrounding J.C.'s injury that week, we finally finished doing our donations today, just under the wire for 2009.
I chose to contribute to the Dallas Zoo in memory of my Uncle John who was an ardent Zoo supporter and volunteer.
J.C. made his contribution to Doctors without Borders, a humanitarian organization providing medical assistance to people in war torn countries. Anderson Cooper of CNN has been very impressed with the work Doctors without Borders is doing all over the world. He has written about them in his book and done a 60 Minutes Story about how they are tackling the crisis of malnutrition.
Addison donated her share to The Ronald McDonald House of Durham which provides a home away from home for the families of seriously ill children being treated at Duke. It is a wonderful place.
Nina, like last year, chose to purchase animals from Heifer International "because people don't really have a lot of food, so I was thinking I would give them some food because they are starving sometimes." Heifer International provides livestock and training to families living in poverty as sustainable gifts for the families to support themselves and provide for their communities. Nina donated a pig, a trio of rabbits, and a flock of chicks this year.
Elise decided to split her money between two organizations. She gave half to the Lance Armstrong Foundation "because I know that cancer is really scary, so I really wanted to do something to cancer." With the other half, she is giving to an organization from which she benefited this year. Karl's Books is a nonprofit that collects new and gently used books for kids being treated at the UNC Chapel Hill Pediatric Oncology Clinic. Children being treated in the clinic can take a book to help them escape boredom, fear, or feeling rotten during treatment. They can read them in the clinic and take them home. When Elise was seen there in the clinic this year when she had ITP she was able to enjoy a book while waiting in the clinic and then take it home with her. She knows how much it meant to her, so she wanted to donate to Karl's Books "because sometimes people get bored at the hospital not doing anything except mushing their brains up watching TV." She took her money to Barnes and Noble where I told her to select a variety of books for different ages of boys and girls. I suggested she choose books that she thinks kids would get excited about receiving at the clinic. I think she did a great job. The reading level pretty much stops at age 8. The list is also a bit slanted toward an 8 year old girl's interests, but that's OK. Any 8 year old girl being treated at the Clinic in the new year should have a nice selection of books from which to choose! Elise purchased:
- Lanie (An American Girl) by Jane Kurtz
- Hank Zipzer: Day of the Iguana by Henry Winkler
- Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
- Baby Einstein Touch and Feel Farm Animals
- Usborne touchy-feely book: That's Not My Fairy...
- Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
- Chloe the Topaz Fairy by Daisy Meadows
- Scarlett the Garnet Fairy by Daisy Meadows
- Megan the Monday Fairy by Daisy Meadows
- Titanic (A Magic Treehouse Research Guide) by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne
- National Geographic Kids 2010 Almanac
- The Tasty Tale of Chewandswallow by Rick Barba
- The Princess and the Frog: Hoppily Ever After by Elle D. Risco
- Skippy Jon Jones by Judy Schachner
- Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin Jr.