Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Love - Spread it!

Today is February 1st. Here in the Athanas household we're starting a few things today, one of which is a checklist of chores and personal development goals that I created for us. Another thing that starts today is the Thing-A-Day endeavor I'm undertaking with Kimberly (which I'm actually very excited about, by the way). Since I'm going to be making a thing every day for the whole month - 29 things! Yeesh! - I'm clearly not going to be able to keep them all so I've been trying to think of ideas for things I can pass on as gifts or RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness).

There are a couple of obvious things. For one, my cousin Cara's birthday is this month so I had already planned on making her something to send down to FL. I'm not sure if Cara reads this or not... so I'm not tellin' what it is. Valentine's Day is this month too, so that offers a ton of crafting possibilities for others. But I kept thinking a la Genie - "Not enough... STILL not enough...".

Then I remembered one of my favorite make things for others websites - Make a Child Smile. It's great organization that offers a world of opportunity for you to make things to send to children. Of course, there are lots of other ways you can help others by making things and sending them their way. Here's a quick and dirty list of a few organizations that I know of that offer this.

- The aforementioned Make a Child Smile. Features 3 children each month who are open for receiving smiles, and also offers an archive so you can see how past kids are doing.
- On the same lines, Share a Square is a woman who collects granny squares and puts them together to make blankets. She then gives the blankets to children who are suffering from cancer.
- One that was brought to my attention yesterday by my friend Laura is Soldiers' Angels. This is a website dedicated to supporting our troops, and offers a number of opportunities to use your creative or generally supportive juices to help out our troops and their families.

I'm sure there are tons more, but those are three that I am aware of. And just because now I'm in a spread the love to help others mood, here are a couple of other ways that you can reach out and help others.

- My friend Mags' friend Linda (did you follow that?) has a daughter named Jamie who is living in a bad situation with her father in Florida, but wants to come home to live with her mom. Unfortunately, Linda doesn't qualify for financial assitance to get the legal help she needs to fight to get Jamie home - so a fund has been started to help. To read more about it, head on over to the post on Mags' blog with the full story and how to donate.
- The Lowell Wish Project and the Lazarus House are dedicated to helping families in need all over the Merrimack Valley. They're always looking for help or donations.
- St. Jude Childrens' Research Hospital is a hospital dedicated to finding cures to catastrophic childhood diseases. There are a number of ways to support them as well. This is one of the causes that Steve and I feel very strongly about, so of course I'm passing it on to you.

Again... there are a million places you can lend a hand and spread your love, those are just a few of the ones I know about.

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