For the past several years, starting on December 1, I’ve done an annual Twitter posting of a list of 12 charitable organizations I support, which I’ve taken to calling the 12 Days of Charity. The list varies from year to year, though there are some perennials.
This year, I decided to add a blog post to the project, so I can give more information about the organizations than the Twitter 140-character limit allows. I’ll be adding to this post with each charity as the 12 days progress; my goal is to update each day, if life doesn’t interfere too much.
Be sure to check back for details!
12 Days of Charity Day 1
Today is World AIDS Day, and I’m highlighting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (Twitter: @BCEFA). BC/EFA provides essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses throughout the United States through The Actors Fund, which supports programs including HIV/AIDS Initiative, The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, The Actors Fund Work Program, The Dancers’ Resource, and supportive housing residences. Broadway performers participate in regular fund-raising activities, ranging from requests for donations from audience members after show performances, both on and off Broadway, to full-scale gala events like Broadway Bares.
12 Days of Charity Day 2
An offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy Sandy (Twitter: @OccupySandy) has been working to provide relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy. One of the primary methods has been by using Amazon wishlists, for NYC and Newark, so people can send specific items needed for relief or cleanup directly to the area. Occupy Sandy is also working to coordinate volunteers to help provide services to people in the hardest-hit areas, in particular Staten Island and Rockaway/Breezy Point, where a fire during the storm destroyed dozens of homes. Sadly, the need for help in these areas isn’t going away anytime soon.
12 Days of Charity Day 3
Lost-n-Found Youth (Twitter: @LostNFoundYouth) is an Atlanta organization providing housing for homeless LGBTQ youth. They offer a 24/7 hotline for help at (678) 8-Lost-25 and a six-bed housing facility. Lost-n-Found is the outgrowth of Saint Lost and Found, an LGBT homeless youth fund project of the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The program is supported by a number of fund-raising events, including a monthly Big Gay Game Show.
12 Days of Charity Day 4
When a pretty darn cool actor and a pretty darn cool author combine their collective powers, you nearly always get something awesome. That’s how Kids Need to Read (Twitter: @kidsneedtoread) came to be, as the brainchild of Nathan Fillion and P.J. Haarsma. Working with a book buyer, the charity selects quality, age-appropriate books and gives them to school and public libraries and literacy programs in underserviced areas. Simply put: KNTR puts books in the hands of kids who want to read them.
12 Days of Charity Day 5
ShelterBox (Twitter: @ShelterBox) is a rapid-response organization that provides shelter and supplies where they’re needed after disasters around the world. Inside a big green box will be basic living supplies tailored for the needs in the area. Some examples might include simple tools, a camp stove, dishes and utensils, blankets or tents, water purification materials, or even crayons for kids. Recent deployments including Haiti, Cuba, and the United States during Hurricane Sandy.
12 Days of Charity Day 6
The Ali Forney Center (Twitter: @AliForneyCenter) has provided housing support services for homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City for a decade. Named for a transgender advocate for homeless LGBTQ youth who was killed in 1997, the center gets kids off the streets and works to move them toward permanent housing. Sadly, their drop-in center in Chelsea, the entry point for most of their services, was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Thanks to an amazing outpouring of support, the center will be reopened and will be able to offer expanded hours to help even more youth, but having enough shelter beds for temporary housing remains an ongoing challenge.
12 Days of Charity Day 7
Feeding America (Twitter: @FeedingAmerica) is a nationwide network of member food banks working to fight hunger at every level. Programs provide “nutritious, fresh foods to Americans struggling with hunger; safe and nurturing places for children to have a meal; emergency assistance for disaster victims; as well as a chance at self-sufficiency for adults trying to break the cycle of poverty and hunger.” The organization also works to educate the public and public officials about hunger and advocates for public policies to help end food insecurity.
12 Days of Charity Day 8
Earthjustice (@Earthjustice) boasts one of my favorite slogans ever: “Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.” Earthjustice is an environmental law organization founded shortly after the first Earth Day celebration as the legal arm of the Sierra Club. It works through the courts and government to protect natural resources and wildlife throughout the United States.
12 Days of Charity Day 9
The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) provides crisis intervention and
suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Headlined by The Trevor Lifeline (1-866-488-7386), the organization also offers safe digital spaces, including counseling via instant message and the largest online social network specifically for young LGBTQ people.
12 Days of Charity Day 10
Clean water is a critical public health issue. The Water Project (Twitter: @TheWaterProject) is dedicated providing access to clean water and proper sanitation for communities around the world. The organization works with local groups to help dig wells, build small dams, collect rainwater in large tanks, and filter dirty water.
12 Days of Charity Day 11
Equality Now (@equalitynow) works to end violence against women and children.
12 Days of Charity Day 12
Community Servings (@communityserv) provides meals for the homebound in the Boston area.
Image courtesy of posterize / FreeDigitalPhotos.net