What's on our holiday wishlist?
World peace, a new President, and a lifetime supply of dark chocolate!
All jokes aside, when we think of the things that we covet for Christmas, there are not too many...things. Every year around this time we see countless holiday gift guides, but not enough GIVE guides. If you're fortunate enough to be reading this blog, I imagine that you probably have enough blessings to pass some good tidings on to those in need.
It's the #DarbyWay to help out however we can (hey there, Stand Up Initiative) and so our holiday guide wouldn't be complete without a way to give back. Whether through the donation of money, time, food, clothes or services- there is ALWAYS a way to lend a hand and spread a little cheer. Our communities- and the world- need our support!
So, join us in the holiday spirit! Check out these important tips for charitable giving and then read on for a few of the organization's topping our wishlist for good. Santa, are you listening?
Every year I make a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work the MDA does to support those with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and their families. In addition to their continued research efforts, MDA provides the opportunity for kids with MD to attend summer camp at no charge. Campers spend time swimming, horseback riding, zip lining and having fun while gaining independence, forming lifelong friendships and building confidence. Growing up, I was extremely close with my cousins, triplets- all of whom had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Each summer, as the week of camp approached, they would reminisce on their past camp experiences and excitingly wonder about the new adventures that await. How cool to be able to impact a young life in such a special way. - Cory
Each month, I contribute to Environment North Carolina, which is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. The non-profit provides research and education on environmental issues facing our state. Currently, they are working on a campaign to ban foam cups and takeout boxes made of polystyrene to reduce pollution in our waters and protect wildlife. Global change can only happen at a grassroots level! In addition to the ENC, I will also be making a donation to Girls Rock Asheville, a local non-profit that is committed to empowering girls, trans and gender non-binary youth through music education. As an active member of Asheville’s music scene, I believe it is so important to give non-male identifying youth the opportunity to thrive in an unfortunately sexist and male dominated industry.
As an agency I am really proud that we were able to assist the folks impacted by the recent Camp Fire in Paradise, California through a donation to the Chico-based North Valley Community Foundation. My hope is that individuals and businesses across the country continue to support these folks for the months to come. The people of Paradise need all the assistance they can get as they work towards rebuilding normalcy and balance in their lives. Back home I’m supporting the Holiday Hats program at Asheville Middle School. I love that this program provides a shopping experience for kids who come from lower income families and might not have the resources to experience a holiday outing. This event helps remind students they are special and most importantly, loved. - Coral
I'm giving back to Dressember this year! Throughout the month of December, I’m wearing a dress every day to raise awareness for the fight to end human trafficking and slavery. Each dress represents my commitment to raising awareness and money for this important cause. I’ve joined a passionate group of Aventura ambassadors and employees who want to make a difference this holiday season to support the Dressember Foundation. Our team goal is to raise $5000 by end of December, and every person that donates is entered to win a Aventura dress! Want to support this cause and help us reach our goal? Visit our team fundraising page here. - Angie
Honestly, it’s so hard to pick one since there are so many worthy causes out there, and groups that need support now more than ever. This year, I’d like to donate to the International Rescue Committee. As a mom (and a human), I’ve been brought to tears by images out of Yemen, where millions of people face an unbelievable humanitarian crisis and simply don’t have enough food for their families. By swapping out just one gift for my own family, I can contribute directly to relief efforts on the ground and hopefully make some sort of difference. - Suzanne
This year I made two donations through Facebook's handy giving platform, which matched up to $7 million in contributions on #GivingTuesday! (Thanks, Mark Z.) First, to Everytown For Gun Safety. As a new mom, it is terrifying to think that my child may not being able to feel safe at school one day. Common-sense gun reform NEEDS to happen (like, yesterday) before any more innocent lives are lost. I also chose to support the Student Conservation Association, a nationwide service organization that I worked with after college doing environmental education in Shenandoah National Park. Young people working and learning in our nation's public lands? I can't think of anything better! - Erin
I’m personally passionate about local-based organization, Green Opportunities. GO! helps marginalized communities of Asheville with sustainable employment options. An example of GO!’s work is the Southside Community Kitchen, a donation-based meal service in which underprivileged chefs-in-training preparing high-quality, affordable meals for the community while gaining relevant work experience to prepare them for a career in the vibrant Asheville culinary scene. The food is delicious, and it gives back in a tangible way.
I'm sure by now you've heard that the latest IPCC report warns against the dire impacts of a mere 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming -- expected to be reached anywhere from 12-20 years from now unless immediate and drastic action is taken. The Nature Conservancy is focused on halting "the catastrophic march of climate change," preserving the earth not only for ourselves, but for generations to come by protecting lands and supporting clean energy. A little closer to home, the I Heart Pisgah campaign is fighting to increase protections for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest as the Forest Service works on a plan that will govern how the forest is managed for the next 20 to 30 years. A donation to this alliance of passionate local individuals, groups and businesses can help preserve our region's old-growth forests, pristine waters, bustling trail corridors and rare flora and fauna. As a thru-hiker I know first-hand how important our natural spaces are for recreation, education, ecology and the economy and want to support that in my own backyard.
For the past several years, my family and I support the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree operation. We sponsor an anonymous child in the local area that needs a little extra support during the holidays by providing them clothing, toys and a few extra special things from their provided wish list. We’ve typically selected a child that is the same age as my oldest son so he can participate in the entire experience. It means a lot to me to support families nearby and to show to my children the importance of giving and helping others in need.
As an avid lover of water and spending time in the wilderness, the work of American Whitewater is extremely near and dear to me. Not only do I use their gauges to check water levels before paddling, but I follow their work closely to make sure I sign petitions and stay tuned into the legislation they push through so restore and protect our waterways from damming and destruction. Protect your rivers! Make sure to give AW some love. - Julie
See, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. (Is that Christmas song in your head yet?)
Happy Holidays from Darby Comm!