*Welcome to another Make A Difference Monday where I highlight a good cause, an inspiring person, or even just a new way to do something to make your life a little better.*
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Humans of New York (HONY), the photographer who takes photos of New Yorkers and tells a little snippet about their respective lives. This year he’s traveling the world again and has landed in Pakistan. You can check out so many beautiful pictures of his on his Instagram or Facebook but you should definitely check out the latest Indiegogo account. He does a great job of describing the issues there but the one that touched my heart the most was his feature on modern-day slavery.
Fatima (pictured above) is a women in Pakistan trying hard to end slavery through education with only very little by way of resources. She’s endured multiple beatings and threats on her life, and she remains unwavering in her quest. Fortunately, HONY photographed her, spoke out for her cause and an Indiegogo account was set up to help her help her people break the cycle. They’ve already reached their goal of $100,000 in less than 1 day but every additional dollar helps. Head over here to the Indiegogo to find out more details on the situation and how you can help. Not one of us can fix the world’s problems by ourselves, but together our efforts can make a difference.
We all reach that point when we realize that we have far too much “stuff” that we really don’t need. So we usually grab a bin or a plastic bag and gather up all of our “stuff” and then load it into the car/bus/train to donate. Well, before you head to the nearest Goodwill, think twice.
Goodwill does somethings like most charity shops. They take donated items, price them, sell them and use the money to cover costs, fund charity programs, and pay their employees. The problem really lies in the payment of their employees. A loop hole in labor laws allows them to pay their employees less than minimum wage- some just 22 cents an hour! And it’s not like they aren’t making enough to pay these employees, most of which are disabled, they just choose to spend their money else where, especially when it comes to CEO payouts. The international CEO reported a salary of over $725,000 all the way back in 2011. Then they have local, regional, and state CEOs, many of which make well into the 6-figures. Fortunately, there is a bill in the house that would end their ability to take advantage of the loop hole and force them to pay minimum wage to all employees.
So with that good news, what can each of us can do in the meantime is donate our “stuff” to other good causes. So why the Salvation Army? They pay their employees fairly, they are run largely by volunteers, they donate grundles of money to women and children, and their National Commander makes less than $200k.
So let’s each drive an extra mile or two and donate to a company that does the most good.
We all want to give back but sometimes we’re limited by time, money, resources, etc. Today I want to share an easy way for you to help children in need get access to school supplies. Target (oh how I love thee!) will donate $5 to the Kids in Need Foundation for every download of a song. The best part about the song download is that it’s free. So basically, you download a song for free and Target sends $5 to children who need supplies for school. Free song, free supplies. I’m not really seeing a downside here.
So head on over here and pick up a new tune while helping out! Happy Make a Difference Monday!
*I was not paid or perked by Target Corp for this post- I just think they’re awesome and had to share!
AT&T’s new anti texting ad is brilliant and tragic. I love their tag line “It can wait” because it always can. I know I’ve been guilty a time or two of trying desperately to send a text out before the light changes or check on Instagram for just a second. And it’s completely dumb and ridiculously myopic. What on my phone is more important than my safety and the safety of others around me? Sometimes I think that we forget we’re driving around in machines weighing over a ton, capable of truly hurting/injuring/killing people. I’m not trying to be a downer on Monday because heaven knows- no one needs that- but I am trying to give a little different perspective on something most of us do every single day. We’ve heard for years, “give 100% to whatever you do” and I think that applies to driving as much as anything else. So today I’m going to put down the phone and start really driving. Will you?
Meat-less Mondays aren’t a new thing. They’ve been growing in popularity since 2012 and three years later the movement is still going strong. I love this movement for so many reasons, but especially because it normalizes the idea of having a meal not centered around meat. In the past it’s been very un-American to see carrots or beets (or any veggie) taking center stage on your dinner plate, but more and more it’s changing. For about three years my husband and I were vegetarians and going out to eat, inviting friends over for meals, and eating at other people’s homes were often frustrating and sometimes even awkward. Thanks heavens that now it’s pretty widely accepted that having meat-less meals are not only acceptable, they’re healthy.
The average cost of organic carrots is $2.26 a pound. The average cost of regular beef is $4.10 a pound.
Help the Planet
Did you know that for every pound of meat produced in the U.S., it takes 1,850 gallons of water. For a pound of vegetables it’s only 39 gallons. Not an insignificant amount when you think about the drought in California where much of our food in the U.S. is produced.
Help Your Waistline
Limiting your meat intake can help you decrease your chances of cancer. Yes, cancer, the worst “C” word. Even just one additional serving of veggies a day to can also lower your risk of heart disease by 4%.
If you’re nervous about what to cook without throwing chicken into a pan, don’t worry, there are tons of vegetarian options.
Click on the picture or HERE to find awesome French vegetarian recipes. You won’t regret trying even one of these amazing recipes! Want an awesome blog that features a lot of super great veggie recipes? Check out OhSoDelicisioso– they are amazing, especially their vegetarian chili recipe.
Anyone else out there still observe Meat-less Mondays or maybe some of you just avoid meat all together? Any recipes you swear by?
We all remember sitting in history class, reading our textbooks filled with important dates, battles and biographical info on historical figures. But I can say that as a girl, many times I noticed how we pretty much only learned about the roles of men in history. Sure, there was a brief mention of Rosa Parks once a year and maybe a quote from an Abigail adams letter, but not anything substantial. I can only remember a few instances where the class focused on a female historical figure for more than a minute. And ya know what, it’s a shame. Boy and girls need both male and female role models and most education curriculums don’t fulfill that need.
But ladies and gents, there is good news. A talented artist, published author, and mother, Ashmae has created these beautiful flash cards depicting female historical figures. Her KickStarter Brave Women Art describes how she came up with the idea and her hope that this project will inspire not only her daughter, but also her son as well as she communicates women’s important contributions because women and men should know about these female leaders. Her goal also includes rising money to provide these cards to under privileged kids learn about these awesome ladies, which couldn’t be more great.
Donations can be as little as $5 but just a $15 donation means you get your own set of cards sent to you in December, just in time for Christmas. I’ve got a few children on my list to buy for this year and it would be a perfect gift, although I have to admit that I want a set for myself. So head on over HERE and check out her awesome story and pick up a set!
Today we’re going to talk about everyone’s favorite topic: puppies. Well, young puppies and older puppies (commonly known as dogs). I love dogs. I am solidly a dog person and most of my friends and loved ones are as well because dogs are pretty much the best. You know who else is the best? People who rescue dogs. You guys, the stats out there on homeless pets are terrifyingly awful. I’ll spare you from most of the details except this one: Over 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year. EACH YEAR. Guys, that is a crazy number of furry souls dying before their time. But back to rescues- these people are saints.
One saint that I know and love is Allison Allred who started This One Starfish, a non-profit that rescues dogs from death and helps them find their forever home. She is just one of many who devotes insane amounts of time, money, gas, and love to dogs who have been abandoned and forgotten. They spend so much of their personal resources helping dogs they know they won’t keep, which to me feels incredibly selfless and amazing. When they say that all dogs go to heaven, they forgot to include the people who rescue dogs, because those people certainly do as well.
So by this point I’m sure you’re thinking how you want to help or get involved. Natch. I asked This One Starfish what they would recommend to someone wanting to help and this is what they said:
Dog rescue is kind of like holding a bucket under a running sink to catch the water. It’s a good temporary solution but the only permanent fix is to get the water turned off. We can keep pulling dogs out of shelters and busting puppy mills, but the shelters will keep filling up. One way that we can start to turn the sink off is educating the public about the reality of dog shelters. Most dog shelters are not shelters at all. After a few days or sometimes only a few hours the dogs are euthanized. In the best case an adopter shows up to pull the dog before they reach the top of the kill list, but usually the dogs die. People need to educate themselves on these realities and learn the alternatives to dropping dogs in shelters. There are so so many people willing to foster so if you find a dog contact a local rescue first and consider fostering until an adopter surfaces. Even if you can only foster for one night, keeping these dogs out of shelters will save their lives. Another way people can help is by sharing our Facebook posts am following/ retweeting out Twitter page. These shares help us spread the word about our mission and make it possible for us to quickly get dogs out of shelters and find forever families.
What do you think would happen if we put some of societies youngest and oldest together? A Seattle nursing home has done just that by putting a preschool inside of a nursing home and the results are magical. The elderly patients, all of whom need assistance themselves, have the opportunity to help the children which has helped them create more social bonds. These relationships are extremely beneficial as many seniors report struggling with loneliness and lack of purpose. The children also gain life skills through this endeavor and learn more patience, and tolerance of differences. Watch the video below and contribute to the kickstarter documentary as the director explores this unconventional and happy arrangement.
Don’t you love it when a company you already support goes and does something awesome? I don’t know about you, but it totally makes my day. We’re already huge lovers of Austin’s Pizza because they’re local, close, healthy-ish, and straight up delicious. We always order their “Mopac” (it’s essentially supreme) and they always load our pie with tons of veggies. It makes justifying ordering it for lunch WAAAAAY easier.
A couple days ago, I needed something fast, and kind of healthy so I called in my order and got in the car to pick it up. Walking in the door, I was greeted by the usual guy but also an additional employee. A beautiful woman, who obviously had Down-Syndrome, was there helping fold pizza boxes and fill orders. She smiled big as Texas when she saw me and her spirit was simply radiant. She was extremely kind, and seemed super happy to be doing her assigned tasks and helping me. While I’ve never had a negative experience with Austin’s Pizza, I haven’t ever received that level of service and attention during any of my other pick ups or deliveries.
Even with her great customer service and sweet smile, I know that hiring someone with disabilities isn’t always the easiest route. They could have hired some high school kid and I’m sure he could have done her tasks far faster and with less help. But they didn’t. They hired her.
Walking out, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up just a little. This kind of thing hits close to home as I have a brother who has some physical and verbal challenges. I’ve spent hours talking with my husband about my brother’s future and potential educational and employment opportunities, wondering what he’ll be able to do and where he’ll be able to work. I’ll readily admit, it’s worry that is never far from my mind as he’s nearing eighteen. Talking with that sweet woman not only made my day (her smile was completely infectious), but it also helped me gain a little more hope for my brother’s future opportunities.
So today during my drive home, I resolved that Austin’s will forever be our pizza place. I love supporting businesses who do the right thing, instead of just the cheapest thing, and I love telling everyone about it.
I’d love to hear more about other companies who are doing it right. Are there any businesses in your community who stand out because of their awesome values? What makes them stand out?
It makes my day when I can buy something I already need and some of the proceeds go to a great cause. I feel like I have to share this amazing company that I stumbled across a few weeks ago. Punjammies are incredibly beautiful and comfortable pjs that are handmade by women who escaped human trafficking. These women who have endured unimaginable horrors and have learned a marketable skill and their products are beautiful! I love that their motto is “made from hope and made for comfort.”
So often it’s so easy for me to feel completely disconnected from so much of the world. I’ll confess that I have a bit of guilt when I think about how privileged I am in relation to the rest of the world and it’s often countered with the feeling of smallness and insignificance. But I honestly believe huge change comes from small and simple acts, so often when I feel overwhelmed with the issues of the world (and there are plenty) I look for small ways I can make a difference. It’s fabulous that that I can look amazing and chic in these pjs while feeling amazing for supporting a great cause in a small way.
So I’m hoping that each of you will visit their site HERE and pick out an awesome pair of of pjs. Let’s feel good and look good!