Social Media Moms doing their best to help kids in Japan

standard March 21, 2011 1 response

My kids are fast asleep in their soft, warm, cozy beds. They had a good dinner with desert. They even got to play in a tub filled with bubbles and toys. Then, when it was time for bed, they got cuddles, kisses, and M and I sang to them after turning out the lights.

My kids are blessed.

In Japan, tonight 100,000 children are displaced from their homes.

One hundred thousand. 

Because of the time of the Earthquake it’s believed that many of those kids are without their parents. They would have been at school or daycare when the disaster occurred.

My kids have watched a tiny bit of the footage of the Japan disaster. On the first day I had the TV on because I was watching for our own Tsunami scare and they caught some dribs and drabs. We’ve been fielding questions ever since.

Over three years ago we had a minor-ish earthquake here. The house started shaking moments after we’d finally gotten both kids to sleep. M ran to get C out of her crib as I grabbed Little L, an infant at the time, out of her bouncy. We stood, all four of us huddled in the same doorway, holding tight to each other as the whole house shook around us.

That night I felt utterly helpless. For weeks I made sure we all slept with doors wide open so no one would get trapped in a room in the case of a worse incident. But we were fine. The next day we all went to work as usual. The only thing left to remind us of that quake are a few cracks in the walls.

The Japanese had an earthquake thousand times more powerful, and when it was done a massive tsunami washed over them.

Three years ago my two-year-old was traumatized by a little “shaky shaky” that ended with her safe in her own crib an hour later. I just can’t fathom how terrified and traumatized those 100,000 Japanese kids are today.

It makes me want to go hug kids and sing lullabies until I’m hoarse.

Stephen McDonald, who is leading Save the Children‘s team in Japan, said the most pressing worries for children living in evacuation centers were lack of water and psychological problems associated with trauma and stress.

We can’t all rush over there to hug little kids, but we can give up our morning coffee to send a little bit of money to help Save the Children do what they do best – help the children.

A large group of Social Media Moms and I are teaming up today to help spread the word. Come help us. Tell your friends. Tell your readers. Tell your followers and ask them to tell their friends. Send them to this link and let’s see if we can bring some much needed water, food, and comfort to those 100,000 kids.

Random Act of Kindess Redux

standard January 10, 2011 4 responses

A month ago I posted about my Random Act of Kindness issue, and granted I was beyond stressed at work, but the comments drove me batty for the most part.

I love you guys, I really do, but I must have been having trouble conveying the difference between random acts of kindness and random acts of charity, because 90% of the comments were of a charitable nature rather than kindness nature.

Then I let go of the ire and focused on what was really happening.

While at first I chaffed at the notion that not everyone was worthy or deserving of kindness, I quickly realized that the issue wasn’t the kindness, the issue was the money.

With spare cash to hand out, we panic, we freeze.

I did.

I’ve had that $100 burning a hole in my pocket for a month.

I wanted to do something nice for someone at the airport. I did. I kept my family away from as many people as possible to keep from spreading the stomach flu more than absolutely necessary.

I wanted to pay for some coffee at Starbucks. I never found the right opening.

I would have paid for someone’s food in a drive-thru line. There are none that we ever frequent.

I would have paid for someone’s gas, but the logistics were beyond me. I couldn’t leave the kids in the car to go inside and pay.

I made up for it in a ton of little ways – holding doors, smiling at strangers, chatting up people. I even gave computer support to a Starbucks patron! But I never doled out the cash.

After a month it finally occurred to me that it’s not the recipients that are the issue – we’re all worth of kindness. It’s the money. When you throw money in the mix it shifts the balance.

If I smile at four people and turn their serious looks upside down, odds are they’ll smile at four people themselves, and keep the smile ball rolling. But if I buy someone coffee and ask him to pay it forward, I’ve essentially indebted him to someone, not something I feel good about.

So I’m eating my words. And I’m taking the $100 and conducting a random act of charity. One that makes me feel like I’m also doing a random act of kindness.

Did you know that diapers aren’t covered by WIC in California? So you can get formula and food for your kids, but you have to pay for diapers out of pocket? Consider how many diapers a child goes through in a childhood. (Also, please remember that you can’t wash diapers in laundromats and that diaper services are more expensive than disposables.)

A woman showed up at a local shelter last month and told the shelter director that she had been limiting her baby’s food and liquid intake so he wouldn’t use as many diapers.

She was limiting his food and water intake because she didn’t have diapers.

And I have $100 I don’t know what to do with.

I can’t donate $100 every month, but on the months I can, I’ll be donating to Help a Mother Out, a local organization that donates diapers to women’s shelters.

For the mom it’s a random act of charity. For the child… a random act of kindness. It’s a solution I can live with.

Do you have a random act of kindness to share? Spread the word and inspire others on the Yahoo! Ripples of Kindness site. 

Please note. I promised $50 to two commentors on the last post. I still haven’t awarded that money. I’ll pick two people at random tomorrow night, so if you want a chance to get $50 for a random act of kindness – or yes, charity of your own – go forth and comment.

How about real Breast Cancer Awareness?

standard October 11, 2010 10 responses

I’m not playing the “I like it…” game on Facebook this year. I didn’t play the bra color game last October either. Not because I don’t believe in Breast Cancer Awareness, quite the opposite in fact.

I believe in doing it the right way.

Last year the game seemed silly to me even before reading Susan Nieber ‘s– aka Why Mommy – post on the subject. Then it seemed downright cruel.

People were trying to raise awareness for a cause by flaunting the very thing that women who were in the thick of that issue could no longer use – bras.

Most women who have had mastectomies no longer wear bras, so, as a whole, they felt shut out of this viral campaign. Ironic? Right?

This year the campaign tries to be more inclusive by focusing on purses instead of bras. But at the end of the day the issue is a bit the same.

Breast cancer isn’t funny.

Susan Nieber once again wrote a post decrying the point of this campaign, this time she posted it at She wants to know why people are joking around while women are dying.

Here’s the thing as I see it. You slap up a pink banner on your site, you buy a pink t-shirt, you post a quippy “I like it in the backseat!” post on Facebook. And then you walk away. You feel like you did your part and you can give yourself a nice pat on the back.

But really? What have you done to further the cause of Breast Cancer Awareness? Did you share some stats and information with someone? Do you really think that the 10c from the proceeds of that shirt are going to make an impact on Breast Cancer research? Do you really think that funny Facebook post did any good?

Breast Cancer is becoming that thing. The “oh yeah! Breast Cancer, it’s a problem, right?” thing. All the pink t-shirts and ribbons are having the opposite effect. Instead of raising true awareness they’re raising acceptance.

And you know what? Acceptance is BAD. We don’t WANT people to become jaded and accepting of this disease that’s killing women right and left. Women YOU know. Women YOU see every day.

So instead of posting a funny post to my Facebook page I’m posting this post and sharing Susan’s letter. And I’m not going to tell you not to play, but I am going to beg you to ALSO post a link to a place where people can get information or where they can make a real difference.

Visit the American Cancer Society to learn about Breast Cancer and all sorts of other cancers, find out what you can do to help raise awareness and money for research.

Buy a Tiny Prints Breast Cancer Awareness Greeting Card The entire proceed for the cards go to The Pink Agenda for Breast Cancer research.(Sorry, I work there, but I also happen to be really excited about this campaign which helps people on every end.)

Join the Army of Women and do your part to further the research.Whether or not you have had breast cancer or are high risk, you might have the information someone conducting a study could use. Sign up. You never know.

And before you buy something with a pink ribbon on it, do a little research about how much of your money is actually being donated. Lots of companies are taking advantage of the pink to make a lot of extra bucks. 

So? How about it? Are you participating in the Facebook “game?”

(FYI: This post was cross posted to Yahoo! Shine and received interesting comments over there.)

One successful rally later…

standard May 12, 2010 3 responses

Saturday dawned beautiful.Or at least it was bright and sunny when I rolled out of bed at 9. I still wasn’t deluding myself; there was no way it would be warm enough for us to hold the big ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Ends Here Backyard Movie Night Rally actually in the backyard. By sundown it would be so cold outside we’d all need jackets and blankets to keep warm.

Sadly our back-up plan involved our living room which hadn’t seen a thorough cleaning in way longer than I’m willing to admit here.

As we swept, steamed, polished, dusted, and cleaned everything in sight I wondered if anyone would show at all. It would have been fine if they hadn’t, we would have had a clean house and some food donated before the event, but, you know, a girl worries about these things.

The time drew near and I spotted Grace‘s tweet that she was coming as soon as she was done going through her pantry. No sooner had I read that than the first guest was knocking on the door.

Gorgeous sign hanging over the door.

Four families came and sat with us in our transformed living room to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. We ordered pizza, made buckets of popcorn, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie on a big screen. Well, most everyone enjoyed the movie. I might have hung out in the kitchen with some of the moms, drinking wine, and chatting about everything and anything.

And now I have to make a confession. In a complete and utter Blogger Fail moment, I completely and utterly forgot to take pictures during the event. I know! So you’ll just have to imagine little children, faces covered in pizza sauce and popcorn crumbs, absorbed by the movie and parents drinking wine and having a raucous good time. 

It was awesome. Everyone had fun, we collected a TON of food, 116lbs to be specific, and it felt great to be surrounded with wonderful people who really cared about a cause that is close to my heart.

Just a fraction of the donations!

Then this morning the girls and I headed to the Santa Clara Second Harvest Food Bank to bring everything that had been donated before and during the event.

 116lbs of donated food. That’s a LOT!
All in all this was an amazing experience that I hope to recreate in the not so distant future. We’ve already asked people to bring donations to C’s birthday party on Sunday. It makes me proud to be doing my part and to be teaching my children that it’s easy to do theirs too.
Plus, I still haven’t taken down the sign from above the door. Maybe I’ll just keep collecting food until I do. If the Halloween pumpkins are anything to go on, that could be some 9 months from now. Just think of how much we could collect in that time!