“Service to others is the rent you pay for living on this planet.”
Marian Wright Edelman

Building empathy and teaching children to give back is an important part of developing character and bringing families together in a positive manner.  We look forward to adding more charities and stories of families who give their time, energy and ideas.
A Place at the Table
A Place at the Table a Magnolia Pictures documentary opens in selected theatres starting March 1.

Fifty million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.

For the first 100,000 tickets, downloads or book purchased during March 1-3, Plum Organics will donate one essential nutrition pouch to a baby or toddler.

To find a theatre near you visit
A Place at the Table.

Hurricane Relief
Here are a few resources to help families in need after Sandy. Please pass on the information:

New York Food Trucks Association has set up sites to provide meals for families in New York and New Jersey. Check site for more information and locations http://www.nycfoodtrucks.org.
Food and water distribution centers - Official distribution sessions staffed by the National Guard will occur daily; check the nyc.gov home page for the latest list.
Brooklyn: West 25th Street and Surf Ave, Coney Island (3–6pm)
Manhattan: West 27th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (4–6pm)
East 10th St between Aves C and D (4–6pm)
Catherine St between Cherry and Monroe Sts (4–6pm)
Pitt St at E Houston St (4–6pm)
Central Plaza at Division St (4–6pm)
Pitt St at Stanton St (water only; 4–6pm)
Queens: Beach 51st St at Rockaway Beach Blvd, The Rockaways (3–6pm)
Redfern Ave at Beach 12th St, Far Rockway (4–6pm)
Beach 84th St at Rockaway Beach Blvd, The Rockaways (4–6pm)
Staten Island: Mill Rd at New Dorp Ln (3–6pm)
Yetman Ave at Hylan Blvd (3–6pm)

Crisis response resources
Office of Emergency Management Disaster Mental Health Support: 347-396-7952
Mental Health Information and Referral Line, with access to Mobile Crisis Team: 1-800-LIFENET: 1-800-543-3638
HITE (free online resource directory for mental health services; enter address for service in your neighborhood): hitesite.org
Sesame Street Hurricane Toolkit: www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/hurricane
Save the Children - find out how to help the littlest victims

From New York One News:
Ways To Help Sandy Relief Efforts In NYC
By: NY1 News
Here is a partial list of where to get help for hurricane relief in New York City.
Immediate Help:
Call 311 if you or someone you know is in immediate need of food, water, or other emergency assistance.
• Federal Emergency Management: Call 1-800-621-3362 or visit
• nyc.gov http://www.fema.gov/
NYC Blood Center
Aidmatrix Network for Humanitarian Relief
American Red Cross
• Volunteer for NYC Parks:
Food Bank Of New York City
New York Cares

Community/Faith-Based Groups:
Salvation Army
• For corporations, organizations, restaurants and others able to donate food, water or supplies, please send an email to logistics@GNYSalvationArmy.com.

• For financial donations:o Online: Visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.o By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)o Text-to-Give: Text the word STORM to 80888, and confirm the donation with the word “Yes”o By Mail: Checks may be designated and made payable to The Salvation Army Disaster Services Center, PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA, 30301
The Church of the Covenant, 310 East 42nd Street between First and Second Avenues: Currently seeking canned food, bottled water, toilet tissue, feminine products, diapers, baby wipes, batteries, plates, forks. Baby food is especially needed. Will also take gently used coats and sweaters.
UJA-Federation of New York

Help Us Adopt

The cost of adoption can be very high for would be parents and sometimes very discouraging, but Becky Fawcett and her organization, "Help Us to Adopt" have made the path to adoption a little easier for some families. Here is her story from CNN
"Becky Fawcett considers her infertility a blessing. But it wasn't always that way.
Desperate to be a mother, Fawcett endured five rounds of in vitro fertilization and three miscarriages before she and her husband Kipp adopted their first child in 2005.
Now the proud mother of 5-year-old Jake and 18-month old Brooke says that no matter how one becomes a mother, "it's a miracle."
But the costs for adopting in the United States can be steep. While foster care adoptions are often under $2,500, licensed private agency adoptions or independent adoptions can total more than $40,000.
After Fawcett and her husband experienced those high costs firsthand, they dedicated themselves to alleviating some of the expenses for other adoptive parents.
In 2005, the couple was sitting in their lawyer's office going over the paperwork for Jake's adoption, which cost about $40,000. It struck Fawcett that many loving and fit parents couldn't adopt a child if they didn't have a lump sum of cash at their disposal.
"I sat there and thought if ... I was told that I was not going to be a mother because I couldn't afford adoption, I don't even know what I would have done," said Fawcett, 40. "I don't know who I would have turned to for help. It just hit me. I knew how lucky we were."
With their own savings and support from family and friends, Fawcett and her husband created Helpusadopt.org. Since 2007, the group has awarded more than $300,000 in financial assistance toward adoption expenses.
Couples and individuals who submit applications to
Helpusadopt.org come from all walks of life and are already in the process of adopting a child.
For Fawcett, it was important that her organization help all families regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or marital status.
"Our applicants ... are amazing. They are hardworking, educated Americans who just don't have $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 sitting in the bank at the time they go to have children," Fawcett said. "Some have graduate degrees. They have great jobs. They are in some cases fighting to protect our country. They are public school teachers. They are doing whatever it takes to pay for this adoption on their own, but they're coming up short. And that's where
Helpusadopt.org comes in."

September 11, 2011 - Keep the Light Bright

Today we remember September 11, 2001. To honor all who were touched by this tragedy, many people are working to rebuild a new community. They are keeping the spirit of peace and love alive and here are a few of their stories.
CNN Heroes here is the story of Jeff Parness

Jeff Parness still remembers the pain of September 11, 2001, when his friend and business partner, Hagay Shefi, was among the thousands killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

But Parness, a native New Yorker, also hasn't forgotten the support that his hometown received from other communities in the immediate aftermath. Many cities -- in the United States and around the world -- sent volunteers and supplies to aid the rescue and recovery effort.

"9/11 changed all of us forever, but 9/12 changed us just as much," said Parness, 45. "That outpouring of kindness and generosity, to me, was more powerful than the terror that happened the day before."

That spirit of goodwill inspired Parness to create
New York Says Thank You, an organization that sends volunteers from New York City to disaster-stricken communities every year -- normally around the 9/11 anniversary. To date, more than 7,000 people have participated in the group's rebuilding projects.

Here is a letter I received from the CEO of Meet-Up on how 911 inspired his organization:

Fellow Meetuppers,
I don't write to our whole community often, but this week is
special because it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many
people don't know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.

Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles
from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought
local community doesn't matter much if we've got the internet
and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I
hoped they wouldn't bother me.

When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors
in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to
neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they'd normally
ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each
other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being

A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring
people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was
born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet -- and
grow local communities?

We didn't know if it would work. Most people thought it was a
crazy idea -- especially because terrorism is designed to make
people distrust one another.

A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months
after 9/11. Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it's
working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups,
Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups... a wild variety of
100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common -- except one

Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to
neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me.
They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and
motivate each other, they babysit each other's kids and find
other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace
together. They make friends and form powerful community. It's
powerful stuff.

It's a wonderful revolution in local community, and it's thanks
to everyone who shows up. Meetups aren't about 9/11, but they may not be
happening if it weren't for 9/11. 9/11 didn't make us too scared to go outside or talk to
strangers. 9/11 didn't rip us apart. No, we're building new community together!!!!
The towers fell, but we rise up. And we're just getting started with these Meetups.

Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ)
Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
New York City
September 2011

Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Relief
After a devastating 8.9 earthquake, 33 foot tsunami, and the threat of nuclear melt down, the people of Japan are now faced with the overwhelming task of recovering from the aftermath. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those touched by this recent tragedy. Although they may feel too overwhelmed to reach out for assistance, the world community is ready to help them through this crisis. Here are some of the organizations already assisting that we can support with donations. The list will be updated as we learn more.
Japan Society -
is organizing relief efforts and raised funds on their site http://www.japansociety.org/earthquake
Red Cross - http://www.redcross.org/
UNICEF - http://www.unicef.org/
Save the Children -
Doctors Without Borders - http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/ (this organization is presently working in Japan but only taking general donations at their site)
Salvation Army -
To donate US $10 for earthquake relief, text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 or visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.
Global Giving - To donate to the Global Giving Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/japan-earthquake-tsunami-relief/
Charity Watch -
offers listing of organizations assisting in Japan Quake Relief which they rate for effectiveness visit www.charitywatch.org.
Need Help Finding Individuals:
Google People Finder
- For finding/disseminating information about those in Japan check Google Person finder 2011 Japan Earthquake - http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/?lang=en
For inquiries concerning American citizens living in Japan - U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at +1.888.407.4747 or +1.202.647.5225
For inquiries concerning UK citizens living in Japan - UK Foreign Office Helpline number at +44(0) 20.7008.000 or japan.earthquake@fco.gov.uk
Special Activties To Particpate in:
Save the Children Have Started Their Campaign "Caps for Newborn"

The Caps for Good grassroots initiative will be running from September 2010 through February, 2011 encouraging citizens of all ages to participate by making a cap and advocating and fundraising to provide newborn care in developing countries. At the end of the program, caps will be distributed to pregnant women and new moms and their babies in Save the Children's programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Please pass on the information, this can be a great group or community project. To knit or crochet a cap, get a copy of the pattern and more information, visit www.goodgoes.org/caps.

Milk + Bookies


Milk, cookies, books and giving back go hand and hand in this charity that allows young people the opportunity to share their birthday with a child in need.
Milk + Bookies TM is a nationwide charitable organization that inspires children to give back, using books as its currency. At Milk + Bookies TM events, boys and girls are provided the opportunity to select, purchase and inscribe books that are then donated to their peers who do not have access to books of their own. The fun-filled events feature music, story time and, of course, milk and cookies.

Meredith Alexander, a Los Angeles mother of two, started this organization in 2004. She wanted to find a way to spend family time that was also about helping the community. She wanted to expose her children to giving back, not only at the holidays, but also year round.

Find out how you can host an event for a birthday, Girl Scout troop, school project or book club, www.milkandbookies.org.

We have featured a few organizations that have contacted us. For a more extensive list of organizations visit www.charitywatch.org and www.childrenforchildren.org.
Haiti Relief – please continue giving to the organizations working in Haiti. This is going to be a long process of rebuilding but out of the destruction will rise a new Haiti. Let us all be a part of making this happening.  Reach out to help with prayers and donations.
To find reputable organization visit 
www.charitywatch.org/hottopics/Haiti.html. Here are a few organizations listed:
·       American Red Cross
·       CARE
·       Catholic Relief Services
·       Doctors Without Borders – USA
·       Habitat for Humanity International – N.O.
·       Lutheran World Relief
·       Save the Children
·       William J. Clinton Foundation
·       YMCA of the United States – N.O.
Harlem School of the Arts – provided music, dance, drama and art to children in the Harlem community for over 45 years. Then earlier this year, the newspapers were reporting the closing of this special art school. Fortunately, parents and community advocates were determined that this venerable organization should not go down. Now with new leadership the Harlem Schools of the Arts is on a new track.We support them in creating a new vision for this wonderful institution. Your tax-deductible contribution in any amount will help provide opportunities for tomorrow's leading musicians, actors, dancers and artists. HSA depends upon financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations to make arts education and training available to over 1,700 young people from Harlem, Upper Manhattan and the greater NY Metro area. Your donation helps HSA cover critical general operating costs and supports programs such as HSA Prep, ARTScape Summer Camp and their Teen Arts Summer Program.
Visit their website

Great News for the Henry Street Settlement - New York Magazine has chosen them as a top charity pick for the Year! Congratulations! see the article http://nymag.com/urban/articles/charityguide/toppicks.htm
The Abrons Arts Center
at 466 Grand Street, at the corner of Pitt Street, part of Henry Street Settlement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side brings innovative artistic excellence to Manhattan’s Lower East Side through diverse, cutting-edge performances; exhibitions/artist residencies; classes and workshops for all ages, including pre-professional training for youth; and arts-in-education programming at public schools. Some of the most adventurous artists of the past century have trained, taught, or performed at Henry Street, including John Cage, Aaron Copland, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Graham, Alicia Keyes, Alwin Nikolais, Jackson Pollack, Denzel Washington, and Orson Welles.
Your support will make a difference: $25 can help cover the cost of a free Sunday afternoon arts workshop for local families. $50 can help give a low-income student a scholarship for a semester of music classes. $100 can offer an emerging Artist-in-Residence a stipend for art supplies. $250 can help bring a professional dance company to a local school for a week of workshops and an all-school assembly performance. $500 can help achieve all of the above — and more. Call 212.598.0400 or visit

Room to Grow's mission is to provide parents raising babies in poverty with one-on-one parenting support and essential baby items through first three years of life. Parents expecting a baby are referred to Room to Grow by selected prenatal programs assisting low-income families. Upon their referral, parents receive developmental information, customized support, and all of the needed baby items to ensure a healthy and secure start for their child. You can help by: donating your own baby items directly to Room to Grow, organizing a collection drive, hosting a baby shower or celebrating by giving.  Celebrate your child's birthday or other family event by donating a gift to another child in need.! For information In New York, contact infony@roomtogrow.org call 212.620.7800. In Boston, contact infoboston@roomtogrow.org or call 617.859.4545

The Shop Lucky Finds 2010 Fall\Winter Children’s Consignment Sale and Trunk Show. features top designers and manufacturers selling new items at sample sale prices. In addition, shoppers will find a great selection of gently used children’s designer clothing and brand name gear and toys. Shop Lucky Finds supports Room To Grow by donating a percentage of its sales.  In addition, all Shop Lucky Finds sellers have the opportunity to donate any unsold items to Room To Grow and in return will receive a tax form.Their next event will be Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 12:00PM to 4:00PM at St. Jean Baptiste Community Center 184 East 76th Street (Between 3rd Ave. and Lexington Ave.)

Children for Children
- 6 East 43rd Street, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10017
programs offers young people, educators, families, and community groups a menu of developmentally appropriate programs designed for use in school, after-school, out of school, community, family and online settings.  No age is too young when it comes to helping your kids help others. The lessons learned through volunteering will stick with them for life. Children for Children wants your family to Grow Involved! Need help getting started?  Use CFC’s Kids for Community database to find hundreds of volunteer opportunities for your child or family to make a difference in New York City. For  more information:   E-mail - info@childrenforchildren.org; Call 212.850.4170 or visit www.childrenforchildren.org.


Fair Trade offers individuals the opportunity to earn a living while providing us with quality products for sale. This is not charity but a way to help industries in underdeveloped areas build their local economy.
Last spring at The Coffee and Tea Festival, one of the distributers talked about “The Agony of the Tea.” This she explained is the history of the tea leaves from the time they are planted, picked, dried and shipped miles to reach our teapot. This is what gives them their flavor, the effort that goes into making the product. Presently we are disconnected from the production of the food we eat and the clothes we wear.
Fortunately, today social conscious companies and organizations are trying to reconnect us to the agony of the products we use. Now being a good fashionista also means being economically savvy and also socially conscious. Buying Red and Fair Trade are words that pop up often. Good karma should also be an important part of being a fashionista. Where do our clothes come from and how were they made? Were they made in sweatshops? Is the material so shoddy that it won’t last for a season?
RED Campaign started by singer Bono and Bobby Shriver is getting companies involved in building the local economies in Africa. Each time you buy a (RED) product or service, at no extra cost to you, the company who makes that product will give up to fifty-percent of its profit to buy and distribute antriretroviral medicine to our brothers and sisters dying of AIDS in Africa. Visit
Here are a few companies that sell fair trade product.

Lem Lem - Supermodel / actress and World Health Organisation's Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Liya Kebede discovered that traditional weavers in her native country of Ethiopia were losing their jobs due to a decline in local demand for their goods and wanted to do something about it. Recognizing the beauty, quality and historic significance of their work, Liya started Lemlem in 2007 as a way to inspire economic independence in her native country and to preserve the art of weaving. Today, Lemlem, which means to flourish or bloom in Amharic, is thriving. They thank those who support this handcrafted collection of women’s and children’s clothing, while helping preserve an ancient art form. http://www.lemlem.com/

Global Mamas is a non-profit and fair trade organization assisting women in Africa to become economically independent. By purchasing Global Mamas products, you are offering sustainable livelihoods to women and their families living in poverty. All proceeds go directly to the women and to the non-profit programs that assist them with business development. To purchase their children and women's clothing visit http://www.tradeforchange.com/.
For wholesale purchases visit
http://www.globalmamas.org/. You can also contact them through Global Mamas at 1-800-338-3032 or the following mailing address: Trade for Change, P.O. Box 18323, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418, USA.

HANDS UP NOT HANDOUTS started out as a family project, which partners with women of the world in the design, production and marketing of unique, one-of-a-kind goods using handicraft techniques. Their first collections feature beautiful hand-embroidered bracelets with intricate designs from Palestine which were originally used to make table cloths and home goods and in Rwanda, they applied the skill of basket-making to create lush, brightly colored sweet grass earrings. All proceeds are reinvested into the business, the women and their communities to make the process sustainable.
To contact them and purchase products
http://www.handsupnothandouts.org/ or learn more about the Sager Family Foundation at www.teamsager.com .


Sseko \say-ko\ Designs - are sandals created to help bright young women continue their education in Uganda. Young women earn money for their tuition by designing sandals. Sseko Designs is a not-just-for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country's educational, justice, and health care systems. http://www.ssekodesigns.com/