In 2007 Gretchen and Larry Witt’s 2-year-old son Liam was diagnosed with cancer, and they were rather surprised to find out that only a very small percentage of money spent on cancer research goes towards researching better treatments for pediatric cancer. The Witts decided they needed to do something about this, so Gretchen—along with 250 volunteers—baked and sold 96,000 cookies. This massive bake sale raised more than $400,000 for childhood cancer research! With the success of their first bake sale, the Witts decided to establish Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, an organization that raises funds for research for developing improved treatments for pediatric cancer.
Since its inception, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has funded dozens of pediatric cancer research grants, which have lead to a number of promising new treatments and clinical trials. The decision on where the funds go is overseen by a Medical Advisory Board, which is made up of leading pediatric oncologists from top hospitals, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
If you would like to get involved with this admirable organization, there are several ways to do so.
Host a Bake Sale or Cookie Swap
In the spirit of how this charity was started, you could host a bake sale or cookie swap to raise money. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer wants to make it easy for you to host your event, so if you register your bake sale with them, they will provide support and tips to make the entire process simple.
Send Cookies to a Loved One
The cookies offered by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer contain all-natural ingredients and are shipped on the same day that they are baked. On top of that, 100% of the profits from the cookies go directly to pediatric cancer reseach, and each box includes a note explaining the significance of your gift. With a variety of flavours, such as Liam’s Lemon Sugar, Chocolate Almond Coconut Crunch, and Ginger Spice, these cookies will fill the tummies and the hearts of the recipients. Order a box for someone on your gift list or for your own family to enjoy this holiday season.
Attend Family Fun Day in NYC
If you live in the NYC area, you could attend Family Fun Day on Saturday, 5 December. Hosted by Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, this event includes a meet, greet, and eat where you will get to sample and receive cookies from some of the USA’s top pastry chefs and award-winning bakers. Family Fun Day also features cupcake & cookie decorating, a photo booth, live music & a DJ, face painters, kid [and adult!] beverages, gift bags, and much more. Buy tickets for the event here.
Family Fun Day
123 West 18th Street, 2nd Floor (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)
New York City, NY
Saturday, 5 December
Founded by Danny Thomas over a half century ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a treatment and research facility located in Memphis, Tennessee. St. Jude’s mission is beyond commendable: to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family’s ability to pay. Not only do patients’ families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, they also don’t have to pay for lodging, travel, or food. On top of that, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped increase the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to over 80%. Incredible!!
If you’re feeling some warm fuzzies about this amazing organization and want to help, there are several ways you can get involved this holiday season.
Make an Honourary Donation
For a unique gift this Christmas, make a donation in honour of a loved one. With your donation, St. Jude offers a variety of cards to bid festive tidings to the honouree, as well as let them know about your honourary donation. You can select between ecards, mailable cards, or print-at-home cards.
Did you know that a donation of $69 could fund a St. Jude child’s platelet count test? Or a donation of $30 could fund meals for a St. Jude family for an entire day?
Decorate the St. Jude Tree
Send a holiday greeting or a message of love & hope to the children and families at St. Jude by customizing a Christmas ornament and placing it on their interactive tree.
Select a ball ornament, angel, elf, or candy cane [designed by a St. Jude patient!] and write a sweet message to go along with your ornament. After “hanging” your ornament, you have the option to also make a donation to St. Jude.
Donate through St. Jude’s Partners
A multitude of companies—such as Delta, The Coca-Cola Company, and The Melting Pot—have teamed up with St. Jude to help raise even more money to provide treatment for ill children. Some of these companies offer specialized merchandise to benefit St. Jude, while others allow you to donate when making a purchase online or in store. These programs have made a huge difference, as some companies, like Williams-Sonoma, have raised tens of millions of dollars for St. Jude! Visit the St. Jude website to find out how your favourite brand is involved.
If you want to simply give to St. Jude in order to help out this wonderful organization, you may easily donate online.
The winter months are chilly, but especially frigid for folks who don’t have the luxury of a cozy coat. One Warm Coat® has been collecting coats since 1992 and giving them to people in need. The organization has grown over the years and has given away nearly 4 million coats to date!
While that sounds like a lot of coats, there is indeed still a great need for more. The economic climate, unemployment, and natural disasters have contributed to the hardships that many people are facing. Did you know that 1 in 5 children live in poverty? That is a staggering number of children—not to mention families—that are experiencing hard times.
The good news is that there are several ways for you to get involved and help! If you have an extra coat or two in your closet, you can give it to someone who needs it. In addition to coats, One Warm Coat encourages donors to give any type of outerwear, such as sweaters, sweatshirts, hats, scarves, or mittens. And, for any crafters out there, you can donate a handmade scarf, mittens, or hat.
Another way to get involved is to volunteer your time. One Warm Coat provides you with many resources to start your own coat drive and help you find an agency who will distribute the coats you collect. One Warm Coat provides you with a toolkit if you want to organize your own coat drive. Together, we can make a difference and spread the warmth of Christmas through the act of giving.
Established in 1992, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is devoted to helping find adoptive homes for children currently in foster care. Dave Thomas himself was adopted, so throughout his life, Dave spread the word about adoption and encouraged folks to consider foster care adoption. Unfortunately Dave passed away in 2002, but his legacy lives on with DTFA and Wendy’s. [Yep, Dave Thomas was also the founder of Wendy’s!]
Another way you can get involved and learn more about adoption this month is to watch the CBS special “A Home for the Holidays.” Presented in association with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children’s Action Network, this show features heartwarming stories about adoptive families, along with performances from popular artists. The 16th annual “A Home for the Holidays” will include entertainment from Jennifer Hudson, Train, Earth Wind & Fire, Rixton, Katharine McPhee, Ashley Monroe, Dan & Shay, and Jillian Michaels. Tune in on Friday, 19 December at 9pm ET/PT to catch this uplifting television special. Perhaps watching this will become a new holiday tradition for you.
One way you can give a meaningful present this holiday season is by giving a symbolic gift to a friend or family member. With Oxfam America Unwrapped, you can purchase a gift in honor of a loved one that will help someone else in need of basic supplies, education, or animals. The present itself is sent to someone else across in the world to help them support their family and community.
If you’re like us and love Christmas goats (such as the Gävlebocken), you might want to purchase a goat in honor of your best friend. The goat goes to someone else who needs it, and you can send your friend a card to let them know about the gift.
Goats are a great gift because they are hardy creatures, as they are drought-resistant and will eat just about anything. This is an important factor for people who live in areas without a lot of grass. Should you decide to give a pair of goats or a tribe of goats, your gift will have long term benefits since the goats can provide milk and offspring.
In addition to the various animal gifts, you can also give gifts of education, skill training, emergency supplies, or even basic necessities, such as soap. There are many other types of gifts to choose from, so check out Oxfam’s website to choose one that appeals to you. Your charitable gift will have a lasting impact on the lives of others.
When you think of the United Service Organizations [or USO], you may immediately think of USO tours, during which the USO sends entertainers to perform for American soldiers stationed around the world—from Japan to the Persian Gulf to the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Past performers include Bob Hope, Robin Williams, Lena Horne, Johnny Unitas, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Steve Martin, the Sesame Street crew, and many more.
While the USO tours are fantastic, the USO actually does so much more. The USO has been around since 1941, and the mission of this nonprofit is to “lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families.” From arranging USO tours to sending care packages to offering support with health issues to delivering prepaid international phone cards to the soldiers, the USO is succeeding in their mission.
One particular way you can help the USO brighten the troops’ spirits this Christmas is by donating so that they may send USO Holiday Boxes. Specifically for soldiers in remote locations who do not have access to traditional USO centres, these boxes contain holiday decorations, edible goodies, and more for 50 troops. The USO offers boxes for four different holidays, and the winter box includes:
The holiday season is upon us, and while many of us are purchasing gifts for our friends and family, we can also spread the joy of Christmas to those who are experiencing hard times by donating presents, time, or resources to a charity. Today we highlight one particular charity that focuses on helping children.
Founded by Marines, Toys for Tots is a program that collects and distributes new toys to children who are less fortunate in local communities. Toys for Tots’ mission is to spread joy and instill hope in kids—through the gift of a new toy—thereby enabling them to become responsible and productive citizens.
During the holiday season when we are busy filling our tummies and our stockings, it’s also nice to fill someone else’s life with joy—especially those less fortunate.
Did you know that you can share the Christmas spirit with a child elsewhere in the world with a simple shoe box? Every year Samaritan’s Purse collects shoe boxes filled with gifts through its Operation Christmas Child program, and then sends the boxes to children in countries such as Haiti, Iraq, Kosovo, South Sudan, and many others. The boxes travel by plane, boat, or even long-haired yak to make their way to remote villages and children who wouldn’t otherwise experience Christmas. Over the past two decades, Operation Christmas Child has delivered millions of gifts to children in more than 130 countries.
How can you get involved?
It’s easy! Get a shoe box [or small plastic container] and decide whether your gift will be for a boy or girl, as well as the age range. Fill the box with items such as small toys, stuffed animals, school supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, socks, and toy jewelry.
Include a $7 donation [or more!] to help cover shipping costs, and then drop the box off at your nearest collection centre during collection week [through 19 November]. If you would like to donate a box during another time, you can always send your shoe box to: