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This Year, Be More Generous Than Ever


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JL
- 731 days ago - thenation.com
Or why these crimes are so much more common in the United States than anywhere else? Let's make this tragedy the turning point in the way we talk, or don't talk, about our outrageous levels of violence.Meanwhile, hug your kids, reach out to your neighbor



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JL A. (276)
Monday December 24, 2012, 2:19 pm

The Nation
Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com)

This Year, Be More Generous Than Ever
Katha Pollitt | December 19, 2012


A mourner attends a candlelight vigil at Ram's Pasture to remember shooting victims, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

I was gearing up for the happiest task of the year, my annual holiday donations column. Then came the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School—twenty little children and six teachers, murdered in minutes by a heavily armed, disturbed young man who had just killed his mother. It’s heartbreaking. Will we ever get serious about gun control? Will we ever find good ways to help families with seriously troubled kids? Will we ever talk honestly about why it’s overwhelmingly boys and men who commit these atrocities? Or why these crimes are so much more common in the United States than anywhere else? Let’s make this tragedy the turning point in the way we talk, or don’t talk, about our outrageous levels of violence. Meanwhile, hug your kids, reach out to your neighbors and be as generous as you can.

1. Violence Policy Center. This nonprofit focuses on research, education and advocacy on gun violence. I don’t usually recommend policy groups in this column, but we need this! Check out its website, which is chock-full of important information. Did you know there are more than ten US murder-suicides every week? And that, contrary to popular wisdom, the gun-owning percentage of the population is on the decline? Help the VPC [1] fight for a safer, more peaceable America. Violence Policy Center, 1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 1014, Washington, DC 20036; VPC.org [2].

2. Youth Guidance. Spectacular violence like the Newtown massacre shouldn’t make us forget young people who struggle every day with poverty and the violence it engenders. This Chicago-based nonprofit helps low-income inner-city kids stay on track with counseling, after-school programs and tutoring, with help for parents, too. Youth Guidance believes every child can succeed. Don’t you? Youth Guidance, 1 North LaSalle Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60602; youth-guidance.org [3].

3. Occupy Sandy. These dedicated volunteers may be the best thing to come out of Occupy besides the brilliant framing of “We are the 99 percent.” While official agencies dither and delay, it’s helping the people of the Rockaways and other struggling areas rebuild their houses and neighborhoods. Check out the latest and donate at interoccupy.net/occupysandy [4]. A quick way to help is by buying items on its Amazon “wedding registries,” which list everything from face masks and brooms to heaters and diapers; interoccupy.net/occupysandy/wedding-registries [5].

4. Afghan Women’s Fund. Led by the heroic Fahima Vorgetts, for ten years AWF has built schools and provided them with teachers and supplies; set up and stocked clinics; and organized women’s councils, literacy classes and income-generation projects in Afghanistan’s poorest regions. Did I mention that they also dig wells? Afghan NGOs are famous for waste, but this all-volunteer group really knows how to stretch a dollar. Send yours to AWF c/o Jean Athey, Box 1563, Olney, MD 20830; afghanwomensfund.org [6].

5. Road to Recovery. Members of this Israeli group are ordinary people who drive sick Palestinians from the occupied territories to hospital care in Israel, sparing them trouble and delay at checkpoints. This is an all-volunteer humanitarian effort that could use help paying for gas, which is very costly there. Checks to Yuval Roth, Road to Recovery, Hatlalim Street 4, Pardes Hana 37021, Israel; roadtorecovery.org.il [7].

6. The Bronx Freedom Fund. Prosecutors use bail as a tool to force guilty pleas—but what if you’re innocent? The BFF bails out poor people charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Results? Typically, 95 percent of defendants who are unable to post bail plead guilty, but of the 200 people helped by the BFF between 2007 and 2009, more than 90 percent made all their court appointments, half had their charges dismissed, and not one ended up convicted of the original charge. The Bronx Freedom Fund, 860 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451; thebronxfreedomfund.org [8].

7. The Doula Project. Having an abortion can be lonely and stressful. Doulas—trained to support, comfort and advocate for the patient—can help. The Doula Project is pioneering this model of abortion care, which is 100 percent free and founded on a philosophy that all pregnant women deserve respectful, compassionate care, whether they choose abortion, adoption or raising their child. This is what reproductive rights should mean. The Doula Project, Box 5172, Astoria, NY 11105; doulaproject.org [9].

8. Aid for Africa/World Bicycle Relief. Here bikes are for fun, but in Africa they can change your life—making it possible to get to school or take your goods to market or bring a health worker to your village. Since 2005, this group has supplied Africans with more than 60,000 extra-sturdy bikes and the logistical chain needed to maintain them. World Bicycle Relief, 1333 North Kingsbury Avenue, 4th floor, Chicago, IL 60642; aidforafrica.org/member-charities/world-bicycle-relief [10].

9. Health in Harmony. This nonprofit brainchild of the innovative Dr. Kinari Webb provides high-quality healthcare to impoverished Indonesian villagers in return for their help protecting the fragile Gunung Palung rainforest, threatened home of wild orangutans. Instead of humans pitted against nature, both win. Be part of this innovative approach to fighting poverty and ecological degradation, and help sustain a model for the future; healthinharmony.org [11].

10. Fill the Shelves. Ferocious cuts to public school funds have taken a big toll on school libraries—whose collections are tattered, outdated and shrinking. This website posts school librarians’ wish lists—buy a volume in the ever-popular Bone series for a Boston elementary school, or Eric Foner’s Reconstruction for an Alabama high school. And don’t stop with the holidays—bookmark the website for year-long donating as new lists are posted; filltheshelves.org [12].
Source URL: http://www.thenation.com/article/171862/year-be-more-generous-ever

Links:
[1] https://www.vpc.org/donate.asp
[2] http://www.vpc.org/
[3] http://youth-guidance.org
[4] http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy
[5] http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/wedding-registries/
[6] http://afghanwomensfund.org
[7] http://roadtorecovery.org.il
[8] http://thebronxfreedomfund.org
[9] http://doulaproject.org
[10] http://aidforafrica.org/member-charities/world-bicycle-relief
[11] http://healthinharmony.org
[12] http://filltheshelves.org
 

Dave C. (227)
Monday December 24, 2012, 2:23 pm
great idea!
 

JL A. (276)
Monday December 24, 2012, 3:03 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Dave because you have done so within the last week.
 

mag.w.d. Aichberger (34)
Monday December 24, 2012, 4:42 pm
Generous, hmmmm.....

" You only give little, if you give of your possessions. You only give truly when you give of yourself. For what are your possessions but things that you keep and guard out of fear that you might need them tomorrow? " -- [my amateurish translation from German] Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) "Der Prophet"

" If you knew the effects of generosity you would not miss out on one chance to share. " [dito]
-- Buddha Siddharta Gautama (?563-483 BC)

and before you 'give' (or share; whether of your possessions or of yourself) pls DO give some thought to the question of CHANGE vs. CHARITY !

" Charity... any kind of action that relieves people's distress just a little bit without changing the system maintains the system." -- Howard Zinn in Psywar (2010)

 

JL A. (276)
Monday December 24, 2012, 4:48 pm
Thank you for the oh so relevant quotes Frack! You cannot currently send a star to FRACK because you have done so within the last week.
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 25, 2012, 8:19 am
A very important issue.Noted,thanks.
 

JL A. (276)
Tuesday December 25, 2012, 8:35 am
I agree Samir and you are welcome. You cannot currently send a star to Samir because you have done so within the last week.
 

Kathleen B. (37)
Tuesday December 25, 2012, 10:48 am
I'm sure the author's favorite charities are worthy, but this year I spent my holiday "money" at the wrmea.org store in Washington,D.C.
Everything I bought benefited Palestinian women's small businesses, as well as olive terraces still in use since the days of Rome. They have beautiful hand-painted sets of dinnerware, trays and olive soap, even little Hanula trinkets.
I love that my purchases benefit those in need.
 

Christeen Anderson (553)
Tuesday December 25, 2012, 12:26 pm
Excellent organizations. There are many others also. Please help when and where you can. Thank you.
 

JL A. (276)
Tuesday December 25, 2012, 4:37 pm
Kudos Kate for already choosing to be generous--I'm sure the author would also applaud your choice, which others here might find to their liking as well so thanks for sharing about them! You cannot currently send a star to Kate because you have done so within the last week.
You are right Christeen. You cannot currently send a star to Christeen because you have done so within the last week.
 

Tanya W. (55)
Wednesday December 26, 2012, 5:52 am
Pay it forward, help others in need and have faith that good will always be rewarded.
 

JL A. (276)
Wednesday December 26, 2012, 8:57 am
You cannot currently send a star to Tanya because you have done so within the last week.
 

Ro H. (0)
Thursday December 27, 2012, 10:18 am
ok
 

JL A. (276)
Thursday December 27, 2012, 8:24 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Ro because you have done so within the last week.
 
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