Looking for ways to give back and make an impact in your life and the life of others this Holiday season? BELLA to the Core host Vanessa Coppes shares with you three organizations you can get involved with all year round.
The Fighting HARD Foundation
Alexandra is 15 and Jonna is 14, sisters who are both battling rare diseases. Their lives have depended on long hospital stays and multiple surgeries every year. Many times they felt very alone in their battles. Although they have each other, they decided they didn’t want anyone else, to ever feel as alone as they did. For many families in the rare or chronic illness world, there are very few resources. They founded the Fighting HARD foundation in 2015 through which they are helping build a support system for these children and their families. Awareness will lead to funding, funding will lead to research, and research will lead to hope for a cure! Right now, they’ve partnered with the ETTWomen Foundation and are collecting slippers, socks, pajamas, and blankets for the kids and their family members who travel with them, to bring them comfort during their long hospital stays.
For more information, go to FightingHardFoundation.org.
The Bowery Mission
If you commute in the city, chances are you have walked by or shared a train car with someone who is homeless. You also may know someone personally who has been homeless, or even experienced homelessness yourself.
Every night in NYC, nearly 4,000 people sleep on the street, in the subway system or in other public spaces. In a city of 8.5 million people, nearly 1 in every 128 New Yorkers is currently homeless. Only 1 out of every 17 of these individuals is visible to the eye.
The Bowery Mission serves homeless and hungry New Yorkers and provides services that meet their immediate needs and transforms their lives from poverty and hopelessness to hope.
To learn more, go to https://www.bowery.org
What you can do to help the homeless
1. Acknowledge & Engage
Homelessness brings a sense of loneliness that erodes the core of a person’s self-value. When you are homeless, a simple smile and a word of kindness can make a big difference in a day full of hardship
Be sure to acknowledge the homeless you encounter in the street or subway. Say a simple hello. Talk to them and engage in a simple conversation. When you take your time to learn about your homeless neighbor, his or her story and family, you show them that you care!
Above all, avoid stereotyping or stigmatizing the homeless. There are many paths that lead to homelessness, and each person has a different story.
2. Be Ready to Help Today
Sometimes, the homeless just need help to get through the day. In general, it is better not to give cash away. So what if you want to help today? You can provide practical and immediate help:
- Carry gift cards from fast food or grocery store chains in your wallet. This way you will be helping your homeless neighbor get something to eat, as well as the opportunity to get out of the street and rest inside a store or restaurant.
- Also, granola bars are easy to keep in your pockets or bag, and provide energy and nutrition.
- Besides food, a small bottle of water helps prevent dehydration, a common health concern for the homeless community.
Always offer help first, rather than giving someone something they may not actually want or need. Many of your neighbors in need will be grateful for your offer of food or water. But you may also encounter someone who is having a really rough time and may be unable to appreciate your help. Please, don’t be discouraged. Just smile and keep on your way. You may find someone else to help.
3. Help During Any Season
Winter season feels extra-long when you are living on the streets or sleeping in a subway car. There is a big risk of hypothermia just from staying outside for such long periods of time. You can provide protection from the cold weather without having to spend any additional money! Here is how:
- Check in your closet for simple winter gear that you are not using anymore (or that you don’t use that often): a pair of winter gloves, a scarf in a color you don’t like anymore, a knit hat that you got for free at a game or event. Instead of keeping these in your closet, carry one at a time and give it away to someone you see living on the streets.
- And how about those winter boots you haven’t worn in the past 2 years? Dust them off and give them to the homeless person you pass on your commute every morning.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.
The organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, with programs that extend anti-cruelty mission across the country. The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
Ways you can help:
- Share your Story.
- Report Animal Cruelty.
To learn more, go to https://www.aspca.org
Photo credits in video: ASPCA, The Bowery Mission