Giving: it’s for more than Tuesdays

I’m told that #GivingTuesday is a kickoff to the charitable season. Thanks for the clear border, guys, but where I live – amid people of modest means whose time is the greatest gift they have to offer – giving isn’t a seasonal thing. Still, this recently-minted hashtagged holiday sparks a few ideas. Some involve money, others involve time, and each has special meaning for me. While many of these suggestions are New Hampshire-based, similar opportunities exist wherever you live.

Gifts collected at the 40DFL baby shower will go to four agencies in Greater Manchester.
Gifts collected at a recent 40DFL baby shower went to four agencies in Greater Manchester.

Pregnancy care centers that provide abortion alternatives always need your help. Look for CareNet, Birthright, and Manchester’s Pennacook Pregnancy Center. Visit them and learn about the programs each one offers. Volunteer, or make a donation, or hold a drive to collect the goods they need. How about having a baby shower to benefit your local care center? Perhaps you have the business skills or fundraising savvy that make a good board member.

40 Days for Life is dedicated to peaceful and prayerful witness outside abortion facilities, in two worldwide campaigns each year, one in Lent and one in the fall. Manchester, Greenland and Concord have hosted New Hampshire 40DFL campaigns in recent years. No 40DFL donation is more critical than your time at a prayer vigil. A close second is rallying a team from your church to sign up.

The New Hampshire Food Bank does much more than supply food pantries throughout the state. While donations of food are welcomed, cash donations support the Food Bank’s extended programs. Host a food drive. Volunteer at the Manchester warehouse.

St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester provides one-on-one behavioral treatment for students referred by local school districts. Where once it provided residential foster care, the Home now serves children in day programs. The Home is staffed by the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love, AKA the Running Nuns. The Labor Day St. Charles 5k race in Portsmouth for runners and walkers is a big fundraiser for the Home, and there’s room for you on the starting line.

The latter two projects have something in common: they’re agencies of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, which makes good use of your support for many other projects as well: health care, adoption, and refugee services, to name a few.

Give blood. I am as needle-phobic a person as you’re likely to meet, and yet I make time for this. I donated for a long time just because it seemed useful. Later, I saw loved ones benefit from medical procedures that would have been impossible without blood products. Go to redcrossblood.org to find a drive near you, or pay a visit to the Red Cross blood center on Reservoir Avenue off Mammoth Road in Manchester.

The annual NH March for Life is organized by NH Right to Life.
The annual NH March for Life is organized by NH Right to Life.

For educational and political work on the life issues in New Hampshire, consider supporting New Hampshire Right to Life and Cornerstone Policy Research. (Full disclosure: I’m a past board member of NHRTL and Cornerstone is a client of mine.)

Look in your own back yard. Local road races often benefit local charities; check them out. Is there a club or clearinghouse in your town that keeps up with community needs? For example: a few years back when we had that second “hundred-year-flood” in two years, several homes in my town needed extensive work. One of the service clubs put out a call for assistance, and we basically had a two-day town-wide rebuilding party. (I learned I can tear down soaked drywall like a pro.) If you’re a member of a church, do you have an ongoing local project? Each town has its own needs, and no one knows a town better than its own residents.

Farther afield, And Then There Were None serves abortion-industry workers who want to leave the business. To my knowledge, there is NO other ministry doing what ATTWN is accomplishing.

My thanks and respect go to everyone who keeps these agencies going, whether as a volunteer or a donor or a staff member. Every day is “giving Tuesday.” Let’s make it count.

Edited to add updated links and information.

Don’t get mad, get even: give pro-life today

illustration: Office.com
illustration: Office.com

I’ll put the last line first: make a donation today, even if it’s only $5, to your local agency that provides pregnancy support or another life-affirming ministry without performing or referring for abortions. If New Hampshire Catholic Charities got donations in response to the brouhaha I describe here, for example, then the St. Charles Home and Our Place would benefit and might even be able to expand their services to more New Hampshire neighbors.

Why the pitch? Because the Planned Parenthood Action Fund recently had a fundraiser here in New Hampshire. Once it became public (most notably in the Boston Globe) that the New Hampshire Republican Party’s national committeeman Steve Duprey had attended, a social media fuss ensued.


Just a reminder: the national Republican party has a pro-life plank in its platform. So does the New Hampshire GOP. As one friend of mine said, “this is bad optics.” Yes, for starters.

For the record, Mr. Duprey says he didn’t realize the event was for the Action Fund. He is a longtime donor to PP’s “health”-related efforts (and of course, PP considers abortion part of health care). He didn’t realize he was attending an event that raised money for things like unseating Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. He acknowledged via Twitter (@SecretaryofFun) that it was “error” not to know in advance that it was an Action Fund event. My favorite social media summary via Granite Grok shows the Twitter exchange that elicited Mr. Duprey’s clarification.

My first thought when I heard about all this was something I can’t post on a family blog. My second thought was “so what else is new?” My third thought – which should have come first – is “don’t get mad, get even.” One gets even for such things by supporting life-affirming work, whether or not there’s a tax deduction involved.

My resources are limited. My “getting even” for today consisted of sending a small donation to a pregnancy care center, via a runner who participated in a 5k race for the center’s benefit. Does it match the recent donation by the NHGOP national committeeman to PP? Not by a long shot, but it sure beats wringing my hands over Republican leadership.

Sign up for next weekend’s CareNet walk. Deliver some baby-care supplies along with a check to a New Hampshire pregnancy care center. If you’re a member of a faith community, now’s the time for a special campaign to support women in crisis. My own church participates in an annual campaign (which kicks off this month) for New Hampshire Catholic Charities, the largest and most effective private human-services organization in the state. You may already be an adoptive parent or someone whose home is a haven for a pregnant woman with nowhere else to go.

As a recovering Republican, I humbly suggest this as well: if you’re a NHGOP donor, make your next donation to a pro-life organization, and give your reasons to the crew at party headquarters. After all, support for pro-life work is actually in line with the party platform. The party will still be there when you’re ready to send it your money again.

(I have held forth at some length about pro-lifers and the GOP. I am fond of campaigning, and I know there are campaigns yet to come in which I’ll support pro-life candidates with an R next to their names. The “pro-life” part will come first.)

As for Mr. Duprey, he can do what he wants with his money. He has his moments; I applaud his work with Casino-Free NH, which just achieved an unexpectedly decisive victory in defeating yet another casino bill. Imagine if he were to put that kind of savvy and experience into backing something like repeal of the buffer zone.

But never mind. I have no control over Mr. Duprey or his party, and I frankly don’t want it. What I do want is for his “error” to inspire a flood of financial support to New Hampshire’s pro-life agencies.

So, I’m back where I started: make a donation today, even if it’s only $5.

 

Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life: “The Feminist Case Against Abortion”

This is a recording of Feminists for Life president Serrin Foster speaking to a group of college students in 2001 (video from Vimeo, posted by The Veritas Forum). Her topic: The Feminist Case Against Abortion. Today, over a decade later, Foster continues to speak nationwide for FFL. She’ll be at Yale University this Saturday, September 20, 2014. Hearing her in person undoubtedly beats watching a video, but her thoughtful ideas are worth sharing either way.

A resource for the pro-life toolbox

One of my better finds at the CPAC exhibit hall: a booklet called How to Speak Up for Life: Questions and Answers Driving the Debate. It’s sixteen pages of good information, including notes and references. I wish I’d picked up a handful instead of just one. You can view it yourself at scribd.com.

Thumbs up to the organizations that worked together to produce the brochure: Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, Americans United for Life, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, March for Life, and the Charlotte Lozier Institute (educational arm of the Susan B. Anthony List).