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.

This week by the numbers: 4/22/2013

Happy Monday! Here are some things to keep in mind as you fill in your calendar for the week and charge up your laptop or smartphone. This will become a weekly feature on Leaven. I welcome your suggestions for events to add in the weeks to come.

Three people to follow on Twitter:

  • @ovideAUL. New Hampshire’s Ovide Lamontagne will take on his new job next month as General Counsel for Americans United for Life, and this will be the way to follow his projects.
  • @alvedaking. Dr. Alveda King is live-tweeting from the Gosnell trial this week.
  • @jimgeraghty. Jim Geraghty is a writer for National Review, and while is beat is national politics, he always hits the mark when he addresses the life issues. I look forward to his Morning Jolt email every weekday.

Two events for your consideration:

  • At 2:50 today, join people from Boston and beyond in a moment of silence and prayer to observe the one-week mark following the atrocity committed at April 15’s Boston Marathon. Please, not “tragedy.” This is what an atrocity looks like, folks. 
  • Thursday at Planned Parenthood in Manchester (Pennacook Street, a block east of Elm), there will be a prayer vigil from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a weekly event, in view of the fact that Thursday is surgical abortion day at the facility. You are welcome to join this absolutely peaceful prayer witness for any length of time. See the Pray for Life Center Facebook page for ongoing information about this recurring event.

One site to bookmark: www.nh.gov.  This one is basic. If you aren’t already familiar with this portal to state government, spend some time checking it out. The legislative link alone makes it a treasure, but there’s much more. Look up bills, check the date of hearings, see what our governor is up to. This is a tool for anyone keeping an eye on New Hampshire political developments in any area, not just pro-life issues.

One volunteer opportunity: This is a shameless plug for a project near and dear to me. Give blood. You can find blood drives in our area through the Red Cross blood services web site. Last Monday’s Boston bombings brought the ongoing need for blood donations into sharp relief. Most of the people relying on these donations will never make the news, but trust me, they’re our neighbors. I’m a coward with needles, but seeing people I love benefit from blood donations helped me get over that. This is pro-life work below the radar, and it’s essential work.

More next week. Keep me posted if there’s an event in your area that’s helping to build a culture of life.