Black Friday is almost upon us. Many of you will be seizing on terrific bargains and combing through gift guides so you can pick up the best stuff for you and your loved ones. The generosity of the holiday season is wonderful, and we here at Collider want you to extend your generosity to those who could really use your aid.
Adam, Evan, Matt, Perri, and Steve have each selected a charitable organization we think is worthy of your donation. Obviously, you’re free to donate to more than one. We here at Collider just hope that in this season of giving, you’ll give to those who are less fortunate. You may not know the person you’re helping, but you’re helping them more than you can know. Read about our selected charities after the jump.
Despite the fact that they may be easy for some to ignore, poverty and homelessness are very real issues in this country that affect very real people. The vast majority of those that are homeless are living within a system in which the odds are heavily stacked against them, making it difficult to get back on their feet. We all need a little help sometimes, and so as you prepare to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with your family, I’d urge you to think about those living under less fortunate circumstances. I’d like to recommend two great charities (both rated “A” and above from Charity Watch) to donate to that tackle the issue of homelessness from two fronts.
BRC (Bowery Residents’ Committee) works directly with those affected, offering “a hand up, not a hand out” as they seek to provide those in need with the opportunity to reach their potential through outreach, transitional housing, outpatient treatment, employment services, permanent housing, and senior services. But the issue of homelessness cannot be solved without systemic change in our government, and so I’d also point you towards the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This charity works directly with the Administration, Congress, and local, state, and national partners to prevent and bring an end to homelessness though significant policy changes. Please consider donating to one or both of these charities.
BRC (Bowery Residents’ Committee): http://www.brc.org/index.php
National Alliance to End Homelessness: http://www.endhomelessness.org/
Evan Recommends: EB Research Partnership
There are a lot of worthy charities out there but I wanted to support one for a disease that I have some personal experience with. My best friend Stuart, from 2nd until 8th grade, had EB. While it’s quite rare to even have the recessive gene and requires two parents who have that in order to create the dominant gene, it’s a devastating genetic disorder that causes the skin to blister and fall off. Stuart appeared normal at birth, but by the time he was in the second grade his fingers and toes were fused together in fleshy lumps and he could no longer walk. He had an incredibly advanced version of the disease. He couldn’t eat solid foods because they would lacerate his esophagus and internal organs, therefore he required that Ensure be funneled into a surgically created hole in his abdomen several times a day. He could not use the restroom by himself. Baths were too painful so he could only be cleaned once a week. He had to sleep with a mesh tent between his body and his sheets lest the sheets stick to him and peel his skin off. His bed was always covered in blood and fragments of dried skin littered his floor. The worst thing is, he was a vital, sweet, intelligent kid who desperately wanted a normal life. A girlfriend. To walk. But he knew he would have none of it. Eventually he became too much for me to care for as a friend and, as an immature 8th grader, I severed ties with him in a painful series of exchanges. Within six months he would be dead. I feel like the very least I can do is to create awareness about his affliction and honor his memory that way.
Please consider donating to the EB Research Partnership so we can have a few more children on this planet that have a chance at a normal life. [The above image is of Shane, who is a featured face of EB on their website]
EB Research Partnership: http://ebresearch.org
Matt Recommends: Toys for Tots
Yes, Toys for Tots a popular choice for the holidays, but it’s popular because we innately know how important it is to let all children join in the season regardless of their parents’ income. When you’re a young child, a toy can become your life raft. It’s the thing you cling to when times are tough and can provide a welcome distraction from hardship. It’s also a reminder to young people that there are people out there who care about your happiness even though you might never meet them. Finally, it helps parents who may want to give their kids gifts, but lack the money to provide presents. Click the link below to donate, or if you want to be more specific in your donation, you can also find out where to drop off toys and books.
Toys for Tots: toysfortots.org
Perri Recommends: Sock Fip
I’ve always thought of myself as a dog person, but when my roommate (my sister) insisted we get a cat, I gave in and went for it. A local pet store just received a litter of Hurricane Irene rescue kittens, we took one home and I instantly fell in love with him. All was well until one morning I noticed one of Otto’s eyes didn’t look right. It wasn’t anything terrible looking – in fact, I bet most people wouldn’t even have noticed it – but I brought him to the vet and that’s when he was diagnosed with something called FIP. I had no clue what FIP was so immediately thought, “It’ll be okay. We’ll get him the medicine he needs and be done with it.” Mere moments later I learned that wasn’t an option because FIP, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, is 100% fatal.
I took care of Otto for the next four months until he passed away and I’ve been supporting Sock FIP ever since, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness and raising funds for research. They’ve made some headway, but there’s still no way to prevent or cure the condition. What I experienced with Otto is easily one of the toughest things I’ve ever been through in my life, but I’m deeply grateful for the time I had with him. Thanks to Otto, I now have Dewey and am proud to call myself a cat person.
Sock Fip: http://www.sockfip.org/
Steve Recommends: Kitten Rescue
Over the past few years I’ve fallen head over heels in love. While I’ve tried again and again to be strong and avoid their loving gaze, it hasn’t worked; I’m a complete pushover for my cats. When they meow in the mornings or want to cuddle under the covers, I’m immediately awake. I can’t help it. They’re very cute.
Since moving into our new place, I’ve befriended a number of feral cats. At first I’d put out some food. Then I started leaving water. Slowly I started noticing the same cats coming again and again and one night, outside my window, I heard what sounded like a cat dying. The meows were desperate. When I went outside to check on what was making the noise, I found two tiny kittens that were just a few weeks old. I managed to get them inside where I gave them food and water. Knowing I couldn’t take care of them the way they needed to be cared for, I contacted kitten rescue and they’ve managed to survive and thrive.
While many people know there are a lot of feral animals on the streets, what you might not realize is the amount of people and resources it takes to care for these under-appreciated animals. So while you might want to spend all your money buying the newest sneakers, video games, or shiny new toy, I’d like to suggest putting a few dollars towards your local no-kill animal shelter. There are some in every community and they can always use the help. In the L.A. area I’d recommend kittenrescue.org and http://nkla.org/
Kitten Rescue: http://www.kittenrescue.org/index.php/donate/