Friday, January 30, 2009

Save a Girl From Bonded Servitude for half-price!

Some kind benefactor has donated $25,000 to match contributions to 3 charities that operate in Nepal. Included in that little list is Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation, to whom I sent $100 last fall after an awkward massage. To get your donation doubled, you need to give through GlobalGiving before the $25K runs out!

$100 rescues a little Nepalese girl from bonded servitude, pays her school fees for a year, and supplies her family with a piglet. Now you can generate that impact with just $50 out of your own pocket thanks to the Phil Stapleton Memorial. Sweet!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cooking for the Kids

Most people in my "real world" sphere of influence roll their eyes at some of the stuff I want to try, be it skydiving in Buenos Aires or feeding runaway teenagers. Of course, that quality probably makes my blog(s) fun to read! Well, one of my readers with the time, the interest, and the skills wants to team up and cook for the kids at Homeless Youth Services this Saturday night.

I'll admit, it was a little scary making those deliveries at first - the neighborhood is pretty desolate at night (it's near the Lincoln tunnel), the facility feels a lot like a garage (bare concrete, metal cages, etc), and the kids give you an assessing look that could be curiosity, could be suspicion, could be determining if you're worth mugging. But now that some of them recognize me - and after my last delivery, a lot more of them probably will from now on - and I know what to expect, well, I'm used to it...and I want to participate more actively.

So thank you, Dani, for approaching me about preparing dinner for them this Saturday evening. I'll help you with the unfamiliar and at times intimidating environment, and you teach me to cook for 30-40 teenagers. I'm looking forward to this!

Friday, January 23, 2009

$30 bought me 30 Thank You's

I normally drop off supplies (these days, mostly of the edible persuasion) at the homeless teen shelter every week, but the weather has been too bitter and nasty to make that 2.7-mile roundtrip walk. That didn't stop me from accumulating lots of items from their wish list though, so this delivery got packed up in my full-size 25" wheelie suitcase...4 boxes of cereal (Frosted Flakes, Special K, Cap'n Crunch), 2 containers of oatmeal, 20 lbs of chicken legs, 30 eggs, 4 lbs of bacon, 1 lb grated parmesan, 2 boxes of cake mix with matching frosting, and a bagful of free sample-size Head & Shoulders shampoo and Old Spice deodorant that were collecting dust in a closet at my mom's office. Pretty good haul for $30!

In good, that one of the boys who watched me unpack the suitcase of goodies stood in the middle of the room and shouted, "Everyone, everyone, listen up! Instead of going out and getting drunk or getting a little something something on a Friday night, she came all the way down here with a big load of REAL SHIT for us!!! And we all need to thank her, every single one of us."

You know what I think really did it? The bacon. I gave them eggs and bacon, and one of the kids who loves to do the cooking, well, his jaw hit the floor. Some of the others actually looked confused that I'd brought them name brand cereal (that would be the "real shit"). Their pantry shelving just had bags of rice, cans of beans and tomatoes, and a lot of recently-delivered rolls. I wish I'd looked more closely when they opened the fridge, but I did register that there was plenty of room for the chicken, bacon, eggs and cheese....and no milk or fruit. No milk? How were they going to eat the 2.5 boxes of corn flakes they had lined up for tomorrow's breakfast -- dry?

On the way out, an exotic trannie and one of the girls who gets excited whenever I bring socks stopped me. Sock girl wanted me to know how much they really appreciated the donations because "people would rather give to shelters for single men than teenagers from the other side", meaning that many of them were gay. I just said kids are kids, and should never be forgotten...and went on my way with my empty wheelie bag, thinking how much better that $30 was spent than if I'd gone to a bar and had, what, 3 drinks?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Goods4Girls Update

I was very sorry to note that Crunchy Chicken is shutting down her Goods4Girls project, which collects donated cloth menstrual pads for distribution at schools and orphanages in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, etc. because her time is stretched too thin. Several people, including myself, left comments to the effect that we'd love to take on all or part of the project and keep it going. I imagine she'll be making a decision soon, since the domain name expires in a few weeks.

If not, and this is the end of Goods4Girls, I might try to do what I can on my own. If things go as planned, I'll be booking my ticket to Nairobi for a 3-week stint in East Africa, where I'll be spending half the time helping out at The Baobab Home. As I like to do when I travel to impoverished parts of the world, I was planning to bring out some of their Wish List supplies. Even if the scope of their work doesn't include adolescent girls, I'm sure they'll know how to direct me!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Food Bank Needs a Bail-out

Judging from the Yahoo groups online Wish List put out periodically by the Homeless Youth Services shelter where I drop off donations, the New York Food Bank must be approaching bankruptcy. First they eliminated eggs, then fruit, then milk. And judging from the current Wish List, they are no long supplying any protein, and even such stand-bys as cereal, pasta, and canned tuna are scarce.

Well, the weather isn't too cold today, so I'll be making the rounds of assorted supermarkets and pharmacies to take advantage of their specials to add to the milk, eggs and tangerines I picked up yesterday. The final item on this week's Wish List reads:

We need food! The food bank and similar organizations are stretched thin, and we're feeling it. Tonight I served pasta and sauce (no cheese or meat) and tomorrow we're going to be down to beans and rice . . . bring a friend and a bag of groceries and cook dinner for the shelter or drop off some of the following items:
parmesan cheese
ground beef
hot dogs
spices: esp. adobo, onion and garlic powder, cumin
fresh fruit esp. oranges and bananas
popcorn kernals - we have a popper

I had an exceptionally good week of business, so I'll be doubling my usual weekly expenditure on this shelter.