American Red Cross
- American Red Cross: I’ve been a volunteer with the Red Cross since 2005, when I signed up to go help the victims of hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. Read about my deployment to the Gulf Coast.
These days, I stay closer to home and am a Disaster Action Team captain. I am on call (5pm to 8am) for a week at a time, every six weeks. I go out in the middle of the night, with my team, to help the victims of natural disasters such as floods or fires. We make sure they have food, clothing, shoes, health needs, and short-term shelter. Your donations do real good when you send your extra money to the Red Cross. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. You never forget the smell of smoke, the tears, or the hugs of gratitude.
Bring Change 2 Mind
- Bring Change 2 Mind: In recent years, I’ve been writing about a world in which a small percentage of mentally ill individuals have merely been misdiagnosed. Through the course of these projects, I’ve done a great deal of research into mental illness and have had my eyes opened about it. The Bring Change 2 Mind charity, founded by Glenn Close, has the goal of making people aware of mental illness and eliminating the stigma that comes with it. We have all loved someone who has struggled with mental illness.
- Children International: I have sponsored Marlyn (from Colombia) and Bertha (from Zambia) since 2003, and I take enormous delight in watching them grow. They send me letters and draw me pictures, and I write to them as well. I like to think of them as my kids. And, they are so beautiful!
The girls’ families are very poor. Marlyn lives with her parents and two brothers in a house with a dirt floor and corrugated metal roof. Their water is delivered by truck in a barrel. Their toilet is an open field. The family income is approx. $90/month.
Bertha lives with her aunt because her mother is dead and her father is missing. She lives in a house with a concrete floor and walls. She gets her water from community faucets, and they use a community latrine. Bertha’s family’s income is approx. $50/month.
In the years that I’ve been in contact with these girls, and other children before them, I’ve never seen any indication that this charity is a scam. Time and again, I’m delighted by how they encourage me to reach out to the girls and encourage with words as well as with my donation. And I feel their love coming back to me.
I chose Bertha and Marlyn because they’re both little Sagittarians. Their birthdays fall the day before and 3 days before mine, respectively.