February 26, 2010

A Mickey Mouse Idea, But In a Good Way

Disney is looking for a few volunteers…to volunteer. During its “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” promotion, Disney is offering a free day's admission to individuals who complete one day of volunteer work. And good for the Magical Kingdom (I think that's what they call it) for coming up with such a neat, community-minded initiative.

The deal is good for admission at Disneyland or Disneyworld. All you have to do is go to Disney’s web site, sign up, then just choose one of hundreds of volunteer opportunities available courtesy of the Hands On Network. After you’ve completed your service, Disney will magically send you a voucher redeemable for a one-day, one-theme park ticket.

Of course there are a few rules: you must be 18 years of age or older to register, the offer is good for only eight (Eight! Dad, give Mom a rest!) members per household, and an adult must accompany kids ages 6 to 17 to the volunteer event. Oh, and you must be at least 6 years old to participate in the program. So go on, give a day, get a day, courtesy of Walt Disney.

I don’t know about you, but “I’m going to Disneyland” (or World, I can’t decide) this summer.

February 25, 2010

Hand Over Your Lunch Money

Here’s a clever fundraising idea from all the way up north in the beautiful city of Toronto. Today, February 25, thousands of Torontonians will be brown bagging it in honor of Lunch Money Day.

This annual event is the main fund-raising campaign for Second Harvest, an organization that runs a food rescue and redistribution program in Toronto, picking up food from grocery stores, distributors and food manufacturers and passing it on to food banks, shelters drop-in centers.

The idea is simple. Just take the money that you would’ve normally spent on that limp deli sandwich and donate it to Second Harvest instead. You should be bringing food from home to save money anyway - there's a global recession on, for God's sake.

Second Harvest will do the rest. Every dollar donated buys two meals, so every donation goes a long way to feeding the hungry.

Here's a thought: why don't we start a Lunch Money Day (or Morning Coffee Money Day) here in the US to help feed our hungry compatriots?

February 24, 2010

That's SO Haiti's

If you haven’t already donated cash for the relief effort in Haiti, here are two fashionable ways you can still help out having to send a text or pick up the phone (you lazy ne'er-do-wells).

FEED (founded by Lauren Bush and Ellen Gustafson) has created a brand new limited-edition FEED Haiti tote. The 12" high by 19" wide bag - made from 100 percent organic cotton - retails for $35. Buying just one of these bright, fashionable totes will provide 50 school meals for children in Haiti via the UN World Food Program’s School Feeding initiative. Get yours here.

If you’re already stocked up on tote bags, how about a “Fashion for Haiti” T-shirt from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)? The black and lime green logo features the words "Hope Help Heal Haiti" and "To Haiti with Love." Net proceeds from the sale of the stylish $25.00 tees (for men and women) will benefit the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. You can find them at dozens of retailers across the country including Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, Neiman Marcus, and Coach. Not to mention at GNC and on QVC. Click here for a full list.

February 22, 2010

Home Cookin'

If you’re looking for a way to save a bit of cash and make a green contribution, join Huffington Post in its “Week of Eating in Challenge” this week. Simply click here to take the pledge to cook all of your own food from today (February 22) through February 28.

There are no strict rules for this challenge. Just try to use all-natural, local ingredients to prepare your meals and avoid pre-packaged foods like frozen dinners and canned goods. And, of course, avoid all takeout and delivery. Throughout the week, Huffington Post will be posting delicious recipes from readers as well as tips from Cathy Erway, blogger and author of "The Art of Eating In."

Click here to sign up and to share the challenge with all your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Who knows, maybe you’ll even lose a few pounds in the process.

February 19, 2010

An Origin(al) Recycling Initiative

I’ve always been a huge fan of Origins (bless you, Spot Remover). So I was thrilled when I heard about its new recycling program, one that doesn’t discriminate against brand, price or size.

Beginning March 29 you can bring in to any Origins retailer any empty cosmetic tubes, bottles, caps, jars, etc. – regardless of the manufacturer(they’ll even take store bought brands) - and they’ll recycle it for you.

And to thank you for all of your hard work and “goodness,” they’ll treat you to a free sample of your favorite Origins skincare products. Click here to learn more about the program and to see if your city is participating in their “Return to Origins Recycling Event” on April 2 (more freebies!).

February 17, 2010

The Crafty Icon and the Free Bag of Pet Food

Unless you live in a cave, you’re probably aware of how crafty Martha Stewart is, but did you also know that she’s a huge animal lover? If you don’t believe me, check out her blog, “The Daily Wag: Adventures of Francesca and Sharkey.” And as if that isn’t enough proof, Ms. Stewart has teamed up with a very well known pet food company for their “Purina ONE Tour for Heroes.”

You won’t actually find Martha at any of the tour stops, silly - she's busy being crafty somewhere else - but what you will find is a specially equipped mobile unit giving away free pet food (one bag per person) at local shelters in select cities including Jacksonville, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Pt. Washington, NY. It's a good idea, because in these dire economic times one has to wonder if some people are finding pet food a tough expense to bear. One free bag certainly won't solve the problem, but every little bit counts.

If you don’t happen live near one of those cities, you can still do your part to help homeless animals. Simply click here to search their database of more than 65,000 adoptable pets, then just share their adorable profiles on your Facebook page. For every pet shared until March 15, Purina will donate $1 worth of pet food to food banks across the country (up to $50,000 worth of pet food).

So, please, do be a hero, and click here.

February 16, 2010

Piece of Cake

Kelly Ripa is back with a fun new promotion for Electrolux to help raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Simply go here to vote for your favorite cake in “Kelly’s Cake Off” and for every vote, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, whose mission is to fund research to find a method of early detection and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer.

There are five delish cakes to choose from including “Fall for Me, “Take a Bow,” “Mod Squad,” “Here Comes the Sun” and, my favorite (and unfortunately in last place), “Snow Day.”
You can also “bake” and “decorate” your own cake and send it to a friend to raise another $1 for this great cause. Sounds like this could all get very expensive for Electrolux. And best of all, every time you vote or bake, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a brand new Electrolux Induction Range. So you can start baking some real cakes, perhaps.

February 12, 2010

Clean Getaway

If you’ve ever been inspired by the thought of heading off to Africa on a humanitarian mission, then this contest is for you. Cover Girl’s new “Clean for Clean” campaign wants to know how you give back to make the world a better place, and why this makes you beautiful inside and out. And if you’ve got the “winning” answer, that African adventure might just be yours.

For every video entry submitted, Cover Girl will donate one week’s worth of water to a child in need, courtesy of the excellent Children’s Safe Drinking Water program. The contest is open to females between the ages of 21 and 40 who don’t reside in Maine (what you guys in New England did to offend the Masters of Make-up I have no idea, but them's the rules). You’ve got until June 30 to send in your best footage. Just remember to keep it ... clean. Click here for more details and to enter.

February 11, 2010

Oh To Be Young (and Preturnaturally Gifted and Conscienscious) Again

Does your kid have what it takes to win a “Kohl’s Kids Who Care” scholarship? Do they spend hours helping out at the local animal shelter or putting their entrepreneurial gifts (think lemonade stands, bake sales) to work raising money for the homeless? If so, they could be the recipient of a $10,000 scholarship from Kohl’s.

This year the company's awarding more than $410,000 in scholarships and prizes, ranging from $50 gift cards to 10 $10,000 scholarships. Your over-achieving youngster must be age 6-18 to qualify - and proof of age is required.

You’ve got until March 15 to enter or to nominate an outstanding young volunteer in your community. The rules require that you must be at least 21 to do so, however.

To give you an idea of what you’re up against, last year's winners included 8-year-old Hannah Turner, who collected 100,000 clothing items for homeless people; 12-year-old Rocco Fiorentino, who contributed to advocacy efforts that led to her legislature dedicating $1.2 million to Braille education and services in New Jersey; and 17-year-old Dallas Jessup, who raised nearly $1 million and founded a community service project that empowered girls to fight back against abduction and assault.

Wow. Beat that!

February 10, 2010

Happy Spays Are Here Again

You’ve got less than two weeks to sort through all of those adorable pet photos clogging up your hard drive and pick the best one(s) to enter into this year’s Spay Day Online Photo Contest. Hosted by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International -- with big time sponsors Visa and Zazzle -- this cool contest raises funds for Spay Day on February 23, an annual event to inspire people to save animals' lives by spaying or neutering cats and dogs (rabbits too).

The contest has two sets of winners. The first is determined by the amount of money raised by sharing your pet’s photo and “story” with your friends and family (each vote is just a $1 donation). The second is decided by a panel of celebrity judges (including Nigel Barker, photographer and judge on America’s Next Top Model). Think of the two awards as "People's Choice" and "Judge's Selection" (they should hire me to sort out their nomenclature, no?).

There are loads of prizes you can win in each category including a weekend trip for two to Hollywood to attend the Genesis Awards, a professional studio session for your pet, various gift certificates for you and your pet, and, last but not least, bragging rites for having your pet featured on The Humane Society homepage in March.

The contest isn’t limited to just dogs and cats either. You can also enter -- this is great -- rabbits, horses, burros (!), donkeys, mules, miniature horses, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, ferrets, mice, rats, canaries, budgies, cockatiels, zebra finches, society finches, lovebirds, and freshwater aquarium fish (no saltwater species, please: sharks need not apply). There’s some stiff competition out there already, including top dog “Cupidon” and "Granny" the cat tied with 1,650 votes apiece. What a race!

Go here to submit a photograph of your pet and answer a brief questionnaire, including “my person,” “nickname,” “favorite thing to do” and “most endearing bad habit.” You’ve got until 5 p.m. EST Feb. 26. And not a minute more. You can also click here to find a Spay Day event in your area.

February 9, 2010

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

Civic Ventures – a nonprofit think tank that works to engage baby boomers to become a force for social change (as if ending the Vietnam War and rocketing The Grateful Dead to global superstardom wasn't enough!) – is looking for 10 social innovators over the age of 60 for this year’s Purpose Prize.

They’re giving away five awards of $100,000 and five $50,000 prizes to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional vision, determination and entrepreneurial spirit in addressing local and national problems - from health care to the environment, poverty to education. Or in their words “a compelling role model whose own story will serve to inspire others, not only to think differently about the second half of life, but also to take on new leadership roles and perform significant service in an encore career.”

You've got to love the idea of an "encore career" - beats retirement, right? If you or someone you know fits the bill of Silvering Hyper-Achiever with a Conscience, click here and fill out the nomination form. The deadline is March 5. Rock on!

February 5, 2010

Kitty Riddle

I'd guess you'd only celebrate February 5 if it's your birthday. Pretty unremarkable date, right? (I grant you that it is "Disaster Day," "World Nutella Day" and Mexican "Constitution Day," but I believe this only serves to underscore my point.)

Well, where we see just another boring old square in the calendar, the cunning folks at FreeKibblekat.com smell opportunity. They're marking February 5 by donating five times the usual amount of kibble (50 pieces as opposed to the usual 10) to help feed homeless kitties in shelters across the country.

All you have to do is answer a fun “meow trivia” question on their site. Right or wrong, your answer helps provide a meal for cats in need. Click here to play. Happy February 5th!

February 3, 2010

May Your Cup Runneth Over

Starbucks, you’d better watch your back. 7-Eleven just launched a cool new promotion aimed at coffee (and tea) drinkers across the country. Its “Coffee Cup with a Cause” campaign aims to raise more than $2 million for various charities this year and might just steal away some of your morning jump-start expenditure.

Each month, 7-Eleven will introduce a limited edition 20 oz. cup designed by a high-profile entertainer or athlete. Each cup of coffee (or any other hot beverage) sold will benefit the featured celebrity’s charity of choice.

The “inaugural” cup will be designed by Nicole Richie, Joel Madden and Benji Madden. The proceeds will benefit The Richie-Madden Children’s Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for local, national and international charities that improve the lives of children

7-Eleven is providing a guaranteed $250,000 minimum donation to each charity, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting your very own limited-edition, celebrity-designed cup o’ joe. I can't vouch for the coffee, but the cups sound pretty cool and your caffeine addiction can help support people in need. Drink up!

February 2, 2010

Green Dogs

Is your dog doing everything it can to reduce its carbon paw print? Think he (or she) has what it takes to be “Green Dog of the Year?” Mother Nature Network wants to know, and has announced a new competition to showcase pets who are raised in "an environmentally conscious household" and love the great outdoors. Your pup also has to "find joy in the natural world" (as opposed to the unnatural world - so I wouldn't bother mentioning the hours it spends on the couch connecting with other dogs in Second Life.)

The winner will be named “Green Dog of the Year”, be featured on the home page of Mother Nature Network (MNN.com), and win a year's supply of Eukanuba's Naturally Wild Formula dog food.

There are a few tips for budding eco-hounds here. You can also get a peek at past winners. You have until February 12 to send them photos of your favorite four-legged environmentalist doing his/her part to reduce his/her impact on the Earth. Then they’ll decide who’s the greenest of them all.

February 1, 2010

Christmas in February?

Call me crazy, but having a holiday greeting card contest in February seems a wee bit premature -- or maybe I'm just bitter because I have holiday belly bloat and I'm sick of walking around the limp discarded Christmas trees that still blight every street corner (who's responsible for taking those things away, by the way? Evidently no one).

Nevertheless, UNICEF and Pier 1 Imports are kicking off the 19th annual Holiday Greeting Card contest TODAY (February 1). Kids ages 14 and under are invited to submit their best artwork (hand-drawn only, please) - using the theme “Joy to the World” - by March 5.

The winning design will become an official UNICEF holiday greeting card for the 2010 holiday season and will be sold at Pier 1 Imports stores nationwide. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of the winning card go to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to help in its mission to decrease the number of daily, preventable childhood deaths from 24,000 to zero.

The winner will also receive a $5,000 scholarship and $500-worth of art supplies for their school.

You can find entry forms at your local Pier I store, online at www.pier1.com and www.unicefusa.org, or just call 1-800-245-4595 to request a form by mail.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and may 2011 be an improvement on 2010!