March 31, 2010

That's a Lot of Eggs

This Easter food banks all over the country will be up to their ears in eggs (12 million to be exact) thanks to United Egg Producers. The donations will be made via Feeding America - the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity - and will span 90 cities in 33 states.

Unfortunately, not all the eggs are cage-free, organic, and/or free range, but they will help feed a lot of people who would otherwise go hungry. Which is pretty sp-egg-tacular!

March 30, 2010

Can Do Spirit

If you’ve got a cat that prefers the canned stuff, hopefully you’re tossing all the empties into the big blue bin (yep, they’re aluminum and should be recycled, just like soda cans). Apparently only half of you cat owners are recycling all of your cans all of the time, however. Fifty percent of you are therefore living in a state of shame and need to redeem yourselves stat.

With the recent launch of its “Together We Can” campaign, Purina hopes to encourage all pet owners (including canine keepers) to recycle their pet-food cans. There's even an online Purina pledge you can take which, until May 30, will generate up to $100,000 in Purina donations to Keep America Beautiful, a nationwide nonprofit that creates cleaner, greener communities by preventing litter, reducing waste, recycling, planting trees, and spurring volunteer action.

Together, we can do it!

March 29, 2010

Sweet Deal for Made-A-Wish

If any of you do-gooders out there still rely on boxed dessert mixes (gasp!), this post is for you. Betty Crocker is back for the second–year kickoff of “Stirring up Wishes,” a program that supports the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses and brings hope and happiness to their lives.

Simply buy one of Betty’s specially-marked packages of cake (including new gluten-free!), muffin, frosting, cookie, or brownie mixes, Warm Delights desserts or Bisquick products, and a 10 cent donation will be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (with a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,00 and a maximum donation of $500,000.)

No time to bake? You can still help grant a wish by visiting StirringUpWishes.com until April 15 and when you donate $5 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation you’ll get $5 worth of downloadable Betty Crocker coupons.

Sweet!

March 26, 2010

Who Couldn't Use a Little More Pukka Grub?

Jamie Oliver (aka The Naked Chef) has crossed the pond to start an all-out food revolution in our great (big fat) nation. It's saying something when even the British are complaining about our food, but that's a post for another day.

If you want America’s kids to get fresh, healthy food at school (instead of nasty fried fish sticks and instant mashed potatoes), please show your support by signing this petition.

More than 50,000 people so far are saying no to junk food in school cafeterias and yes to freshly-cooked nutritious meals (California is in the lead with over 7,600 signatures) simply by signing their name and email address on the dotted line.

He’s also busy stirring up a revolution on television with his new show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.” The boisterous British chef heads to Huntington, West Virginia - otherwise known as the unhealthiest city in America - to kick off his new cooking initiative. He hopes to get Huntington off the list and ignite a chain reaction of positive change across the country.

The revolution starts tonight (March 26) at 8:00 PM EST on ABC. Click here to sign the petition, check out Jamie’s favorite recipes, wine picks, and even get a peek at his diary.

March 25, 2010

Flip It

On Saturday, March 27 at 8:30 pm local time, hundreds of millions of people from around the world will switch off their lights in honor of Earth Hour. Last year more than 4,000 cities in 87 countries went dark. Here in the United States over 80 million people in 318 cities said “no” to light in the eight o’clock hour, and “yes” to making a switch to cleaner air, a strong economic future and a more secure nation.

If the Las Vegas Strip, the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower can ditch the power for a single hour, surely you can do it!

Click here for more information on how to vote for action, all with the flip of a switch.

March 24, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hall (of Fame)

Cal Ripken, Jr. and the Energizer Bunny(R) are looking for stories about unstoppable people who are living life with vim and vigor for this year’s “Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame.” Perhaps deliberately, certainly serendipitously, this rabbit-raising rally cry takes place over Easter, the time of year when we all take a moment to celebrate the humble bunny. And eggs and Jesus.

The national baseball hall of famer (and honorary inductee into the EKGHOF, as it will henceforth be known) has teamed up with America’s most energetic bunny – and the competition for that title is steep – to search for its fifth inductee since its 2006 launch.

If you know someone who has the spirit and enthusiasm of the Energizer Bunny, they could walk away with a $10,000 cash prize, a $5,000 donation to their favorite charity, and of course the opportunity to become the fifth inductee into the EKGHOF, which includes a special induction ceremony at the EKGHOF in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m going to write EKGHOF again just because I can.

The contest keeps going and going until April 23. After that, nominees will be narrowed to a field of 100 semifinalists who will be honored in their respective hometowns.

Next, a panel of judges will select 10 finalists whose names and stories will be posted online. (If you’re using another brand of battery while reading this you may not get to the end of the post, but Energizer Bunnies are no doubt as fresh now as they were when I started.)

After that, from July 6 to August 20, individuals can go online and vote for their favorite “Bunny,” at which point it all starts to sound a bit Hugh Hefner. Each vote will trigger a $1.00 donation from Energizer to the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged young people across America through baseball-themed programs.

Click here to read about the four elite members of the EKGHOF as well the 36 finalists that have been honored over the past four years.

March 23, 2010

Join the Festivities

Twestival (or Twitter Festival) is a globally held event coordinated by the twitter community to help raise money for charitable causes. At last year’s Twestival, more than 1,000 volunteers and 10,000 donors raised more than $250,000 to provide clean and safe drinking water for more than 17,000 people.

Rest assured, all of the events are organized 100% by volunteers and 100% of all ticket sales go directly to project costs.

The next Twestival takes place this Thursday, March 25 to help raise money for Concern Worldwide, an international humanitarian organization transforming the lives of the world’s poorest, most marginalized children through access to education.

If you can’t make it to one of the fundraising events in more than 200 (and growing) global cities including London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Beijing, Bangalore and Sydney, you can also:

-donate here (100% of all donations go to fund education projects with Concern Worldwide)

- download tracks – for a small fee and some twitter love - from cool artists like Moby, Jet, and Metric at Twestival.fm


- check out the celebrity Auction140 on eBay and bid on items including a phone call from Justin Bieber, a meet and greet with Ann Curry, or a signed book from Jamie Oliver

OR, last, but not least...

- purchase your very own Twestival T-shirt announcing that “I Tweeted. I Met. I Gave.”

March 19, 2010

Kudos for Kids

The American Humane Association is on the lookout for America’s kindest kids for its popular “Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest.” In celebration of its 95th annual “Be Kind to Animals Week” May 3-9, the AHA is accepting nominations for young people who – you guessed it – show extraordinary kindness to animals.

You’ve got until April 15 (otherwise known as Tax Day) to nominate a terrific kid in either the 6-12 year old or 13-17 year old category. In each age group, the grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and the runner-up will receive $500.

Click here for contest rules and to fill out a nomination form for your favorite kind kid.

March 18, 2010

Credit Worthy

American Express is “expressing” its charitable intentions by partnering with Takepart.com (created by Participant Media, the brilliant minds behind groundbreaking films like "The Cove" and "Food Inc.") to create the Members Project, a simple idea that will provide large wads of cash to deserving charities.

(Apologies for once again blogging about an idea from Corporate America, but the big companies have the big bucks to pay the big PR firms to come up with the big programs that give big money to awesome charities who richly deserve support. Means and ends, right?)

Whether you're an Amex cardholder or not, you can register at TakePart.com/MembersProject to make a donation, volunteer for a local organization (you’ll be rewarded with points if you’re an Amex member) or vote for a charity that you think deserves additional funding from American Express.

You can vote once a week for the charity of your choice, and every three months five selected organizations will each receive $200,000. There are 50 charities to choose from (including my faves ASPCA and The Jane Goodall Institute) in categories such Arts & Culture, Community Development, Environment & Wildlife, Education and Health & Wellness.

So whether you're an Amex Blue, an Amex Platinum or an Amex Wannabe, sign up and let this credit card interest do some good.

March 12, 2010

Ditch the Denim

You’ve got until Sunday to gather up all your old denim (any brand, any style, any size) and bring it to the Gap, where it’ll be converted into eco-friendly insulation for the needy.

It’s all part of Cotton Inc.’s COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN" campaign, which over the past five years has converted more than 200 tons of recycled jeans into Ultra Touch Cotton Fiber insulation for more than 540 homes built in areas destroyed by natural disasters. This year, Gap came on board as the first retail sponsor of this cool annual event.

Since no good deed goes unrewarded, shoppers who recycle their denim by Sunday, March 14 at the Gap, babyGap, or GapKids will receive a 30 percent coupon off a new denim purchase. Admit it, those “skinny” jeans really aren’t that comfortable (or flattering), so why not put them to good use and help keep someone warm and dry.

March 11, 2010

Marching for Babies


I’ve previously written about the Million Baby Crawl, but today I’d like to draw your attention to a similar-sounding event called March for Babies.

It's worth spelling out the differences between the two: the Million Baby Crawl is online, doesn't feature real babies, and hopes to rid us of household toxins. In contrast, the March for Babies is a real march featuring real people, and, as its name suggests, is actually for babies.

More than one million people in hundreds of cities all over the country take part in what's touted as America's most popular annual perambulation to raise support and awareness for the March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. And, yes, I'm as sure as you are that "perambulation" wasn't used correctly in the preceding sentence, but you've got to give a girl marks for trying.

Most of the events take place the last weekend of April, so you’ve got plenty of time to blackmail (I mean "invite") your family, friends and co-workers to join you on your team, start their own team, or simply throw a boatload of cash toward this very noble cause.

Click here to find a March for Babies revolution in your city.

March 9, 2010

Are You Kidney Me?


The March issue of Fitness magazine brought to my attention the staggering statistic that more than 26 million Americans, or one in nine adults, suffer from chronic kidney disease -- which often goes undetected until it’s fatal. When you combine that statistic with the current estimate that nearly 50 million Americans don't have health insurance, it’s truly a godsend that on March 11 –- otherwise known as World Kidney Day -- the National Kidney Foundation is sponsoring FREE screenings all over the country.

If you or someone you know might benefit from this life-saving test, please go to www.keeponline.org to find a testing site in your area. You can also click here to take the “Kidney Quiz” and captivate your compadres with your kick-ass kidney comprehension.

March 8, 2010

Meat Free Monday

Paul McCartney will always be famous for his music, but nowadays he’s also becoming quite a “rock star” for his promotion of Meat Free Mondays, a simple, effective way to cut carbon emissions and help slow global warming. The name literally says it all; simply abstain from eating any meat on Mondays (or any other day of the week.) It’s that easy.

McCartney came up with the idea back in 2006, when he learned from a UN report that the livestock industry releases more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transport sector. Gross, huh? Shortly thereafter, Meat Free Mondays was born in his native UK where it has slowly gathered momentum around the world, gaining supporters like Gwyneth Paltrow, Sheryl Crow, Chris Martin and Al Gore.

Click here to learn more about the meat-free movement, find tasty veggie recipes, and to hear to Mr. McCartney’s "Meat Free Monday” song.

March 5, 2010

The Drinking's On You

UNICEF is gearing up for its annual Tap Project the week of March 21-27. During this popular event, thousands of restaurants across the country ask their patrons to donate $1 for the tap water they’d normally get for free – regardless of whether they had to ASK the waiter for it or not.

All of the money raised helps UNICEF provide lifesaving water and sanitation to millions of children around the world. Their long-term goal is to reduce the number of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 50 percent by 2015, which will also save children at risk from waterborne illnesses - the second highest cause of preventable childhood deaths.

So hydrate, my friends, and click here to see a map of participating restaurants near you.

March 4, 2010

Triangle, You Were Late Going in to the Second Verse

In a valiant effort to ensure the rude health of the next generation of clarinetists, Nick “baby of the family” Jonas has teamed up with DoSomething.org and VH1 Save the Music Foundation to launch “Battle of the Bands,” a cool (albeit lame-named) campaign to keep music education in schools.

Budding musicians under the age of 25 have until April 16 to submit their best video (along with a short testimonial of why music matters to them). Sharing matters (i.e. number of votes), so make sure you post your masterpiece on Facebook and Twitter to rack up more votes than your fellow competitors.

Experts and celebrities will judge the final entries and choose one grand prize winner, who will receive $5,000 for their school music program and a trip to New York City to perform for music industry execs at the world famous Apollo Theater. Five runners-up will get $1,000 for their school music program, concert tickets, Fender guitars, and Rock Band video games. (A Fender Strat in a school music program? That's awesome!)

Click here for more information and to do your part to save music education.

March 3, 2010

Celebrate the Fairer (Read: Superior by Any Measure) Sex

This coming Monday, March 8 marks the 99th anniversary of International Women’s Day, which dates all the way back to 1911. Or 99 years ago, which I believe puts to rest forever the myth that girls can't do math. We ROCK at math, buddy, so put that in your sexist pipe and smoke it!

For nearly a century (girls + history = an amount > boys' best efforts in said discipline), March 8 has been a day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. As women, of course, we have an as yet unexplained but irrefutable ability to predict, and therefore celebrate, achievements that happen in the future.
In countries such as China, Russia, Bulgaria and Vietnam it’s even considered a national holiday. Here in the United States, we’ve decided to spend the day working, but by way of consolation have designated the whole month of March “Women’s History Month.”

Thanks for that.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate this awesome sort-of-holiday, go to http://www.internationalwomensday.com/ and search for local events in your city. Last time I looked, there were more than 391 events in more than 20 countries, ranging from movie screenings and charity benefits to workshops and networking luncheons.

Speaking of movie screenings, on Thursday, March 4 (that’s tomorrow!) the CARE-sponsored “Half the Sky Live” event will enrich 500 or more cities in the U.S. and Canada with a one-night-only celebration featuring “uplifting songs, celebrity discussion and the world premiere of the Marisa Tomei-directed 'Woinshet,'" a powerful short film about a poor Ethiopian woman who ultimately triumphs over violence and discrimination. The evening is based on inspiring stories from the critically acclaimed book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Click here for details and to purchase tickets.

Personally I'd have preferred a Spice Girls reunion, but that's what you get when you start educating women. Slippery slope, see?

March 2, 2010

The Little Loans That Could

Whole Foods Markets is in the midst of its annual Whole Planet Foundation Prosperity Campaign. Its goal this year is to raise $1.5 million to empower poor women to create prosperity for themselves through microcredit loans, a brilliantly simple concept that has made a difference to hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of entrepreneurs worldwide and is gathering impressive steam in the U.S thanks to organizations like Kiva.org and others.

From now until March 31, you can donate $1 (or more) at the Whole Foods register to help empower an individual, family or community. One hundred percent of donations will directly fund microlending projects, helping create economic partnerships with the poor in developing-world communities -- communities, indeed, that already supply Whole Foods stores with many of the products we already love like fair trade coffee and chocolate.

Click here to locate one of 270 Whole Foods stores in North America and the United Kingdom. If you don’t have one in your area (that really sucks, first of all), you can find other ways to help online at the WF campaign page.

March 1, 2010

Oprah's Closet Cleanout

Starting today, you can shop online for dozens of chic hand-me-downs that formerly held court in Ms. Oprah Winfrey’s colossal closet. The media mogul has collected 150 unwanted items (but surely in perfect condition) – including shoes, designer bags, suits, skirts, and dresses – to sell on eBay for a good cause.

The sale runs until March 11, with all proceeds going to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. New auctions start every two minutes from 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST. I just saw a pair of red suede Prada peep-toe heels going for a “mere” $573.00 (14 bids so far.) A bit out of my range for sure, but I’m sure someone out there needs a new pair of shiny red pumps.

Click here for more details and to see what’s on the auction block.