Thursday, August 30, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

So. I would like to start something, guys. It doesn't have to be every Thursday. In fact, how about just the last Thursday of each month? I would like whoever stops by this blog to take a second today and think, How can I make a small difference today? What can I do, however small, to make the world just a little bit better? My dear friend, Alice, and I often talk about doing something like this, so here goes. We're doing it.

I did something yesterday that was thrilling. And also a little nerve-wracking. I am selling something on eBay for the very first time, and the proceeds are all directly going to charity (assuming it sells!). It felt really good to do this. I mean REALLY good. This is the eBay listing: but if you want to just read the product description, I've cut and pasted it below.

If you want to take part in my new idea for Philanthropy Thursday, would you post a bit on your own blog and help spread the word? If you don't have a blog, would you let your friends know, anyway? Then just shoot me a comment or an e-mail and I'll link up to you right here at the bottom of the post. I'd be so honored if you did. I know that there is so much amazing energy in this blogosphere, and if I could be a part of something small to make the world a little better? Well, that would be amazing. Here's the product description as it reads on eBay:

I have wanted to do something, anything, for some time to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, I am like most people. I live far from the damage. I have a busy, fulfilling life as a mother and writer. I am privileged, with medical care, adequate insurance, and family earning potential that would shelter me from the tragic circumstances of those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
I'm not rich, however. And so I go about my life musing how "one day," when we make just a little bit more, I will do something fantastic to help those in need. How many of us think this way? That if we can't do something grand, then we will not do anything at all? We will wait for the perfect opportunity to arise. Let me tell you, that is probably never going to happen.
And so fate had me at home in the afternoon today. With four children causing me to put more miles on my car than a NYC Taxi cab, I am rarely home when Oprah airs. And when I am? I am doing fun(!) things like cleaning toilets, dodging pets, agonizing over homework, or moderating yet another bickerfest between my older children. But today I was tired. And feeling sorry for myself. I had had it *up to here* with the eye-rollings and door slammings that are par for the course with preteens in the house. Poor me, right?
Oprah aired a show today showcasing the fallout of Hurricane Katrina, two years later. I was floored. In some areas, it's as if nothing has been done. Thousands of families are living in FEMA trailers that were intended as temporary housing. These families are now sick, due to the formaldehyde seeping from the particle board walls. One family shown, with five beautiful children, had the mom talking about how her children endured severe nosebleeds, were on handfuls of pills, and how her 18 month old son (who looked a lot like my own 13 month old boy) had to use a breathing aid every day, he was so sick from his own home.
I wept.
I learned that the crime rate is horrendous, rendering a certain section in New Orleans the worst in the nation. There is a fraction of the doctors and nurses there once was, few hospital beds, and an increased death rate.
This is America? This is how insurance companies pay back their clients? This is how we, as fellow human beings allow things to get? What if this were me? Or you? Or your best friend? What would you do differently?
So I've decided that the people in New Orleans are my new best friends. I have a wedding ring set that I was holding on to, either to have made into earrings or sell and fund a trip to Europe with my daughters. It's 1.3 total carats. We bought it at Fred Meyer Jewelers in 1993. The solitaire is just under .8 carats, and the ring wrap, which is sautered to the band, is four diamonds, totalling .5 carats. It's beautiful. Shortly after my husband and I renewed our wedding vows four and a half years ago, he surprised me with a different ring, which is why I have had this one, in its original box.
We paid $1,800 for the solitaire and $700 for the wrap in 1993. It's insured for $5,000. You can see no flaws with the naked eye, although with a loup I suppose you can, since it's graded as SI, with an H color. For all the years I wore it, I received so many compliments I lost count. It sparkles like crazy, and during our lean years as a young couple, I took a lot of pride in always having that one beautiful thing.
Whoever wins this bid will be required to send funds to the New Orleans Habitat for Humanity. I will not touch a check, since I would rather get the money to them as soon, and as simply, as possible.
My hope? That you all decide New Orleans is your new best friend, or daughter, or mom, and bid as much as you can and feel good when you send that check to a charity that will help rebuild part of America. Maybe a part of you will be rebuilt, too.

People who are making a difference today:



Kristi B.




Lucky Candice



crazylady said...

bravo, you are a very complexed woman. One your family should be (more) impressed with every day.

I may take the challenge up.
BTW, noticed your blog at some point when I was in the bathroom taking a moment, that you are password protected, but I have you on my blog roll as direct access;
1) are you aware I am still stalking you
2) do you want me to piss off
3) remove you from the blogroll (I'm assuming yes, since it would defeat the whole PW thang) so that my chronies don't follow me

Hope you let the circus watch. I'd be so bummed if Rony could read and not I. She'd give me updates with a nah nah nah nah nah. Evil wench like that :)

Crystal said...

What a wonderful idea and what a generous and from the heart donation item.

painted maypole said...

oh, oh, oh! You are fantastic! Bless you!

I missed the Oprah episode, but I hear that local newspaper columnist Chris Rose was on, talking about his depression. What he was NOT allowed to talk about was his fabulous book, One Dead in the Attic, since to talk about it on the Oprah show is apparently equivelent of Oprah endorsing it. ??????? Anyhow, everyone should read this fabulous book which is a compilation of his columns for several months after the storm. You will laugh and cry, and never see NOLA the same again. One Dead in the Attic. Read it. All of you. Now.

And YOU. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't wait to see what bids you get (and I'm assuming you've worked it out so you'll know habitat actually gets paid... not that we don't want to trust people, but... you know...)

Jen M. said...

Well, I'm just going to go about it the simplest way possible. Assuming it sells, I'll contact the Habitat for Humanity office(s) in New Orleans and give them a heads up, have the bidder either FedEx a check or donate to them directly in a way suggested by the folks at Habitat. Painted Maypole, if that time comes, maybe you could steer me in the direction of a good P.O.C.?

Jen M. said...

And Crazy Lady - not sure what happened and why your link has the password? I emailed you - hopefully I solved it! Because you better stick around, girl!

ablondeblogger said...

Aww, Jen, you have such a sweet and generous heart! How wonderful for you to do something this big and make such a sacrifice for others. Here I thought I was all generous just for crocheting preemie blankets, lol.

Katrina said...

I put up a link for you! You have a great idea. Hopefully the idea will spread like wildfire.

Robin said...

What a beautiful idea. I love it. I'll definitely put up a post about it on my blog too (a bit later today).

I did something small today, but you've inspired me to look for ways to make more of a difference.

Jennifer said...

Wow! That is absolutely wonderful and so inspiring. I'd already posted about Katrina yesterday -- my disappointment that in some regards not much has changed in two years -- but I added a link to your post in my comments section. I can't wait to hear how the auction goes. And, thank you.

Anna said...

You're amazing, Jen. I want to be like you! And that means making a difference in a small way. I will think about what I can do. Thank you. said...

Hey pretty lady. Just a suggestion, you may want to lower the starting bid price. Set a reserve however. I've posted a lot of things on e-bay and it looks better if you at least have several people bidding. It creates some excitement.....You know what I mean jelly bean?!?!

BTW the rock is gorgeous! I can only imagine what the new one looks like!!! Lucky lady said...

You're not password protected....I can easily log onto your site

thailandchani said...

To answer your question on my site, yes, please feel free to link my Katrina post if you like.. and let me know if there's anything else I can do. This sounds like a good idea. :)



thailandchani at earthlink

slouching mom said...

What a wonderful idea, and what a generous soul you have.

Thank you, Jen.

Lawyer Mama said...

That is a fabulous idea! You are a wonderful, generous woman.

Emily said...

You rock. Really. Now, I gotta think of something...

Emily said...

OK. I thought about it. My wedding dress is sitting in my MILs house in a box, stored safely for our kids. Except we have two boys. One does like dresses, but I think he may grow out of that.

So, when we move back to the States and I get my hands on it, I'll consign it and give the money to Earth Justice.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Jennifer said...

Hey Jen, I just wanted to tell you that the link I think you meant to post to my blog is actually going somewhere else. My site addy is:

It's not a big deal to me at all -- but just wanted to let you know. :)

Jen M. said...

Jennifer - whoops! Fixing...Rony - I may just do that. Everyone else, thank you - it feels like a very small thing to try and do in light of all that needs to be done.

BOSSY said...

Thank goodness Bossy didn't see this post until Friday. Does that mean she's exempt from philanthropy? Just kidding.

Anonymous said...

I saw your link on Faking It and I'm in! I've put your link on my sidebar for Philanthropy Thursday. This is something I beleive in very deeply and try to live to the fullest. I'm so amazed by your eBay listing. It's a wonderful thing.

LC (lucky candice)

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this idea all morning and had to post another comment. I think you should do it every Thursday. We don't have to post about ourselves and all the things we are doing but we could post about what others are doing. I think it would inspire us and give us ideas on things we could do. I definitely think every Thursday. I'll help if you'd like. We could create a whole new blog. Have you ever seen self-portrait challenge or Sunday's Scribblings?

Anyway, I love the idea either way.


Audubon Ron said...

I have responded with some thoughts.

Thanks Jen


Robin said...

I just put up a post about this on my blog:

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