Tag Archive | but seriously though. go do this.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, some reminders about charitable giving.

Use sites like CharityNavigator to find out “where your money is going.”

Don’t wait until the next newsmaking disaster to give blood. Call your local Red Cross/Red Crescent/etc. for an appointment, or just show up during their open hours.

Although the Red Cross is great for blood donation, it does have a bad record of mismanagement when it comes to disaster recovery. For that, try UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders instead.

The Salvation Army is genuinely terrible for LGBT+ people. Try Goodwill or the VVA.

Don’t get swayed by clickbaity articles about Outrageous Scandals without doing your own further investigation. For example, Locks of Love doesn’t actually make wigs for child cancer patients!…it makes wigs for children with a disease you’ve never heard of. Wow, much shocking, very horrible.

What Goodwill “actually does” with your donated clothes is one of these non-scandals. If they can’t sell a piece of clothing, it’ll get processed as textile recycling. The planet wins, and nobody loses. (Just make sure to wash and dry everything before donating, because if it’s wet or moldy they can’t even try to sell it.)

Give cash, not canned food. “Find well-managed charities in your community and trust them to know how to do their job. They have access to food at a fraction of the price. They know their clients, and they have better things to do than to sort through your canned goods.”

In fact, give cash in general. “GiveDirectly wants to see what happens when you give extremely poor people a much longer runway — a guaranteed ‘basic income’ they can count on for years. Michael Faye, the chairman of GiveDirectly, says they’ve chosen to set the payment at $22 because in Kenya $22 per person per month is ‘the food poverty line — the amount of money it would take to afford a basic basket of food for yourself.'” (And so far…so good.)

Some petitions. (Net neutrality, freedom from spying, and fair wages.)

Whitehouse.gov: Petition the Obama administration to restore net neutrality. Only needs a few thousand more signatures in the next two weeks to require a response.

Restore the Fourth: Petition against the NSA’s unreasonable and unethical mass surveillance. There are chapters around the US, so you can also get more locally involved if there’s one near you.

MoveOn.org: Bring the minimum wage closer to what it would have been if it kept up with inflation, and link it to the cost of living. You would think this would be a no-brainer. It’s baffling that there are people who oppose it.

Update from the Boston area

Me and my roommates are fine. We’re all at home, well away from the city, and none of us have to travel anywhere today.

Some action tips adapted from friends:

– If you are in the city, get out, per a friend who’s a Boston EMT.
– Text rather than calling if you have to get in touch with someone. Too many calls jam the cell phone signals, and the emergency responders need those to be working right now.
– Remember at this point that all we have are rumors. Don’t treat even “confirmed” information as confirmed, because it happened so recently that even good-faith information will likely change.
– Donate blood if you haven’t recently. Mass General Hospital and the Red Cross have information on where and how. (Do this one even if you’re nowhere near Boston — there are always people in every area in need of blood transfusions.)

ETA: Red Cross MA reports they currently have more blood donors than they need. So if you’re in the area, don’t rush to donate now, but don’t forget, either — there won’t be the same glut of volunteers in a week or a month, so get yourself an appointment then.