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Granite State Rumblings: Ten Ways to Teach Your Kids to Give Back this Holiday Season


1.    Support the Troops

Cards and letters from back home are some of the most important gifts you could send to our troops. Besides putting a smile on a soldier’s face, this is also a great opportunity to help your child learn to write a letter. Plus, it doesn’t cost a thing (other than domestic postage) if you mail it to an organization like SKIP to send to a soldier for you. SKIP’s mailing address is: Special Kindness In Packages, Inc., P.O. Box 276, East Bridgewater, MA 02333.

The United Service Organizations (USO) also offers various drives for soldiers. Sponsor the cost of a phone call home or call your local USO division to find out how you might help directly.

2.    Invite Someone Over

Know of a lonely relative? A neighbor far from home? A student unable to go home for the holidays? Consider offering up a seat at your dinner table this Thanksgiving. And don’t forget to ask your children to help you with the shopping list.

3.    Visit a Retirement Home

Retirement homes are likely to have at least some residents who won’t see family members during Thanksgiving. Determine what visiting hours are first, and have your child pick out a small gift or make a decoration to bring along if you so desire — or simply give the gift of good conversation.

4.    Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Soup kitchens see an influx of volunteers during the holidays, but it’s important to remember that hunger is a year-round problem. Still, most soup kitchens are grateful for the extra volunteers. Call local churches or check out Homeless Shelter Directory to find local shelters, pantries and soup kitchens.

5.    Donate to Food Banks

Chances are, you have extra cans of food in your pantry right now. Go look. Now consider donating those cans. First, find a local food bank, then determine what it needs. Think outside the box: Sometimes pantries are in need of non-edible supplies, like soap and toothbrushes.  The next time you are at the grocery store with your kids, ask them to imagine what children their age might want and pick one or two canned goods to donate to a Thanksgiving food drive or a food bank.

6.    Respect Your Elders

Look for opportunities to volunteer as a family. Devote time to neighbors or other family members by scheduling a group project to rake leaves for an elderly relative or cook a meal for someone who’s under the weather.

Meals on Wheels delivers daily more than 1 million meals to the home-bound, and many of those served by the program are elderly. According to data collected by Meals on Wheels, the number of food-insecure senior citizens increased by 88 percent between 2001-2011. The organization is always looking for volunteers.

7.    Visit a Hospital

Hospitals don’t take a break for the holidays. Call your local hospital to find out if it will accept volunteers for Thanksgiving. Offer to distribute food, bring small gifts to children or elderly, or simply sit and visit with someone. Ask your kids to pick out a gift they think a kid like them would love.

8.    Click a Button

Can’t get away from home this Thanksgiving? You can give gifts of individual food items, feed a family for several weeks, or even organize a virtual food drive through www.feedingamerica.org.

9.    Find Time for Four-Legged Friends

Take your son or daughter to an animal shelter to volunteer for a day, or sign up to volunteer once a week to spread the love throughout the year. PetFinder.com is one resource for people who want to learn how to volunteer with — or donate to — animal shelters. It even offers information on how to foster needy animals.

10. Embrace “Giving Tuesday”

After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday this year, take Tuesday off from your looming holiday to-do list, and help raise funds and awareness for a charitable cause dear to your heart. Whether it is donating to a non-profit organization like Every Child Matters in NH, volunteering in your community, or spreading awareness via social media, your efforts will embrace the true spirit of the season.

Thank you for all that you do every day of the year for the children and families in our state.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Every Child Matters!

NH Association Of Letter Carriers Raise Thousands For Muscular Dystrophy

MDA Letter Carrier Bowl 5NH Letter Carriers have been applying their athletic skills for a good cause recently. Their efforts  raised both money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA is the worlds leading non-profit health  organization, sponsoring research, seeking the causes and effective treatments of neuromuscular diseases. Currently MDA research grants are supporting over 250 projects worldwide.

MDA Letter Carrier Bowl 2 (Lew Henry)In Dover NALC Branch 44 held its 10th annual MDA Bowlathon raising over $1000 . Carriers from Manchester, Durham, Hampton, Derry and Somersworth participated. While Derry walked away with the winning trophy, the real winners were the people who rely on MDA’s many services.

MDA Letter Carrier Bowl 1This past weekend NH Letter Carriers from across the state participated in their annual MDA Golf Tournament at scenic Hale’s Location Golf Course.  The event was a huge success raising over $3400 for MDA!!  A team led by NALC Branch 44 President Dan Yianakopolos walked away with the bragging rights as they squeaked out the tournament title edging a  team of local letter carriers:  Wayne Alterisio, Don Cummings, Rick “Shep” McArdle and  Elka Waddell.  It was great to see so many letter carriers take part in this fundraiser.

MDA Coordinator

MDA Coordinator

The National Association of Letter Carriers has a long tradition of supporting MDA and actually was the first national sponsor of MDA. Our efforts have raised over $20 million in the past 15 years alone.

One way we can each help MDA is to ask your elected representatives to co-sponsor HR 494  the MD Care Act of 2013.  Its official name is the Paul Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance , Research and Education Act. This act helps enable scientist in the worlds best research facilities develop new drugs in the treatment of muscular dystrophy.  Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has already co-sponsored this bill along with many other members of Congress.

“It’s important that our branches make these fundraisers their own,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “The results are always better when they do. And every dollar we bring in is one more dollar we’re closer to delivering the cure.”

NH Letter Carriers MDA Golf Tournament

NH Letter Carriers MDA Golf Tournament

Unions are stepping up and building bridges with community organizations nationwide. These local activities are just one example of this partnership. As always unions put the boots on the ground and people in the streets (or bowling alleys, golf courses) for worthwhile causes. Whether its economic justice in the workplace or social justice in our nation or simply working for the common good, unions will lead the way.

This Thanksgiving (and every Thanksgiving) Unions Are Giving Back

The “union-avoidance” industry isn’t taking the election results lying down.  The Andrew Breitbarts of the world are already busy spinning the Hostess Brands liquidation and Wednesday’s planned protest in Los Angeles.  (If you’re wondering: there may be delays on surface streets around LAX – but the protest is not expected to impact any air travel.)

In these days leading up to Thanksgiving, you’re probably going to hear a lot of other anti-union stories in the media.  (The union-busters have a lot of money to spend on PR.)

What you’re probably not going to hear is how union members nationwide are celebrating the holiday.  A quick sampling:

  • In Palm Beach, Florida, labor unions are part of “The Big Heart Brigade”.  Last Thanksgiving, the Brigade fed 100,000 people – and they are hoping to feed even more, this year.   “Several local unions have already donated time and funds to help, including Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA) Local 630, Ironworkers Local 402, Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 728, Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3181 and Machinists (IAM) Local 971.”
  • Feed The Community Day

    Near Los Angeles, ILWU Local 13 is holding their 15th annual “Feed the Community Day”.  They will be distributing 1,500 turkey baskets with all the trimmings to help feed low-income families in surrounding communities.

  • Throughout the country, IAFF Locals are giving coats to kids through “Operation Warm”. IAFF Local 157 is distributing more than 2,000 coats to needy children in Oklahoma City, OK.  IAFF Local 215 is giving away almost 1,000 coats in Milwaukee, WI.  In New Jersey, IAFF Local 2657 is donating 350 coats.  In Pennsylvania, IAFF Local 10 plans to give a new coat to every single child who attends George Washington Elementary School, after firefighters noticed that most students didn’t have anything warmer than a hooded sweatshirt (87% of the school’s families live at or below the poverty line).
  • And of course, Hurricane Sandy relief efforts will continue through the holiday.  Nationwide, union members are contributing to various Hurricane Sandy Relief Funds.  Union members in the hardest-hit areas will continue to do what they have been doing for weeks: cleaning up, fixing up, and taking care of the people around them.

This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our union brothers and sisters.  Our union family is not just standing behind us in our workplaces – unions are giving back to our communities, making things better for families in need.



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