Holiday Giving Opportunities

Mayor Caliguri looking over offerings of food in totes near the official City-County Christmas Tree, November 2011

The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project is challenging you to organize a modest tote drive (25 bags) to be eligible to win some pretty nice stuff – Penguins box seats, overnight stay at a local Inn, movie passes, gift baskets and a $50 gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. You can probably collect 25 bags by simply asking your family and immediate friends with a quick email.  Then take the person who donates the most bags with you for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (or to the movies.)  Tote and tote/food drives are needed on a year round basis to help meet the needs of the 120,000 people relying on Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for food assistance.





Burghbaby’s ChristmasCrazy is underway through December 16, 2011. Help her provide gifts for the women and children at Alli-Kiski Hope Center and Womansplace shelters for families surviving domestic violence.  This is a great project if you’d like to donate a toy or gift for an adult woman. New, unwrapped gifts and cash donations are being accepted.

I used to work at Womansplace when I was in graduate school. Everyone on the staff worked a 2 hour shift during the holidays to share the load and because we all wanted to be there. It is heartbreaking to watch a child’s delight at receiving a new pair of socks as a gift. But good, too.




Another great project is Light of Life Rescue Mission on the Northside which provides food and shelter services to support some of the City’s most vulnerable families. They are seeking donations of gift cards to distribute as holiday gifts … Target, Giant Eagle, Kmart, etc.  You might be surprised at the fact that a gift card for a meal at Subway can provide a true moment of joy for a parent … trust me, it can.

If you visit all three projects, you’ll see that they aren’t seeking fancy high-end gifts … they are all trying to instill some dignity and practicality in their appeals … helping people with their basic needs, including the need to feel connected to the rest of us in the midst of the struggles they are addressing day to day. That isn’t so very different than what we strive to do for ourselves.

I can’t urge you enough to include your whole family in this giving … children can help select healthy kid-friendly foods or gifts. Siblings can pitch in $5 each and purchase a set of Subway gift cards. Everyone can check for their extra tote bags and carry their own presents along, leaving the bags to be passed along after the holiday. So many ways to share and give and truly celebrate the meaning of the season.

Thank you.




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