How much could you spare today to make a difference in the lives of thousands who are in need in our community?

May 6, 2014, is a special day for communities and charities across the country.  For 24 hours on May 6, 2014, communities around the country are engaged in online fundraising. The program has different names around the country (Give Big 2014 in Seattle, The Big Payback in Nashville, and The Big Give S.A. in San Antonio), but all of the programs are united in their effort to raise awareness and money for deserving  local charities and to emphasize that donations as small as $10.00 can make a world of difference in our communities and positively impact thousands through collective giving.

Locally, the program is Great Give – Palm Beach and Martin Counties. The May 6, 2014, 24-hour online fundraising drive is part of a 100-day giving program coordinated by Give Local America!; a partnership of over 750 community foundations from across the nation that have been supporting local philanthropy for 100 years. Hundreds of local non-profits will be competing for matching grants.

spare change from my desk drawerMy first response to “how much”, like many, was to think of the already too many checks I’ve written over the past months. Checks for necessary renovations at my house, the college tuition bills, to political candidates who seek to do more to protect my clients than our current ones, and to those pesky creditors who provide the essentials for my family (water, gas, electricity). Upon further reflection, however, I decided to see how much I could find by making just some very small changes today:

Spare Change and Cash in my Desk

$17.56

Chick-Fil-A Breakfast (biggest sacrifice of the day)

$4.77

Bandolino Shoes at Macy’s (which was more of a strong “want” than a true “need”)

$62.54

Soda and lottery tickets from the gas station next to the office

$5.13

Manicure

$10.00

Total

$100.00

 

Obviously, not everyone can find $100.00 in non-essential expenditures in a day, but even an amount as small as $10.00 can make a world of difference in our community.

bob with nana.So, after finding a spare $100.00 this morning, my next challenge (and it was a big one) was to decide how to spend it. Please allow me to share information about some of my favorite charities that have touched my life and are benefiting from today’s Great Give campaign:

Peggy Adams Animal Rescue – The Fulmer family loves animals. We have two Boxers and two cats, and have provided foster care for Boxers over the years. We could not imagine our lives without fur babies. Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League has a beautiful facility in West Palm Beach that provides shelter, medical treatment, spay and neuter programs, education, and advocacy for animal welfare. In 2012, the provided services to nearly 24,000 needy animals in our community.

Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida – Girl scouting has had a profound influence on my life.  I was a Brownie and Junior Girl Scout growing up. My mother has scouted for decades, and has trained so many leaders from across the country.  Even my father was a proud Girl Scout and put his management and accounting skills (and meticulously clean garage) to excellent use in coordinating cookie distribution for many troops in Cape Coral. Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida serves over 15,000 girls between the ages of 5 and 17 in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties. The organization provides girls with valuable training and education in leadership, values, social awareness, and independence.

girl scouts

Friends of Abused Children – This nearly 30 year old organization works to improve the lives of abused children in Palm Beach County, Florida. Regularly, all of the foster homes and emergency shelters in this county are completely full of children who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse. These children have done nothing to deserve the direness of their circumstances, and deserve to enjoy some of the same privileges and joys that are commonplace for my children and yours. Friends of Abused Children provides services vital to these children that they would otherwise never experience: summer camp, field trips, swimming lessons, dance classes, martial arts, tutoring, and other activities so important to their development and happiness.

Place of Hope – Several years ago, my husband and I decided to become foster parents.  We attended an orientation program provided by the State of Florida, and, sadly, walked away very discouraged and conflicted. We turned to Place of Hope to provide us with the training and support necessary to become foster parents. We worked as foster parents to three young girls over a one-year time period. This was one of the most challenging, rewarding, and difficult experiences of my life. We could never have successfully navigated the foster care systems and obstacles we faced without the strong support of Place of Hope. This faith-based organization meets several needs in our community for foster children, including emergency shelters, family-style cottages, a home for pregnant girls, housing for foster children who have “aged out” of the system but still require assistance with transitioning to independent living, and a safe house for children who are victims of sex trafficking.

The Village Baptist Church/Feed the Hungry – Several times per year, my family volunteers with this local program, which provides food to several thousand families in West Palm Beach. Early on a Saturday morning each month, senior citizens, families, and charitable organizations line up in their vehicles to receive free food boxes that include meat, canned goods, fresh produce obtained from local farm gleaning operations, and donated bread and bakery items. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, the food pantry is expanded to include several small non-profit agencies and missions who receive food baskets and toys for needy children. Prior to becoming involved in this program, I did not understand the vastness of the problem or the wider range of our neighbors who would not have access to proper nutrition without programs such as Feed the Hungry. At least 175,000 adults in Palm Beach County are indigent and over 300,000 residents rely on food stamps, a number that has increased by 300% since 2008. Amazingly, 57% of Palm Beach County school children participate in free lunch and breakfast programs at their schools.

foodPlease consider joining your neighbors in supporting today’s Great Give program for Palm Beach and Martin Counties.  With as little as $10.00, you can make a tremendous difference in your community.  It’s a great opportunity to raise money for local causes and to ensure that the needs of the less fortunate in Palm Beach County are met by the generosity of those who have enough resources to help.