Do Good: Give Back This Thanksgiving

November 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm , by

ss_101625444_wFor most people, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where being thankful for our abundance (and sitting down to a table overflowing with holiday bounty, like the ridiculously good-looking truffle butter bird at right) goes hand-in-hand with being mindful of those who are less fortunate, and whose bellies are less full. Does your family volunteer or give back during the Thanksgiving season? It’s a wonderful tradition to start, and great a way to make Thanksgiving about more than just food and football (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things…). Here are a few ways to give back.

- Does your family go around the table and say what you’re thankful for? (Love that tradition.) Put each family member in charge of coming up with a group volunteer idea for the upcoming year based on their “thankful” thing. That way you’ve got volunteer ideas for the year, not just the season. Kids count too! For instance, is your little niece Addie thankful for her pet kitty? Take everyone to the animal shelter to help out for a day.

- Take the pledge and donate to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. No child in America should have to go hungry on any day (not just a holiday), and Share Our Strength’s goal is to end childhood hunger by 2015. That’s a mission we can all get behind.

- It’s a cliche but if you’ve never actually volunteered at your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter, now is the time. But before you package up all your leftovers to bring along, call the shelter to ask about their food donation policy. Even better, sign up to volunteer on a monthly basis so your holiday spirit keeps on giving.

- I think we’re all thankful for our service men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our country. Operation Gratitude is a great organization that sends thank-you care packages to our troops, and they’d love your help all holiday season (and year!) long.

-  To find specific Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities in your area, do a quick search with our friends at Volunteer Match. Just type in your zip code and “Thanksgiving” as the keyword.

Four Ways To Do Good This Halloween

October 25, 2010 at 11:22 am , by

ss_100506908Halloween isn’t necessarily a holiday that you associate with volunteering and giving, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great occasion to do a little good! Here are a few ways to help out:

  • Still looking for a last-minute costume? Dress up for a cause you believe in. That way every time someone asks what you or the kids are, you can get a little plug in for your favorite charity. (If you volunteer at an animal shelter, for instance, go with a cute dog and cat theme.)
  • Halloween is just a few days before election day. No matter what side of the political aisle you fall on, we can all agree that it’s super-important to vote! Help get out the vote in your area by volunteering with Trick or Vote, a non-partisan organization.
  • Trying to figure out how to keep your kids (or yourself) from eating their weight in candy? Donate some of your haul to needy kids in your area who don’t get to go trick-or-treating. Call local shelters and organizations to find out how to donate. You could even dress up to deliver your treats together!
  • Check Volunteer Match for a Halloween-themed volunteer opportunity in your area. We did a quick search and found lots of different spooky carnivals, food drives, auctions and other events around the country. (Just type in your zip code with the keyword “Halloween.”)

A Medical Gift Registry To Help Patients

October 19, 2010 at 9:34 am , by

n779849932_1137809_9496Diem Brown captured America’s attention when she competed on MTV’s Real World, Road Rules Challenge soon after undergoing treatment for Stage II ovarian cancer. But while her bravery and bright personality made her beloved on MTV, she wasn’t always treated so kindly. It was while she was working as a broadcast journalist that she began to see the side effects of her chemotherapy, including hair loss and extreme weight loss. “I didn’t have any money, so I was wearing a $10 wig that I bought on Hollywood Boulevard,” Brown says, “And someone working on a red carpet told me that I was ‘physically offensive.’” It was then that Brown realized how a devastating illness can be made even worse without money. “I wanted a wig that looked real,” she said. “I didn’t want people looking at me and seeing a sick person. I didn’t want to look at me and see a sick person.”

When Brown’s friends began getting married and having children, she became familiar with gift registries—a way for a person to let their loved ones know exactly what they need or want. “My friends and family would say, ‘I feel so helpless—what can I do?’ I didn’t want to say, ‘Oh, give me money.’ But anytime you go to the hospital, it’s expensive. I got turned down twice for my chemo because I didn’t have the money.”

This became the impetus for Brown’s medical gift registry and social network, Once patients register on the site, friends and family can donate directly to the hospital for medical procedures. They can post requests ranging from wigs or grocery gift cards to pet sitting or a ride to the hospital.

Brown says, “I felt like this was the reason I got sick—to come up with this idea. Creating a medical gift registry was my silver lining.” Visit for more information.

Angela Kinsey on Life as a Working Mom

August 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm , by


Though they share the same first name, Angela Kinsey, the bubbly, petite blonde star of The Office, is nothing like her stern television counterpart. I chatted with Angela when she came to New York City for an event sponsored by Post-it (her personal favorites are the tiny ones she can stick on her packed calendar) about her life as a working mom and the upcoming season of her hit show.

How do you balance life as a busy actress with being the mother to a 2-year-old?

I am very lucky that Isabel can come to set and visit me during the day, but that dynamic is going to change, because she’s very busy. She’s wanting to do activities, and now work might just be boring for her. She’s got quite the social calendar. Growing up, my mom had a magnet on the fridge, and it was this frazzled woman, and it said, “If a mom’s place is in the home, then why am I always in the car?”  I feel like that chapter of my life is about to begin.

I think as a working mom, you’re always balancing things. You’re balancing your commitments and then you’re having to work really hard to set boundaries so that you can be fully present in your child’s life. And that’s the thing I think I’ve learned the most - when to say no, and how to say no.

What are some ways that you Do Good?

Anything to do with kids is important to me. I just did this thing for Do Something 101. If you go to Staples, you can pick up a pack of pencils or erasers or whatever, and they have these bins right by the checkout and you can just put the extra office supplies in the bin and they go to students who can’t afford their school supplies. And it’s so easy, and inexpensive. A pack of pens is like $2. And every little bit helps.

What can we expect from the upcoming season of The Office?

I think the demise of Michael Scott is going to be really fun to watch. One story line is, supposedly Michael has a medical condition, and because of this condition he has to contact his former lovers, so we’re going to see Melora Hardin come back as Jan, and Holly [Amy Ryan] is going to come back as well. Read more

We Do Good Finalists: Vote For Your Favorite Lady

August 2, 2010 at 9:58 am , by


We got so many amazing nominees for our We Do Good Awards, it was really hard to narrow the field down to just 15 finalists. These women from all over the U.S. have a range of different causes, but they all have one thing in common: They are passionate and tireless volunteers for the charities and causes they support. We think you’ll be so inspired when you read their stories.

But we need your help, too! After you read about these amazing ladies, you can vote for your favorite woman in each of our three categories to help choose the winner. Each winner will receive donations to their causes, a trip to New York for the awards event and more. So vote for your favorites now!

Pepsi’s Great Plan to Help the Gulf

July 14, 2010 at 11:54 am , by

Pepsi gets an LHJ shout-out today for aiding victims of the oil spill—and for letting the public decide how they should do it. As part of their do-good Refresh Project, the company has pledged to give $1.3 million in grants to projects that will support communities in the states affected by the Gulf oil spill (Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.) Right now, they’re accepting project ideas at (the cut-off is this Friday the 16th); you can return to the site start August 2nd to vote for the ones you think should get funded. Be sure to weigh in!

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Be In LHJ: Calling All Difference-Makers!

June 28, 2010 at 9:19 am , by

Do you make a difference in your community, or know a woman who does? Maybe she started a local charity organization. Or she finds the time in her busy life to volunteer for a cause that’s close to her heart. We’re looking for these amazing women for our Difference-Makers Contest!

Nominate your difference-making lady today and she could be featured in an upcoming issue of Ladies’ Home Journal and on Better!