#GivingTuesday. I have seen some really worthy organizations tagged on my Facebook feed today and it got me thinking, who would I support and donate to if I won the lottery? As anyone who knows me would guess, I already have a plan. Hey, you never know! In no particular order, here are some of the groups I would support. No doubt you have seen or heard me talk about them. In lieu of actually winning the lottery, I do support these organizations now I whatever way I can. If enough drops of water come together, they can form a really big wave!
BUILDING MEN PROGRAM “Be A man, not THE man”
We grew up on the Near West Side of Syracuse and my brother Joe spent his teenage years playing basketball across the street from our house, in Skiddy Park. He grew up to be a PE teacher. As an educator, he struggled for ways to help his city school students rise above circumstances and be successful. He got his inspiration from Joe Ehrmann’s book, Season of Life. Joe started an intramural basketball program with an educational component in the middle school he was teaching in, and it has now become a multidimensional program in several schools in the city school district. The guys participate in a variety of community service projects and have had some great guest speakers during their weekly chalk talks. There’s also a summer program with great academic successes. You can find them on Facebook:
Here is a link to his website: http://www.buildingmenprogram.org/
IN MY FATHER’S KITCHEN
I mentioned IMFK a couple of blogs ago. John and his wife Leigh Ann started this ministry helping the homeless in Syracuse. They bring hot food, basic necessities, and fellowship to their friends on the streets. If you are looking for a creative holiday gift for someone, consider a pasta basket featuring their homemade Taste and See Pasta Sauce (available at most Wegmans stores), or a breakfast basket with their coffee and maple syrup. These are all available at their storefront at 501 Hawley Avenue (check their link below for hours.) Or if you have clothing (especially for children and teens) or household items to help start a new home, they always take donations. You can find them on Facebook:
Here is their website: http://inmyfatherskitchen.org/
A TINY HOME FOR GOOD
Several homeless people now have comfortable homes thanks to the organization Andrew Lunetta started a couple of years ago. He befriended some of these guys through the Brady Faith Center and the cycling program he started there, Pedal To Possibilities. He was discouraged that they didn’t have safe, affordable housing and he wanted to do something about it. Now there are five homes on the south side, near where I spent my elementary school years down the street from his mom Cathy. Our families have been linked for about 50 years now and I am so happy to be able to shout about his good heart and the drive to make his world a little better. I was at the ribbon cutting for the latest three homes earlier this month and hope to get a chance to help as six more are started on the west side of town. There are many wonderful people and organizations who have donated time, materials, and skills to make these homes. You can find A Tiny Home For Good on Facebook:
Here’s their website: http://www.atinyhomeforgood.org/
FRIENDS OF DOROTHY
MIchael DeSalvo and Nick Orth have been supporting and ministering to people with AIDS for almost 25 years, in the tradition of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. They open their home and their hearts to those who are ill and sometimes dying and almost always don’t have any other options for safe, loving care. Their house guests don’t pay anything to stay there, and their lives are richer because of the time with Michael and Nick. There are several fundraising opportunities throughout the year, but they could always use more help. They have a delicious homemade dinner to help raise money on the last Wednesday of every month and it is a gathering of some of the most amazing and loving people you can imagine, and the food is as wonderful as you could imagine it to be. Here is a link to their Facebook page:
The list doesn’t end for me there. I would love to start scholarships for the Syracuse city school students to go to college. I would donate money to 100 Black Men of Syracuse, and to the Huntington Family Center, and to St. Lucy’s and all their ministires I would send money to #standingrock and to refugee settlement programs and to Planned Parenthood. I would love to start a foundation that would be able to support all sorts of causes I believe in. But for now, I will support those causes close to my heart and encourage my friends to do the same. Happy giving.
Disclaimer: My lack of tech savvy may be in evidence here with the Facebook links. Thank you for your patience as I continue to learn my craft.