giving back

10 Bite-Size Ways to Combat 10 Harsh Realities

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Last year about this time, I talked about ways to realistically incorporate small acts of service into your day-to-day life. This year, let me if I may, provide another list along those same lines, but with a twist. These are 10 realities of day-to-day living for other people in different places around the globe, paired with 10 simple bite-size things mothers can do to combat those realities.

10 Bite-Size Ways to Combat 10 Harsh Realities

  1. Reality: More than one in five American children, or 15.75 million, live in poverty, according to the 2010 census. What to do: Live on $1.50 for a day (or a week) and blog about it.
  2. Reality: Five-hundred seventy-eight million people in Asia and the Pacific live in a constant state of under-nourishment because of general lack of food in their country, according to WorldHunger. What to do: Lend $25 to Kiva, a non-profit organization whose mission is to alleviate poverty by leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions. That way, a mother in Bolivia can start a small business that can help support her family and feed her kids.
  3. Reality: There were 3,241,203 elementary-school-aged children not attending school in Pakistan in 2010. What to do: Follow the Central Asia Institute on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their newsletter.
  4. Reality: In 2007 in America, more than 18,000 people were victims of homicide and more than 34,000 took their own life, according to the CDC. What to do: Read and share a page from the CDC's Violence Prevention program to increase awareness of risk factors for involvement in violence.
  5. Reality: Although crimes committed with guns have decreased greatly since 1993, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of violent crimes occurring nationwide is still intolerably high, with an estimated 1,246,248 violent crimes taking place in 2010. What to do: Donate $10 or an hour of your time or social media expertise to a nonprofit that treats troubled children or teens, an organization that provides after-school activities in impoverished neighborhoods, or an alternative school. Help prevent crimes by helping to fix troubled children before they grow up to be troubled adults.
  6. Reality: There are 11,000 premature deaths, 130,000 asthma attacks, and 4,700 heart attacks annually caused by mercury poisoning in the United States, according to the Moms Clean Air Force. What to do: Avoid eating of marine fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish) and limit your consumption of all other low-mercury fish to 12 ounces/week, say the FDA.
  7. Reality: Soot pollution, from vehicle emissions, power plants, grills, fireplaces, wood stoves, and wildfires, has been linked to health problems, such as heart attacks, stroke, and premature death. What to do: Fill out a five-minute form on the Moms Clean Air Force's website to tell the EPA that you support strong standards to place limits on dangerous soot pollution.
  8. Reality: 1,011 heat records have been broken this summer in U.S., according to USA Today. What to do: Buy a membership to your local pool, so that you and your kids can still be active outside but not overheated.
  9. Reality: The number of adoptions to the U.S. from many countries around the world has plummeted in the last six years, from an estimated 23,000 in 2005 to 11,000 in 2011, according to CNN. But the number of children without parents is estimated by UNICEF to be around 18 million children globally. What to do: Tweet about the Bridge of Love Romania's upcoming golf tournament to raise money to facilitate foster placements of Romanian orphans in their own country.
  10. Reality: Stay-at-home moms, particularly those with a low family income, are more likely to be depressed than mothers employed outside the home, according to a recent Gallup study discussed in the Huffington Post. What to do: If you are one of those mothers, take one half-hour for yourself and go shopping, even if it's only for a candy bar, then read the scriptures or a book on self-esteem or happiness, whatever helps you be happy. Repeat once a week.


How Will You Give to Others This Week?

  • Have you ever done any of these things? How did it go?
  • What other acts of service have inspired you?
  • How have others given to you this week and what difference has that made in your life?

How Else Can You Make a Difference This Season?

  • Commit to do one act of kindness/service based on the week’s challenge.
  • Leave a comment with ideas relating to the week’s challenge as well as your experience(s) performing it.
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