giving back

Unemployment: How One Mom Is Using Social Media to Better Her Community

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When you think about it, there is so much need out there—in our communities, our states, our country, and our world. There is hunger, poverty, illiteracy and lack of education, natural disaster recovery...the list goes on and on.

If you think about it with a "glass-half-full" attitude, that means the world is replete with opportunities to help others. There are so many ways in which we can make our mark. You just have to know where to start, what strengths you can contribute, and how to make it manageable. For Nirasha Jaganath, a Boston blogger ( originally from South Africa, it started with a desire to help, and grew into MommyNiriCares.

The concept behind MommyNiriCares is so simple yet so great. She used her considerable social media influence to rally brands to offer products to help a local charity. In return, she offered them advertising and exposure on her blog. All of her coordination was done at no cost. In 2010, its first year, MommyNiriCares took the form of a holiday drive to support a Boston charity that provides parents raising babies in poverty with one-on-one parenting support and essential baby items throughout their children’s critical first three years of life.

This year, even with unemployment affecting her family, MommyNiriCares did a November event benefiting the Framingham Miracle Kitchen, in which Nirasha and a small group of volunteer friends cooked and fed 100 people in need. It was sponsored by brands like Ragu and Chobani. She said: "I think of many who have no meals and rely on others for one. When you need help most is probably the best time to focus on those who have less than you."  To that, she adds: "I wanted to do something different – not based on statistics or promotions – just something with heart and purpose.  As a mom blogger, I am a mom first and helping fellow moms in need is something that makes us a community. With the economy still struggling to pick itself up, the poor are getting poorer and that is no way for children to enter the world."

In addition to the event, Niri has worked on several charitable projects that harness the power of blogging, including Rwanda Path2Peace, Kaboom's playground-building, and the End Child Hunger campaign. On her blog, MommyNiriCares, she and her team provide stories about service projects and charitable events and people. "I want to show the world," says Niri, "that mom bloggers are not just takers, but givers too (and the same goes for brands). What is the purpose of having a strong online influence if it is never used for good?"

As we approach the holiday season, we invite you to think of what need-opportunities mean the most to you and what you can do to help, whether you're a mommy blogger or not. It doesn't have to be something big or totally foreign, it just needs to be done.

What service project do you and your family plan on participating in during the holiday season?

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