Thanksgiving feasting is getting closer still, and I’m getting excited about the meal I will be sharing with my husband and his family. However, I’d like to give a quick “Thank you” for certain charities out in the world today that only a few people actually pay attention to. The reason for this is because I believe that humans as a whole ought to give back or pay forward. My parents always nudged me into that direction and my family’s known to have extremely large hearts when it comes to volunteering. I’ve participated in several soup kitchens since I was a child, and I’m an avid advocate for shelter animals (though I may not have the heart to volunteer at a shelter… My husband and I agree that if I do volunteer at a shelter, I’ll end up coming home with a car full of dogs). Back on topic: As it’s once again the time to give and share, here’s a few foundations I’m thankful for this year (and always).
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has always had a special place in my heart. I love children and hate to see them in pain. Since opening the hospital doors in the 1960s, St. Jude’s Hospital has been researching for cures to some of the more deadly cancers that claim so many children. They’ve been trying to modernize and customize medication to fight diseases and illnesses more proficiently than before. There are some people who believe that St. Jude’s is another “scam charity”, and I want to put in my two cents bit of information. Since the 1960s, St. Jude’s has increased children’s survival rates in different cancer divisions by nearly 90%; some by nearly 95%. Don’t believe me? Look at the numbers for yourself:
Every Christmas since I left home and had my own source of income, I’ve donated $20 to St. Jude’s. I know it sounds like such a small amount, but it’s the least (and most, at some times) I can do; besides advocating for the children of the hospital. Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually when the Hospital will start asking for holiday donations to give the patients a happy Christmas while receiving treatment at the hospital instead of being at home to celebrate. St. Jude’s is more than just a hospital too. They’re truly a family-centered facility, as they offer and provide free lodging for families of patients. So, know that any donation made to them isn’t just going to research but also to cover expenses that families would normally have to cover on their own, along with the medical and at-home bills.
From St. Jude’s, I move to Gawad Kalinga (“Give Care” in Tagalog), a Philippines-based foundation that provides assistance to impoverished families and communities in the Philippines. Founded in 1995, Gawad Kalinga (the name was created in 2000) started out with gang prevention programs for children and young adults by a Catholic community. From there, the foundation expanded to building homes to replace shanty huts. Gawad Kalinga (GK) has opened several doors for young Filipino-Americans to get to know their parents’ (and their own) motherland. One of which is through their immersion project that draws volunteers to the Philippines for a one week long home building project. Think of the immersion project as a Habitat for Humanity, and it’ll be easier to understand. Their goal is to eliminate much of the poverty in the Philippines, one community and family at a time, as well as to provide children a safe place to learn and grow into their full potential as thriving and successful adults. GK isn’t just building homes, they’re building stable futures for villages and communities, which is something that much of the impoverished communes in my motherland have been longing for but couldn’t afford.
I, myself, just recently learned about GK through my godfather in Texas, who is the President of the GK Texas chapter. His daughter is an active participant in GK (as is the entire family) and was recently awarded for her immersion project activity in the Philippines. They’re currently still helping the recovery efforts of Hurricane Haiyan (Yolanda), rebuilding homes and other community structures in Leyte, Philippines. My Papa has signed on with GK and GMA (another Philippines-based group) as a volunteer doctor and has gone on several missions since he joined in 2012.
From overseas, I want to share an organization that I’ve been quite vocal on my personal Facebook page about. Urgent Pets on Death Row is based out of New York City and advocates for the canines and felines that are briefly housed in New York’s Animal Care & Control (ACC). I’m a strong advocate for these particular shelter pets because many of them don’t get a chance longer than 24 hours before being put down. The pets that are being advocated for are either strays roaming the NYC streets, dumped at the shelter by families leaving the city or moving into a place that doesn’t allow pets, and there are several that get tossed to the side because of housing laws against having “aggressive breeds”. The more depressing ones for me are the senior dogs (8+ years old) that are placed into the ACC because families/owners don’t want to deal with their pet’s passing. I have seen several cases that stated that the owner has no time or the dog got too big. It’s not the animals’ fault for their humans’ irresponsibility, yet they are the ones being punished and threatened with death.
Urgent Pets on Death Row shares pictures and volunteer stories of animals that have 24 hours left before facing euthanasia up to a few months. It really depends on the animal’s intake evaluation as to how long they get in the small, tight-spaced kennels. The sooner the pet is rescued, the better, as NYC shelters are cramped and usually over-crowded, which is why the ACC puts down between 6 to 30+ animals a day. That’s right, A DAY. The Big Apple is notorious for euthanasia because of the over-population of unwanted pets, and the crimes of surrender and abandonment are not being taken out on the correct parties in my opinion. The humans should be ones punished, not the animals.
[Side note: If you ever seen a Facebook post that reads “Adopt. Foster. Donate. Advocate.” and has a picture of an animal linked to Urgent Death Row Dogs’ page, it’s more than likely mine.]
There are so many other organizations and foundations that I want to talk about, but time is short. I will simply say to the organizations: Thank you for supporting such amazing causes, and I hope for continued support from the general public. It’s because of foundations and groups like these that I have some hope for the future.
- Operation Smile
- Disabled Veterans National Foundation
- Humane Society
- Big Brother, Big Sister
- Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
- Mangyan Heritage Center
- Greyhound Rescue