the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

Giving for the Holidays

We spend a fair bit of time traveling, and perusing Christmas sights and light displays over the holidays; I write about these experiences and give people a glimpse into about 30% of our lives. I say 30% because that’s really all there is on this site. There’s another 10% of my life over here… if I gave 100% there’d be no time left for my family, friends, and you’d all be bored to tears.

That said, what I should write more about is what we do to help people and creatures in need… not for kudos (which is why I don’t write about it) but because I would like to hope that our giving inspires others. My grandfather supported a lot of children and church charities that he told no one about. We only found out about his giving after he passed away. This is what inspires me.

We do remember the wonderful places we see and the people we meet and what moves us to help others. This year I thought it a good idea to share our charity list to encourage others to come up with their own list. This is all outside of the activism that I do at work.

The Family Giving Tree, Bay Area. Donating to this charity was a little bit fun and a sad at the same time. According to the stats on their website, 1 in 4 Bay Area children live in poverty (that’s the sad part). When you visit the Family Giving Tree website you can peruse the children and what gift they have asked for. We went and looked for little girls who are La Niña’s age who like horses and The Wanted/One Direction… and bought them gifts. That was the fun part.

Parrot Refuge, Vancouver Island. It’s no secret that we help out the Parrot Refuge however we can. The parrot that La Niña is holding during our visit is Bailey… we sponsor Bailey at La Niña’s request. She donates her birthday money and money for presents to the refuge. What inspired her? She was bitten so badly by a parrot during our visit that she was temporarily traumatized. When she recovered (and we went back to visit that same parrot) she realized that it was not the parrot’s fault for biting her; humans made that parrot mentally sick through abuse. It opened her eyes to a different side of the world and she wants to make a difference for the parrots in whatever way she can. By the way, Bailey thanked her by painting a painting; it’s on the wall in her room.

Cochrane Humane Society. Kima comes from Cochrane… she had a very rough first year and was all but abandoned by rescue agencies. If taken into a kill shelter, Kima would be dead. She was difficult to rehabilitate, but now is a huge puddle of love and soft belly (for rubs). We joke that she is made of comfort and not for speed and is a great foot warmer (though lately she has come to REALLY enjoy jogging). Every Christmas we do a purge and gather up whatever we can (baby gates, dog carriers, old brushes, toys, towels, etc.) and bring them to Cochrane to help with the dogs. This rescue is not as high profile as others in Alberta. They are also a no kill shelter, which we support.

Bigshot Camera. This one is new to us and I wrote about it at GeekCafe because many IT companies in Silicon Valley are matching donations for cameras (if one employee purchases a camera, the company will purchase one and give to kids in need). As I already wrote, the idea behind the Bigshot is simple but rather ingenious: each camera comes in components and is designed to teach children about the science of how a camera works by taking them through the steps of building their own. For each camera purchased, money from the sales is used to purchase cameras for kids around the globe who would never be able to experience photography.

That’s our list. Now I challenge everyone else to think about what makes them passionate and how using this can make a difference… and not just over the holidays.

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