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AmeriCares

The Uncommon Life

Better to Give: Doing Good in the New Year

January 12, 2012

This holiday season, the term “Secret Santa” got a new meaning when mysterious donors paid off Kmart layaway accounts across the country. This heart warming story definitely helped get us in the holiday spirit, but it also got us thinking about ways to do good all year long.

We try to make it easy for our customers to help us give back through our Better to Give program. Through this program, we donate $1 to the Better to Give charity of your choice each time you place an order with UncommonGoods. Here’s what our partners were up to in 2011, and how you can get involved in 2012.

AmeriCares provided aid around the world in 2011, including continued work with earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan, providing emergency relief to victims of recent flooding in the Philippines, awarding more than $600,000 in disaster recovery grants to nonprofit organizations across the United States, and much more. With your help, we donated $7,928 to the humanitarian relief organization between October and December.

You can help AmeriCares continue to do good in 2012 by donating online, volunteering, and getting creative.

AmeriCares delivers food to mothers and babies in need in Somalia. Photo via AmeriCares by Jaya Vadlamudi, International Medical Corps.

RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, expanded their programs, helped thousands of people through their online and telephone hotlines, and educated millions about sexual abuse. Customer’s choosing RAINN as their Better to Give organization helped us give $18,910 to the nonprofit in our fourth business quarter last year.

The organization is currently working with sexual assault victims from Penn State, and are supporting Penn State Alumni in White Out Child Abuse, a national awareness event. If you’re in one of the eight major cities involved, you can participate on January 21, or visit their website to donate online.

You can also help by joining RAINN in supporting the SAFER Act, a “no-cost bill that will create the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER), which will track the status of DNA evidence collected in rape cases.”

American Forests is the nation’s oldest nonprofit citizens’ conservation organization. With your help, we gave $19,082 last quarter to help make America a little greener.

In 2011 American Forests established the Science Advisory Board, a diverse group of scientists from different fields, geographic areas, and work experiences, to help address the complex issues America’s forests are facing.

American Forests also launched the Forests for Fifty campaign, an effort to complete reforestation and education projects in all 50 states. Through this campaign, the organization will plant more than 5 million trees throughout 2011 and 2012.

You can get involved by helping American Forests plant trees, or by planting a tree of your own.


The UncommonGoods team isn’t afraid to get our hands dirty and get planting!

City Harvest Since 1982, City Harvest has been collecting excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms and delivering it, free of charge, to nearly 600 community food programs throughout New York City. In 2011 the organization delivered more than 30 million pounds of food to hungry people. The organization also provides education and assistance when it comes to nutrition counselling, prevention of diet-related diseases, and bringing sustainable, affordable food to low-income areas.

On May 11, 2011, City Harvest raised almost $500,000 to help New York’s hungry through their annual Skip Lunch Fight Hunger campaign. We helped by taking part in last May’s event, and by donating $17,431 as the year came to a close.

Licensed food businesses help City Harvest every day by donating food, but you can help even if you don’t own a store or restaurant. Individuals can donate funds,volunteer in one of City Harvest’s programs , or attend one of their upcoming events.

Do you volunteer with a nonprofit organization? Are you helping others in your community? Whether you’re gearing up to get involved with one of our Better to Give Partners, or making a difference in your own way, we’d love to hear how you’re doing good in 2012.

The Uncommon Life

Better to Give Update

August 8, 2011

Every three months, we get to write checks to our favorite non-profits. We base the size of those checks on you– which charities you vote for every time you make a purchase from our site.

So here’s what these great non-profits have been doing to make the world a better place.

AmeriCares

It’s been a rough year– from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami to the current drought and famine in Somalia. But that hasn’t slowed AmeriCares down one bit.

Your votes at checkout have helped us send $4,500 in the last three months to help AmeriCares deliver critical medical supplies to people in urgent need around the globe.

American Forests

American Forests joined our program in 2010. For every $1 we donate, they plant a tree. And with your votes, they planted more than 4,400 trees in the last 3 months.

Here are a few projects they’re working on right now.

Ecosystem Restoration in Los Padres National Forest, California
Trees: 224,000
A large-scale project to replant 14,000 acres, to include a sanctuary for the endangered California condor. All but eight percent of this national forest has been deforested by wildfires and other factors.

2011 Red Mountain Restoration, Idaho
Trees: 86,000
Replanting areas of the Boise National Forest to reduce erosion, improve water quality, and support habitats for local wildlife species like the lynx, boreal owl, northern goshawk, and northern three-toed woodpeckers.

Forest For Monarchs, Mexico
Trees: 200,000
A long term initiative that has already planted five million trees in the last four years, this year’s project works to restore 687 acres of the oyamel fir forests that make up the monarch butterfly’s wintering grounds, and will train local residents in sustainable forestry management.

Check out American Forests for more info on how you can get involved.

City Harvest

Using a fleet of 18 trucks and 3 cargo bikes, City Harvest will rescue more than 30 million pounds of food this year, helping to feed more than 300,000 men, women and children each week. At a cost of just 27 cents to rescue and deliver a pound of food, every dollar donated provides nearly four pounds of good food for hungry New Yorkers.

In May, our company helped out with City Harvest’s largest one day fundraiser, Skip Lunch Fight Hunger, where fundraising teams and individuals throughout New York City donated what they would normally spend on lunch to raise nearly $500,000. Those funds will help feed almost 24,000 children and their families throughout the summer months.

RAINN

RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, runs a national hotline to help people in crisis. You voted RAINN into our Better to Give program last fall, and voted to donate $4,500 to support their work over the past 3 months.

The hardworking folks at RAINN just told us, “Last month, July 2011, RAINN helped 12,659 survivors of sexual violence through our hotlines. It was the highest number of people we’ve helped in one month in more than 8 years.”


All these organizations run with the support of people like you, so thanks for your votes! Got a cause you’d like to see us support? Leave a comment to suggest a non-profit doing great work in your community.

The Uncommon Life

Coming Together Across Continents

April 4, 2011

In the wake of the devastating earthquake that shook Miyagi, Japan on March 11, members of the UncommonGoods family are reaching out to lend support to the families of nearly 11,000 who lost their lives and the hundreds of thousands who were left injured and homeless by the massive quake and the subsequent tsunami, which struck Japan’s eastern coastline.

AmeriCares, our Better to Give partner, is working to help those affected by this catastrophic natural disaster. Within hours of these events, AmeriCares began sending relief workers, organizing donations and contacting doctors to provide aid.

“Working with a local partner, AmeriCares distributed hundreds of cases of hygiene items—including soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and paste, diapers, baby wipes and bottled water—to shelters in the hard-hit cities of Iwanuma, Watari and Yamamoto in northeast Japan,” their online newsletter explains.

With thousands of individuals and families displaced, and more than 16,000 people still missing, AmeriCares continues to provide support to those in need.

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