Someone with kindnesses to report asked me earlier in the week if SpReAd the Love was still going on, and I realized that it had been some time since I posted an update – almost a month in fact. Since the last update, kindness reports have slowed down a bit…I have no doubt that people are still being as kind as ever though. Jazzy and I have been talking for awhile about what our next challenge could be, and yesterday we brainstormed what we might do to honor Richard Armitage’s new project playing Chop in Blenheim Films adaptation Urban and the Shed Crew.
I won’t go into great detail but, as many of you already know, the film is based on Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew, by Bernard Hare. The book is a non fiction memoir of sorts in which Hare, nicknamed Chop, recounts his experiences with a group of kids in crisis in the East End Park estate of Leeds in the 1990’s. It is an often disturbing account of children who have been neglected, abused, abandoned, exploited or some combination thereof and have either slipped through the cracks or repeatedly eluded the social welfare system. Lives permeated by drug use and addiction, delinquency, prostitution, pregnancy and disease are “life as usual” for these kids.
This would be a sobering fictional tale, but it’s not fiction. The shocking and heartbreaking truth is that the conditions Hare describes, and even worse, are a brutal reality for hundred’s of thousands of children all over the world. It occurred to Jazzy and me that it would be great if our next SpReAd the Love challenge reached out to kids at risk. The fact that there are loads of charitable organizations dedicated to these causes, some local, some national, some international, is testimony to the severity of the problem on a global scale.
A Google search for “at risk kid donations” or “child addiction outreach donations” (or something similar) combined with your locale will show you charities in your area. Although monetary donations are welcomed by most charities, SpReAd the Love is all about spreading kindness in ways besides cash donation. A lot of these organizations are looking for donations of things like toiletries, school supplies, clothing, toys, etc. to be passed along to kids in need. Some of them also accept volunteers to work directly with kids. The specifics vary from charity to charity. (This info is fairly easily accessible for the UK, US and Austrailia, but I’ve had less immediate luck in other areas…if anyone has info they’d like to share, please let me know in comments, or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
So here’s the challenge:
- Find a charitable organization that reaches out to children in crisis…whether they are homeless, runaways, addicted, it doesn’t really matter, as long as a child in need receives assistance.
- Donate to that charity in whatever capacity you are able…whether it is volunteering your time, or donating a bar of soap or a toothbrush, the size of the donation doesn’t matter. (Many of these organizations have “wish lists” of things that they need.)
- Report your kindness donations to either Jazzy or me through the regular channels and we’ll add them to the tally.
Our kindness total as of today has reached 291 kindnesses…we maxed out our first anonymous matching pledge of $200 to Richard Armitage’s JustGiving Charities earlier this year. We are almost half way to maxing out our second matching pledge. Our second donor has agreed to keep the offer open through the end of May – I think we can max that pledge out at $200 as well….meaning that by the end of May we will have spread kindness all over and donated $400 to worthy causes. Armitageworld really is populated by some pretty awesome people! If anyone is interested in being a matching donor (anonymous or otherwise) for JustGiving, we’d LOVE to talk to you!
Coincidentally (or maybe not) our challenge takes place in the year that Center of Missing and Exploited Children in the US marks its 30th Anniversary. It’s sad that such organizations are needed, but each and every child they assist makes me grateful. As we were looking around at this topic, one kind of neat organization popped up
For many of us it doesn’t seem like much, but for children who don’t have a home, the possibility of “home” in a bag filled with things that belong only to them, is probably something special.
So, there you go….SpReAd the Love Challenge #2. We can’t wait to hear from you!!