Tis the season to be giving, so let me get to getting with my latest giveaway! This is not the last Afrobella giveaway of the year, but it’s one of the last before Christmas. And it’s a line that many, many, many of you bellas have expressed love for — Cantu Shea Butter hair products!

Word of mouth led me to discover this affordable, natural-hair friendly product line available at Drugstore.com, and I fell head over heels from first use.

Everything isn’t for everybody, but I’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews about the product line from readers ever since I first reviewed it in 2006. Like I said then, the Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment “makes my hair very curly, very defined, and very boingy.” Soft to the touch, but strong and difficult to break. I slick it on right out of the shower, and it takes just a little air drying to completely absorb (I do frequently leave the house with white beads of fluid on the ends of my coils, but because I live in a sunny climate I roll down my window on the way to work and poof, vamoose).

The Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream really is the business, 53 comments on Drugstore.com rate it at 4 stars out of a total of 5. Not bad, right? You get a deep, thick tub for $4.99, and this is a product that really does stack up against some of the more pricey curly hair brands, in terms of providing moisture to coarse, dry hair. For a product that’s so affordable, and yes – does contain some of those bad-for-you ingredients — I’m kind of astonished at how the combination of soybean oil and shea butter so effortlessly penetrates my hair shaft.

Cantu does occasionally leave buildup if I use it too often without in-between scalp scrubs and cleansing shampooing, so be forewarned. But I know so many of you bellas love the brand, because it’s affordable and effective.

And for those of you who haven’t tried if and are wondering — what can Cantu do for you? You can find out for yourself with the Afrobella Cantu Holiday Hair promotion!

Three winners will win $50 worth of Cantu products, including:

* Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream
* Grow Strong
* Super Shine Hair Silk
* Natural Olive Oil
* Rinse out conditioner
* Moisturizing cream shampoo
* Body lotion

I see you over there, wondering how you could win this awesome package just in time for the holidays. Well, normally I don’t ask much more than a question, or for you to repeat a specific phrase to be considered as an entry for my giveaways. But for this giveaway — considering the time of year and the economic times we’re in — I’d like to ask you bellas to do something a little different, and a lot important.

All over the news, there are stories of poverty and struggle and strife, of jobs being lost and companies being shut down. Some of the stories I find the most heartbreaking, are about the charity organizations that are suffering in the wake of this economic crisis.

When things are hard in your own home, it can be really difficult to think of someone else’s dilemmas. But we’re in a year when more people will need charitable support.

More people are homeless. More kids will go without toys this Christmas. More people will lose their jobs and their dreams for a bright 2009 before 2008 is even over.

Despite the grim times, there are LOTS of ways you can help others without spending a dime, starting right in your own community — by donating a bag of old clothes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, by visiting old people at a home, by volunteering to be a dog walker at your local animal shelter.

Some people prefer to do random acts of kindness. I once had a friend who spent a Christmas driving around shady parts of Miami, handing out food to the homeless from a big sack of Burger King he’d bought. I have another friend who helps to put on a Christmas party at a local orphanage every year.

There are ways to give to charity while giving to yourself, by buying gifts at Made By Survivors (check out this fly suede doctor’s bag, made by Nepalese sex trafficking survivors!) or UNICEF, or you could shop through IGive.com or We-Care.com.

This year, I’m donating clothes to Goodwill, money to the Humane Society, and buying some new, unwrapped toys to Toys for Tots.

I just saw a report on CNN that revealed because of the economy and this ongoing, senseless war, the Marines haven’t been able to drum up substantial efforts for this very worthwhile charity. So I’m doing my best to bring a smile to a little kid’s face next week, by donating a toy today.

So, bellas — in order to be considered to win this giveaway, I’d like you to tell me — what act of charity have you done, or will you promise to do for this holiday season?

The bellas who provide three of the best answers will walk away with a $50 basket of wonderful Cantu hair products. I will close these comments on Sunday, and announce winners first thing Monday! Good luck!

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Stacye says:
December 18, 2008, 11:25 am
I use the cantu leave in conditioner like a gel to slick my hair back. Me and my natural friends want to do a commercial for the cantu leave in b/c we love it so much!!
MissChoi says:
December 18, 2008, 11:27 am
In my spare time,I help all of the elderly women in my building do there grocery shopping free of charge.This year I donated food to Stuff A Truck in my area,and money to The Salvation Army.I have a baby ,but I still try to find time to help others.
tayari says:
December 18, 2008, 11:45 am
I am dedicating myself to a terrific organization in NYC called GIRLS WRITE NOW. GWN matches teen girls with writing mentors. 100% of the girls in GWN graduate highs chool and most go on to college. This year, I am going to raise at least $2,000 for the cause. I am starting now: on my blog, for everyone who sends a pic of themselves as a teen-- i am amking a donation to GWN. If you post on your blog about it, double. If you just write a check, I'll match it. http://www.tayarijones.com/blog/archives/2008/12/you_never_knew.html And look at this amazing video of one of the girls in the program reading her poetry. POWERFUL. http://maudnewton.com/blog/?p=9081 I am getting involved and I hope someone will read this and join us!
alicia says:
December 18, 2008, 11:58 am
This year has been financially tough for me but I still have a roof over my head and dependable family and friends. I haven't been able to buy the gifts that I have wanted but I have been volunteering more. Starting in January, I will be a personal shopper for the organization Dress for Success. Thanks Bella for helping us keep it in perspective...cause things can always get worse.
thesouthernlady says:
December 18, 2008, 11:59 am
Afrobella, you are so thoughful!! Since my family and I are moving this weekend, for the past month we have been giving stuff away. Clothing, kitchen utensils, and spare couches went to Goodwill. Gently used and brand new beauty/hair products that didn't work went to my old cosmetology school. My husband and I went to a silent auction and concert benifiting the SC HIV/AIDS council. My daughters old books and toys went to daycares. We usually do a giveaway of some of our stuff every year, but this year was a big cleansing! It feels good to start anew, but better when you know that you're helping others as well.
Get Togetha says:
December 18, 2008, 12:20 pm
Hey Bella. I don't want to win anything; but I do want to chime in that tis the season to be grateful. An attitude of gratitude can take you a long way. Yes..folks are going through things; but trouble don't last always and we sisters need to touch each other with that healing message. Sometimes when we tune in to radio, TV, and print media's "the sky is falling" message it sends our emotions into a downward spiral. I say cut it off and tune it out. And focus on your blessings. If the news doesn't make you feel good...why bother...? GT
Get Togetha says:
December 18, 2008, 12:21 pm
Oh yes! And donate your time if your funds are on E. There's nothing like seeing a smile on someone's face when you serve others. GT
Miss Mocha says:
December 18, 2008, 12:41 pm
I work with low income students that need that extra support to continue their journey through college. Many people might think that because they are in college they have made it but the truth is that once they get to college they need the most help.
Laquita says:
December 18, 2008, 12:45 pm
WoW - What a great contest - not only for the products but the rules are awesome. We try constantly teach our girls (my step-daughter and niece who lives with us - both 11 - believe me taking care of my niece coming from a place where she did not have to follow any rules, do homework, go to bed at a certain time etc - is a task in itself ) But anyway we teach them that it is important to always give to those who are in need even if it is just donating their time. We don't have anything specific planned for the holidays, but about every two to three months (they grow like weeds) we gather out-grown clothes/coats and/or unused toys etc. and donate them to Value Village - National Children's Center. Also once a month we volunteer and pack up food for a church Food Share project, where we pack up and distribute groceries for those less fortunate - although it takes a while for the girls to get up on Saturday at 6:30 am once they are there they actually enjoy it. And we will be doing that this Saturday right before Christmas. Again - great contest. BTW - I got your email concerning the African Pride products - since I've been using the Shampoo on my hair and love it :o)
BK says:
December 18, 2008, 12:45 pm
I have a friend who is a principal and a school in my county. A lot of the children did not have coats so I worked with her to start a coat drive at our gym. We also held a food drive to help stock the pantry and allow the families to get care packages. The drive runs through 12/21 at our gym and the families can begin picking up care packages on Monday 12/22. The coats have already begun distribution and after donating about 15 coats from my closet from my children and myself I was happy to see the kids at her school wearing them. Philanthropy touches close to my heart hence why I left the dark world of finance and began working with a nonprofit foundation about a year ago. I get to do what I love in my career and at the same time help others.. I have gathered so many resources that I can direct my friends and/or others in the right direction in their time of need. Christmas day two of my daughter's classmates are coming to dinner at my home and spending the week. Their parents recently passed together so I reached out to the grandmother to help her out. It's not easy raising a teenager and teenage girls aren't any easier.. I would love to win this because I love the products and use them often but whomever it goes to I hope they enjoy it!!! Merry Christmas Afrobella!
Tanya says:
December 18, 2008, 12:49 pm
I have a 9-month old daughter. Every year for the holiday season I want to pick a charity that are in need of items. Whether it's toys, school supplies, or non-perishables, I want my daughter to actively help me out in choosing the items and taking them to the charity that needs them. I want my daughter to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as her, and that they need people like us to help make their holiday season a little more brighter.
westindianladee says:
December 18, 2008, 12:59 pm
This is definitely a good idea Afrobella. I dunno bout you guys but I'm sooo ready for 2008 to be over, I have better hopes for 2009. I've signed up to volunteer for the American Diabetes Association, it's something I've always wanted to do especially since my mom died from it years ago. I don't have the money right now since I've been out of work for a couple months but I do have the time to give. I am also be gathering clothes to donate for Christmas. What a lovely way to pay it forward, simple yet high impact ideas like this brings a bit of Christmas spirit I've been lacking...
Elvira says:
December 18, 2008, 1:05 pm
For this season and for the year following, I plan to dedicate myself to helping the less fortunate in my home country Liberia. I've always done that for the most part but for this time in particular, there's a specific goal. After many years of war and destruction the country is finally seeing hope. The stories are many and long, but one person specifically needs help and I aim to help provide as much as I can. A cultural icon, almost forgotten, now lives in a shack - http://www.liberiaseabreeze.com/archives/174. She provided for so many in her heyday and now I feel I must give back.
Shayla says:
December 18, 2008, 1:39 pm
Great question. My daughter is growing like a weed so we are constantly donating all of her things to Goodwill. Also, my religious organization has a women's charity organization that has been inactive for a few years now. I'm determined to get on the board and revive it. Now is the time to reach out to people with some love and encouragement. I've made it a point to call/visit some of the older members of our congregation at least once a week. I started doing it to just check on them and see how they were or if they needed anything in this winter season. Its a small gesture for which I have been rewarded with hours of good stories and lots of laughs. Our elderly are full of wisdom to share! Giving certainly has its rewards.
kemmie says:
December 18, 2008, 1:41 pm
Me and some of my co-workers "adopted" a school and a couple families within the school to provide them with gifts for Christmas and other necessary dailty items (shoes, coats,underwear, etc. Although I too ma struggling a bit (single parent with little to no addtl support) I was able to buy gifts for 2 children. I also took me children along with me to assist in the shopping, which they loved. I think it is important for them to know how to give back. Even though we may not have as much as others, we are still better off than those we helped! Merry Christmas!!
Browntastic says:
December 18, 2008, 2:00 pm
Afrobella, I feel for you because this is going to be a really hard one to decide. I've seen a lot of touching stories on here. Times are really hard this. I just graduated from a university, and me and my friends are all having a hard time finding jobs. I've worked at the University library for the past few years as s student worker and hoped to be hired there, but they didn't have the budget to hire me.. so i'll be jobless just in time for Christmas! yay... this means there will probably be no Christmas gifts, but luckily I have friends who are more concerned with the real reason we celebrate Christmas(Jesus). On to "what i've done this "holiday season"" I recently went to a group home for runaways and abused kids with some memebers of my church. We played games with the kids, did activies, and bought them cookie baking stuff so we could bake with them. We also had worship music and prayed with them. We told them that God loves them and wanted a relationship with them. This was especially important since most of them feel as if they have no one and that no one cares for them. This is hard for children, especially during the holidays. I won't be able to do it again before the new year, but I hope to be able to do it again in a few weeks.
Jennifer says:
December 18, 2008, 2:01 pm
Bella, I'm a recent college grad who thought that she had gotten the oppprtunity of a lifetime. I was offered to work in a private government sector making double what my friends were making. 30 days later, I was fired from the job. NO warning, NO nothing. While I was in the office receiving my walking papers, the first thing that came to my mind was "How can you fire someone around Christmas?" Since then I have been spending alot of time at home (as well as looking for a job) looking at all of the stuff that I don't use. I have waaaaaaaaay too much stuff. SO I started cleaning: Purse, old jackets, clothing, shoes, shirts were going into bags. I live in the country/suburbs and didn't know when I was going to be able to drop off the clothes. Lo and behold, I open up the garage yesterday and the Salvation Army pickup truck was in front of my house! Needless to say, I ran up to the truck and asked the gentlemen if I could donate my old clothing! I know this isn't as elaborate as others, but I felt good that someone will benefit from clothings and I didn't even appreciate. Merry Christmas all!
Nicole says:
December 18, 2008, 3:12 pm
Bella, I work at a school were most of the kids live in poverty. There is always an opportunity to help someone out. This year my family participated in the toy lift. We picked out gifts (that were donated to the toy lift and then taken to a warehouse) for some students who's parents can not afford to buy gifts. I also have a friend who has injured her foot, so I take her shopping when she needs to go out so she wont have to spend money on cabs. Since we are about to on a break from school, I would like to take one little girl who lost her mother and brother in a house fire last year iceskating over the break. Since I met this little girl she has been an inspiration to me. It is amazing that she can still come to school with a smile after having such a tragic thing happen to her at age 8. She reminds me that my problems are not so bad after all. I have two kids of my own but I think it is very important to make time for others no matter how busy things may get.
MsJackson says:
December 18, 2008, 3:14 pm
I do big brothers big sisters, so I spend time with my little sister, and I will something extra special for her for Christmas, and then we will do a volunteer activity of her choosing. I am running a half marathon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Dragoness says:
December 18, 2008, 4:40 pm
I don’t know if you call this giving to charity or volunteering, to me it’s just helping out family. I spent my teen years in care (meaning I was in care of the crown) living in various group and foster homes. I spend a lot of time visiting my old group homes and hanging with the girls there. I help them with everything from home work, resumes (pt jobs) and a lot of the basic life skills. But mostly I’m someone other than the staff to talk to, someone who knows where they are coming from because they’ve been there and really care. It’s mostly because I want to do for them what I wish someone was able to do for me when I was in care, someone to talk to who’s been there and can understand where I was coming from. As for the future, I just started a new job which has taken me a step closer to my goal to being a foster parent. The system is very short on people of colour who are willing to take in foster kids. But I want to focus on the “high risk” kids.
Aleta says:
December 18, 2008, 5:35 pm
Bella - I'm fortunate to have a job as a magazine and newspaper editor in chief right out of school, unlike my '08 classmates, most of whom are still unemployed or working at Starbucks despite their master's degrees. I work 60 hours a week, so I do as much as I can to give back to the community through my publications. I max out my budget finding work for writers and photographers, many of whom are desperate for income. I also had the pleasure of publishing a very well written article by a 12-year-old boy with autism and OCD about his soccer tournament. But I've also turned my small weekly paper, The Rural Virginian, into a philanthropic tool. We have always received press releases about community fundraisers for our community events calendar, but now we turn them into articles to get the word out. I'm most proud of a series of articles I had the honor to write about a local 30-year-old stay at home mother of 3 small children with stage 4 colon cancer. We found out about the family through a benefit concert a local church put together for them, and I wrote articles to give the concert as much publicity as possible (750 community members came, and the event raised over $16,000 - just in time for her next round of chemo). Now I've continued to write occasional articles to educate the community about what it's like to have cancer, particularly in this economy, and to publicize the family's cancer fund. It's tough out there, and sometimes I feel like I'm not doing very much when I see some of these stories go by. But I feel blessed that at least I can give some shelter to other media professionals and can use my publications to (hopefully) raise awareness in my community.
bella says:
December 18, 2008, 6:20 pm
I am LOVING the results of this giveaway. And bellas - don't feel like you have to make something up to win, or compete. Sometimes the smallest acts are the most meaningful. Or even planning to be charitable in 2009. Every little bit helps.
Angel_Mama says:
December 18, 2008, 8:14 pm
As a single mom, it is always my top priority to make sure my son grows up to be a good person. Every year before Christmas we talk about how blessed he is to receive gifts from Mommy. He's only 4 but understands that some children are not as blessed as he is and he voluntarily goes through his toys and packs a box for donation to Goodwill. Last year, he gave me one of his NEW gifts and told me: "I got a lot Mommy. Can we give those kids this one too?"
pets says:
December 18, 2008, 9:06 pm
Bella is doing what she learnt from her family and we are very proud of her.
lilone says:
December 18, 2008, 9:31 pm
*claps to miss mocha* Bella, I just want to remind everyone that although we are in a "recession" there are still ways for us to give. As a flat broke college student in DC, I pass numerous panhandlers on the street everyday. It used to irk me as I scrounged up change for the metro and re-used my bus transfers ((shhhh don't tell lol)) that anyone would have the audacity to hassle me in my 'everything courtesy of my parents' outfits without a dime to my name. Buuuut... everyone needs food. So on one of my good days when I ordered a pizza I got an extra large and gave one of the ladies I sometimes see a slice on the way back to my apartment. She told me she hadn't eaten in a few days because it had been too cold to panhandle so she really appreciated it. That's my little bit lol. Pizza and chit chat :)
Naturally DevaSTing says:
December 18, 2008, 9:32 pm
Regardsless of who wins, I'm sure all the Bellas can attest to the beauty and importance of giving this holiday season, especially this year when the economy has spared no-one any respite from its devasting blow. Each person's response has been an inspiring read that allows us all to remember to remember to be more thankful for what we have, and to acknowledge the thoughtful words of our mothers everywhere who would always say "there are those worse off than you." This year, I've adopted a woman in the war-torn country of Sudan through an organization called Women For Women International that teaches, encourages and supports the empowerment of women in war-torn countries. It is a year-long program where you pay a monthly stipend to sponsor a sister, which she uses to pay for basic necessities and, if possible, pay for her kids to go to school. In addition, all the women from each area are taught job skills, parenting, health and life skills as a group, thereby helping to foster a sisterhood of Bellas who can re-build their communities. During the year, you can write to your sister, as they can too. I'll also be donating money, along with friends, to help a local family who are unable to purchase gifts and other supplies for their kids this Christmas. Lastly, I'm planning to volunteer Christmas morning at one of the homeless missions in my neighborhood.
naturalmel says:
December 18, 2008, 9:37 pm
At the end of every year I take the opportunity to go through all the clothes in my home (mine and my hubby's) and donate everthing that I KNOW for sure has not been worn more than 5 times in the year so of course I will take that project on once again. Because I am so inspired by your willingness to pay it forward by getting all of us bellas to go out and do good works, I promise to join the mentor program at my local YMCA. I am who I am today because of all the positive women who were in my life starting from an early age. My mother and grandmother set the example for me that giving back is a mandate in life and admittedly I have big shoes to fill but I thank you Afrobell for giving me the motivation I needed to start! Thanks for the positive energy!
Ms. Beans says:
December 18, 2008, 10:07 pm
Yes I use Leave in Conditioner by Cantu and I love it!!! My hair has been going through some rough breakage as a result my hair was becoming really thin. I found the product by accident...I just looked at the products on the shelf not really looking for anything and saw the white cream and thought....wow that looks nice..LOL....so I picked it up, read it, and decided to buy it. I was not hoping for anything positive to happen with my hair because I have used products in the past that did not work on my natural hair.I guess you can say it was my luck that day! :)
NaturalHair58 says:
December 18, 2008, 11:19 pm
Afrobella, what a wonderful idea!! I have recently found your website and I love it. I chemically straightened my hair for more than 30 years, and decided 16 months ago to stop the relaxers. I have read so many positive comments about Cantu products. I am a PJ and have decided not to buy anymore products until I decide what I'm going to stick with.So I would love to "win this product". My husband said that I have enough products to open a beauty salon. But enough of that, I would like to respond to the question: My husband and I feel we are truly Blessed my God. We have two childrren in college ages 18 and 20 and decided a few years ago to donate to two charities. One is "Feed The Children", it takes so little to help so many, and the other is our local Santa Claus Anonymous. When I was young my family always received gift certificates from santa Claus Anonymous so I wanted to especially give back to that organization. I am also an educator and we select a few families from our school to help at Christmas time. We really feel it is better to give than receive. "Those of us with much should give more."
shay-d-lady says:
December 19, 2008, 12:03 am
I am a manager and this year instead of doing the traditional "Secret Santa" gift exchange I called the salvation army and adopted a family and each of my team members pulled a "gift" request from the bag. We then collected 5.00 from every one remaining in the department to buy additional items. To make way for her new gifts from santa me and my duaghter went through her old toys and clothes and donated 3 big bags of clothing and toys to the Goodwill. My sister and I also recently started a squad of majorettes in an underpriviliged community center. I treated all the girls to a christmas pizza party and small gifts as well as helped them make cards and crafts for their parents. I believe in giving back so I volunteer at my daughters school all the time. I hope I am instilling the same morals and values in my daughter. She was so eager to give her old toys away to people who might not have them. She made sure to wipe them off and she made sure the toys were working and in good condition.
Carolyn says:
December 19, 2008, 12:27 am
I currently work at a homeless shelter for men with substance abuse histories. I am a casemanager and I must say that this is definitely the most rewarding job I have ever had. So, during this holiday season I can say that I am putting 150% into my job to try and get as many of my clients housing as possible....and not because I am getting paid to but because I feel like it's what I was destined to do and what I need to do...and so I am busting my but....working long hours....and just trying to figure out how I can get some of these guys (because I just can't do it for all of them) into their own housing for the holidays....That really makes me feel blessed that I can help them and it adds that much more cheer and hope to my holiday season!!!!!!
Diaper Duty says:
December 19, 2008, 12:47 am
Hey everyone, check out http://diaperdutydiary.blogspot.com/ any tips on how to make it better?
Regina says:
December 19, 2008, 1:32 am
My church is involved in the angel food project. The project lets people buy boxes of food (enough to feed a family of 4 for a week or two) at discounted prices. I ordered and paid for 2 boxes and then had the church give them to elderly members. I would love some Cantu products!
NaturalOasis says:
December 19, 2008, 1:43 am
God bless you! You have my mind racing about all of the wonderful things that I can do without even worring about the cost! I love that you chose to awaken everyones mind to the need of sharing with the next person. I am currently in the military and have always found ways of donating and helping with charities along the way. I must say that after listening to the many ways that all of your beautiful Bellas will be giving back if makes me feel like anything is possible. I currently work nights and am literally sitting at my desk with a list of brilliant ways that I can donate my time and services to making someones life a little brighter. Because my husband is Muslim he doesn't celebrate Christmas but because I was raised enjoying the holiday, I am making it possible for my son to experience the joy of Christmas. He is only 2 years old so I bought a total of gifts that I know he will love (all were under $80) and in turn I will be going through his toys, clothing and coats and finding an organization to donate them to. I donated clothing, furniture, canned goods and other things to the Vietnam Vets in October and am now looking forward to making a charitable donation to Toys for Tots. Dollar General, Family Dollar and many of these types of stores sell toys that are really cost effective and would be appreciated by any child. They have dump trucks and tool sets for boys for only $5 as well as baby dolls and other toys for girls. My plan is to go and purchase $60-$100 worth of toys and donate them to Toys for Tots. I thank you and all of your readers for planting the seed and helping me to unleash some of my hidden potential. I wish you all well in the new year!
Diona Robin says:
December 19, 2008, 3:12 am
Here's my promise: I would get to share this kit with my mother, and sister, who are both transitioning to natural styles at the smae time as I am. How cool is that? And here's what I've already done: I'm in grad school in LA and I am lucky enough to fly home for the holidays to Detroit. While waiting for my flight at JAM packed LAX, Southwest announced that a gentleman was trying to make it home to visit his grandchildren in Detroit, and needed volunteers to be bumped to the next flight. I stepped up, but wasn't flown out untill the next day. (I read a lot of magazines!) Then, on my flight, I gave up my seat not once, but twice to two families with small children so they could all enjoy a flight together. (Hey, it might not seem like much, but after being in an Airport for 18 hours with no shower and only 3 hours of sleep, giving up a window seat to being cramped between two football players is not easy!)
HappyToBeNappy says:
December 19, 2008, 8:52 am
I'm in the process of going through my clothes right now. I'm making a pile of things to donate to the rescue mission here in my town. I'm also planning to buy a few extra toys this weekend when I do my shopping for my son (i know i'm late). That way I can give a few toys to the mission also. They help a lot of needy families around here. Happy Holidays everyone.
sjay says:
December 19, 2008, 11:00 am
Every year for the past 8 years, my hubby and I take our kids Christmas shopping for children who have an incarcerated parent, through the Angel Tree program. From the Angel Tree staff we receive a child's first name, age and their wish list. We usually shop for 2 or 3 Angel Tree children. It never fails, these kids just ask for things they truly need, i.e. school uniform, coats, school supplies, shoes. So, we get what they ask for, then go above and beyond and get what they might also dream about but not dare ask for...iPods, video games, pricey athletic shoes, etc. We spend more for these kids than our own (our own kids get stuff all year long). Our kids go crazy shopping for someone else and it makes me feel good that they are growing up realizing the true spirit of the season is giving, not receiving. When I was a teacher at a private Christian school, in lieu of gifts, I would ask parents to donate to the Angel Tree program and they would do so cheerfully. One year, my class donated $1000 to the Angel Tree program...I still get teary when I think about it now.
Bridgette says:
December 19, 2008, 11:09 am
My family is living off one income and with two small children that can sometimes be hard to do. So far, we have donated clothes to Goodwill. We also went to a community center in a poorer part of our city and gave gifts to the young children there. My 2 and 3 year old were pissed at first because they wanted the gifts for themselves. After we left, my 3 year old said that was fun. So, in my eyes, she benefited way more than those kids did. We've also donated tons of food to food pantries. I've always wondered about the Cantu products but just never tried them. Even if I don't win this, I'm going to buy some. My daughter's hair is extremely dry so maybe this will help.
Veronica says:
December 19, 2008, 11:22 am
Well, every year my family and I donate old clothes to Amvets. And this year at work, we have been collecting food for our local food shelter here in Cincinnati. We've even made it into a competition between the companies that occupy our building. The winner gets a pizza party. But the biggest winner is the shelter. So far we have collected over 400 boxes and cans of non perishable food to be delivered!! Yay!!!! :)
Kimberly Frink says:
December 19, 2008, 12:52 pm
It is the holiday season that turn people around and offer to do something nice for someone else. Last month I recently purchased a new book called "Young, Beautiful & HIV Positive" by Marvelyn Brown. The young woman touched me so much by her strength, courage and struggle. Her HIV Awareness campaign and her many features on television (BET, MTV, America's Next Top Model) and in print ads are amazing. I sent her an email expressing my love for the wonderful work that she is doing by telling her story and sharing with everyone that HIV can happen to anyone and is affecting the Black community in astounding new statistical figures. Once she saw that I was a web designer, she asked me to redesign her website. After seeing some of my designs, she asked me how much I would charge her. I told her not to worry about any costs. I was more than willing to help her and her mission to help fight HIV and Aids prevention in the United States. It's the Christmas season and it is the least that I can do. Everyone stay tuned because www.marvelynbrown.com is about to get an amazing new design in the near future. And go out and purchase the book, it's well worth it.
Ebonys says:
December 19, 2008, 2:10 pm
Hi Afrobella, Your reminder to share our blessings is timely! I just saw a segment of the View that featured gifts that give. One of them was Operation Hero Miles http://www.heromiles.org/ which donates tickets to family members of wounded soldiers so they can visit them in hospitals overseas. I have never heard of this before. I made a donation of 5,000 miles to the programme, in the hope that it can help some family reunite this holiday season or later. I have accumulated these miles flying between Barbados and Kentucky (where I am doing my masters in social work) in the last year and a half. I will not be with my family in Barbados for Christmas as my university internship is continuous for a year & I only get the week of Christmas off. :-(
Tara Pringle Jefferson says:
December 19, 2008, 4:54 pm
I just wrote about this on my blog. I've been in a HUGE giving back/paying it forward mood this year. I consider myself blessed to be able to provide for my family and I want to do something to help others who might be having difficulty. I'm donating all my kids' old clothes to homeless shelters. My son grew so fast that most of his clothes have never been worn! I'm donating all my maternity clothes to moms at the domestic violence shelters who may not have had time to grab their clothes before they left. I also participated in my company's annual Giving Tree activity, where I bought clothes and toys for children in the care of the county. Plus, we're about to move to a new house, so I figured it's a good time to donate things that we just don't use (but are still in excellent condition, like my kids' bassinet that they used all of three times combined). I would feel much better knowing that someone who truly needed it had it rather than just keeping in my apartment. I say all this not just for the giveaway (although I'd love to win!) but because it's wonderful to see how many people on here are looking to be Santa themselves this year. It's a beautiful thing. Tara http://theyoungmommylife.com
Tara Pringle Jefferson says:
December 19, 2008, 4:56 pm
For some reason, my links didn't go through. http://theyoungmommylife.com/2008/12/10/giving-back-when-you-can/ http://theyoungmommylife.com/2008/12/16/bah-humbug/
Jonai says:
December 19, 2008, 5:40 pm
Almost every yeat my husband and I clean out our closets and donate clothes and coats to charity, and go out and feed the homeless with our sons. This year we did not have anything to give, so I did not have a clue about what we were going to do in order to help those in need. But after recieving my financial aid for my first semester in Graduate School about a month ago and paying the balance on my tuition, I was left with a few extra dollars to make this Christmas a bit warmer for a few of my extended family members who don't have. There is an old saying that my Grandmother (RIP) used to always say..."charity starts at home, if you can help anyone out first, help your family!" So to sum it all up I gave my single mother cousin a call and asked her what did her four children need or really want this year for Christmas. She emailed me a list, then my mother and I went to Target to get the top 3 items on their lists. I know that we should all do something for others less fortunate, I just never knew what less fortunate was, until I had my own children and my own household to proivide for. Each year I promise continue to help someone out who is in need but I will begin to help those in my family first.
Avartsy says:
December 19, 2008, 6:13 pm
Hello there, I'm an avid reader of your blog and decided to participate in your give-aways for the first time. I'm not exactly sure that it'll be for this season, but I thought I'd share the idea anyway. I am in the process of starting a non-profit poverty foundation for children ages 3-18 based in Nigeria. Poverty is so rife and it's very disheartening to read that a child is unable to attend school because they can't afford tuition as low as $20. I'm not officially up and running to accept donations just for accountability purposes, but I started a blog a few months ago to help me along. Even if I don't win the products, I am a natural sistah and used the leave in conditioner with great success as a loose nappy head. Merry Christmas, Ms. Afrobella!
Clara Lucien says:
December 20, 2008, 12:54 am
Although Chistmas is the time of giving, I believe that you shouldn't just wait until the holidays to help make difference in someone's life. As of October od this year I have been volunteering as a hometutor at the Commonwealth Tenant Association(CTA). As a college student, I can sometimes get wrapped up in my shool and life that I forget about others. Thus in being a hometutor, I am able to put my selfish needs aside and focus on someone else who need my help. Each time that i tutor my mentee, i am able to help change/improve one spect of her life that I hope will affect her in some way in the future. ~Much love~
zetwalnoire says:
December 20, 2008, 3:17 am
peace and blessings all: i am collecting baby clothes and baby necessities like cloth diapers and bottles to send to hurricane victims in Haiti and the Cayman Islands. and with thousands of others i will be meditating/praying for world peace on New Year's Eve. happy Kwanzaa!
charitymojo says:
December 20, 2008, 11:23 am
I decided to buy gifts for friends and family that benefit good causes and charities, so I trolled the web searching for gift ideas and charity auctions. I did it! about 90% of the gifts I bought benefited animal causes, water conservation, fair trade, world hunger. I feel great! I also started a blog for other looking for gift ideas that benefit good causes- http://charitymojo.com
Obcydian says:
December 20, 2008, 5:11 pm
Everyone has given some really good suggestions so far. I will definitely add some of these activities in the new year, so thanks! My turn now... I've volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House for the past two years, and I love it. RMH is a place where a lot of low-income parents and other family members temporarily live while their ill children are in a nearby hospital. Many of their relatives are ill to the point where they need to be transported to a specialized children's hospital, usually outside of their city. At least once a month, I gather up some friends, and we spend a Saturday afternoon planning,cooking, and serving a dinner for the families living there. Whether it is a simple taco or spaghetti night we plan, or an elegant Thanksgiving dinner, it's great to do something that lets families spend more time with their sick relatives. Most of the parents and kids are away from the rest of their family, and overcome with stress and anxiety, especially during the holidays. It's amazing how something as simple as spending a half-day cooking a meal for them can really lift their spirits.
Spinster says:
December 20, 2008, 8:11 pm
I gave about 7 bags of clothing and household goods to a veterans' assistance program. I have even more to give to them. Much of it was in excellent or good condition. I don't believe in giving others things that are in bad condition when I know I wouldn't use them myself.
139th says:
December 20, 2008, 10:52 pm
In my community, there are many young fathers / single fathers. Since the age of 16 (I'm 20 now), every year I and a couple other people, have access to the local rec center. We cook, donate presents and money, decorate, in order for these kids and their fathers to have a good Christmas. It's really nice to see that these young men, on their own, are taking care of their children. And to see them and their kids face light up when they see how we set up the rec center, and all the presents and music, really makes me smile.
Larnies says:
December 21, 2008, 12:28 pm
Hi Afrobella! Two good friends of mine and I recently raised a little under $1,000 to throw a Holiday Christmas party for the children of a small community known as Coco Solo in Panama. With the money raised, we purchased the children shoes, toys, and holiday treats. Coco Solo is a former US Naval Air Base where Sen. John McCain was born. Today, some 200 families who were displaced after the 1989 US invasion of Panama live in the very same buildings built by the US Navy last century. They do not have running water, proper sewage, or trash removal. My friends and I have been traveling to Coco Solo weekly to conduct interviews and photograph residents. I'd like to write an article to bring attention and resources to the impoverished community. As I know you are a journalist Afrobella, any help or contacts you could provide me with would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
NaturalGloLady says:
December 21, 2008, 8:22 pm
Bella, I hope I'm not too late to share my activities of love and kindness. But here goes.. Most recently, a woman approached me at one of my favorite stores. She asked me to tell her where the gift wrap tissue paper was located to put into her gift basket creation. I had just put back on the shelf a pack of white tissue and traded it for the colored tissue paper. I thought maybe I could go back show her, pick up that pack and give it to her. Well, it was gone! So I reached into my cart and gave her the last pack to be found in the store. At first she resisted and did'nt want to take my find, but I insisted. She then said, Thank you so much! How nice of you, may I give you a hug? Merry Chrismas. She added. I reassured her that it would be fine, I'll just use shredded colorful paper for my gift creation. I felt overjoyed I could help her in her search. As far as charity I gave food, at the elementary school where I work, the students, teachers and staff collected 1,300 canned goods to donated to the Food Bank and American Legion. Canned goods and non-perishable items were overflowing from boxes throughout our school! The kids were elated that them could make such a difference. We also donated Pennies for Pets towards the local Animal Shelter.Its been a great week.
akapluto says:
December 21, 2008, 8:47 pm
i dont charity... unless its in direct reciprocation of charity done for me. but... i do rescue loose pennies off the sidewalk and put them into my piggy bank (:
loretta says:
December 21, 2008, 9:00 pm
I have done this in the past and this holiday. I signed up to volunter at the salvation Army. I have cooked meals and served food for the homeless men, women and children.It is a blessing for me because I was once homeless and someone helped me.