This is the season of giving, and I just finished shooting the Shelly Palmer Digital Living Hi-Tech Holiday Gift Guide for Fox Television. It’s going to air on December 16th at 10:30pm ET on Fox 5 here in NY. Check your local listings. I cover all kinds of interesting hi-tech gifts from computers to smartphone to connected television sets – but I believe that some of the best gifts we can give this holiday season are to people in need. There are thousands of worthy causes and I’m sure you have your favorites. This year, I have three organizations that I’d like you to consider:
DonorsChoose.org is a unique website with a remarkable mission – they envision a nation where children in every community have the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education. It started back in 2000 when Charles Best, a social studies teacher, sensed that many people would like to help distressed public schools, but were frustrated by a lack of influence over their donations. He created DonorsChoose.org so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.
I love this website. You can search it for projects that are meaningful to you and then rejoice in the knowledge that you have helped enhance a child’s education.
When my father passed away in 2008, we started the Lon T. Palmer Music Education Fund in his honor. Early in his career, my dad was a public school music teacher in the inner city. He believed that music was a powerful engine for tolerance and a fundamental language with unifying qualities. So, to help focus his students, he created a drumline. It’s amazing how a pair of drums sticks, a practice pad and a little direction can change lives. I wanted to see if we could expand our giving outside of the New York City public school system – sure enough, a quick search on donorschoose.org delivered a whole bunch of music teachers who shared my late father’s vision. Try it for yourself, the site is awesome and the results are outstanding.
Another favorite is charitywater.org – I’ve had the pleasure of hearing its founder, Scott Harrison, speak on several occasions. His story is unique and inspirational; you should take a moment to learn about him. Interestingly, the charity he founded uses technology to deliver in ways that are extremely emotionally satisfying.
Why water? Almost a billion people live without clean drinking water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause more deaths each year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable to this -- their small bodies can’t handle the intense dehydration from diarrheal diseases.
In developing countries, women and children usually collect the water for their families. They walk miles each day to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick. Time spent walking keeps them from attending school, working or taking care of their families.
But clean water changes everything.
Safe drinking water alone can reduce water-related deaths by 21%. Water projects built near home can restore hours to someone’s day. Instead of walking for water, adults can use this time to work and children can use it to get an education. Families with enough clean water to drink, bathe, clean and grow their own food can become self-sufficient households, less affected by external conflict, famine or inadequate government services.
Please visit chartiywater.org and consider making a donation.
Last, but certainly as important to me as anything else I’m involved with, is the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Department of Pediatrics.
As many of you know, my granddaughter, Emma, was diagnosed with Cancer in March of this year. We are extremely fortunate to have received the care and support from an amazing team of Doctors, Nurses and Specialists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to help us get through an extraordinarily difficult time. I am happy to report that Emma is 6 months Cancer FREE and counting!
This is a great time to support all of the children and families that are fighting Cancer, many of whom will be receiving treatment throughout the holidays. The Department of Pediatrics at MSKCC has created a “WISH LIST” that I wanted to pass along. I hope all of you have a happy and healthy holiday season.
The following is written by MSKCC:
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Department of Pediatrics Wish List
Thank you for your interest in donating to Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Your gifts will go a long way towards brightening the hospital stays for our pediatric patients.
At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center we treat more children and young adults with cancer daily than any other institution in the world. Our Pediatric Disease Management Team includes more than 30 full-time physicians and surgeons, each of whom has expertise in one or more areas of pediatric oncology.
Our goal is to minimize the impact of cancer and its treatment on a child and each member of his or her family, and to have that child return to his or her community to grow into a happy, vibrant adult.
For more information please visit: http://www.mskcc.org/pediatrics
Below is our wish list for 2011, as well as general information on making donations to our department.
MAKING A DONATION
To mail a donation to Pediatrics, please send to:
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Department of Pediatrics c/o Rachel Corke Room C900 1275 York Avenue New York, NY 10065
To drop off a donation at MSKCC:
Call Rachel Corke to schedule your donation drop off: 212-639-2285 Donations are accepted Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM Donations are not accepted on Saturdays, Sundays or Holidays
Because of our infection control policy we only accept new toys, and no stuffed animals. The patient population includes many infants and toddlers. Please avoid toys that have small or sharp pieces or items that fall apart easily. Include in all donations your name, phone number, and address where we can send an acknowledgment letter.
MONETARY DONATIONS (PREFERRED DONATION)
The Joy Fund provides support to our Child Life and recreational programs which serve over 150 children and young adults each day on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Multiple programs are provided for all age ranges, including patient education, arts and crafts, music, group games, holiday and birthday parties, cooking group and other activities. Your donation to The Joy Fund can help promote social and emotional growth for all our patients while they undergo intensive treatment. Please make checks payable to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Pediatrics. In the memo, please note “The Joy Fund.”
- In up to $25 denominations e.g. Gap, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Sephora, iTunes, Target, McDonalds, Starbucks, Subway, CVS, Duane Reade, Toys-R-Us,Bath & Body Works, American Express, Children’s Place, K-Mart, etc.
- DVD movies (new releases, classics, ratings G-R) – will accept multiple copies!
- Games for the following game systems (rated “E” or “T”):, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, xBox Kinect, Playstation Move
- Nintendo xBox Kinect, Playstation Move, Wii, Playstation3, xBox360 game systems
- Headphones (no earbuds)
- Portable DVD players
- Small LEGOS sets
- Craft Kits (“Creativity for Kids”, “ALEX” , “Doug & Melissa”- all ages)
- Crib toys (mirrors, mobiles, puzzle floor mats)
- Thomas the Tank Engine trains and plastic tracks
- Pop up toys
- Play doh and play doh tools/kits
- Super Hero Toys – Spider Man, Bat Man etc.
- Puzzles (25 – 100 pieces) and Board Puzzles
- Hot Wheels cars
- Board books, sound books, foreign language books (Spanish, Chinese, Greek, Yiddish, Hebrew etc.)
- Toys for the visually impaired (big letters, musical instruments, and toys that make sounds, have interesting textures, or that light up)
- Princess and Disney toys, activities and games
- Board & card games (Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, Scrabble, Checkers, Chess, Backgammon, Uno, playing cards, Life, Battleship, etc.)
- Board and card games with cartoon themes: e.g. Sponge bob, super heroes
- Elmer’s Glue (small containers)
- Washable Markers, Crayons, Colored Pencils (up to 24 packs)
- Coloring, Sticker and Activity Books (Princess and Super hero most popular)
- Watercolor paints
- Construction Paper
- Scrapbooking paper and supplies
- Stickers and sticker activity books
- Brand new, preferably packaged, pajamas, t-shirts, leggings, sweatpants, cotton shorts, socks and underwear
- Ranging in size from toddler to 16 years old