I believe the truest, most honest and most intimate gift is a gift of yourself.
Rather than go into commentary of handmade gifts or volunteering, instead I will remind you of a gift that is truly a gift of self- the gift of life by donating blood.
Lifestream is the blood bank for San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Lifestream says that every few seconds someone needs a blood transfusion, equaling 500 donations needed through its 5 donation centers in La Quinta, San Bernardino, Riverside, Hesperia and Ontario.
I’m sure now everyone reading this is thinking of someone who needed a transfusion through accident, surgery or childbirth. The national average for Americans who donate blood is five percent, with Southern California’s average three percent.
So this year, after the hubbub of the holidays is over, consider going to a donation center and donating, or looking for a nearby blood drive. All you need is to be a healthy adult weighing over 110 pounds, and as young as 15 can donate with parental consent.
The new year is only three weeks away- make a resolution to donate twice in the new year. Or more! Blood can be donated every eight weeks, and plasma and platelets even more often.
And enjoy that juice and cookie!
Megan blogs at Sunshine Wonderland. She is planning to have a snack at the blood bank a couple times next year.
Not fun to discuss.
But after Monday Night Football, I went to a favorite hangout of mine. And my friend, S, who is a hairdresser, bartender, mother, and grandmother, and a former victim of domestic abuse, vented to me and one other patron.
She relayed, healthily, the story of how her son-in-law recently, and in the past, had abused her, her daughter, and her grandchildren by the transitive property.
My friend, S, had been through this before, on her own with her own former a-hole spouse, so she understands her daughter’s predicament, and how much she must protect her daughter, her five grandchildren, and even herself from the abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, and property damage) that her son-in-law is inflicting.
I instantly grabbed my phone and Googled “Battered Women’s Shelters.”
There are so MANY resources out there, both locally and nationally; however, women are often socialized to fly under the radar and make things better without outside help.
That is simply an injustice. To everyone.
So here is what I stumbled across with fewer than 7.42 minutes of effort.
1.) Valley Trauma Center – “Interpersonal violence can affect anyone. No one should suffer alone. If you have been assaulted, you have the right to information and support. We are here to help.”
2.) Safe Passage Live – “Safe Passage clients have a 95% success rate in breaking the cycle of domestic violence and creating a new life for themselves. They are our Role Models sharing their life stories to inspire other women and children to a New Life!”
3.) LAPD Online Communities – “Domestic violence is more than just a ‘family problem’; it is a crime. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) recognizes that domestic violence is a major problem in Los Angeles County and throughout the United States. Each year, more than two million women are victims of domestic violence, and one million children are physically abused.”
4.) AARDVARC.ORG - “This site is for victims of violence, their families and friends, and the agencies and programs which serve them, both public and private. The goal of this website is to assist efforts to aid and support those trying to remove themselves from abusive situations and build healthier, stronger lives. ”
5.) Violence Unsilenced – (National) – “Survivors submit their personal stories of abuse in their own words, and two are posted live on the site each week. Readers take an annual pledge to listen, and the intention for the comment section is a space, supportive safe.”
This is a large and unspoken about problem; we need to end that.
To be just: do not strike your spouse either. Abuse is not one-way nor gender-specific.
PLEASE speak up. What can YOU do to assist a battered woman?
Know it or not: we all know one…
During my time as a reporter for my local paper, I learned about one organization that worked to aid families in some of the darkest hours I could imagine.
Those following the death of a child.
I covered several stories- a young mother who lost her premature baby after it lived months past what the doctors told her- a family who died in a fiery auto crash, young patients who lost their battles with illnesses.
Sometimes when I was spending time in the office I would take a call from a local resident looking for coverage of a story so people would donate to the unexpected funeral expenses of a child, or just for advice who to turn to when the car washes weren’t enough to pay for a casket.
There was one group that was always there in the stories, on my lips.
The Unforgettables Foundation.
The Unforgettables Foundation was created in 1999 to assist low-income families give their children a respectful burial.
It serves Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties and have helped over 3500 families since 2000.
The requests for aid for families who have lost one so young comes from hospitals, social service agencies and the families themselves.
The Unforgettables also holds a New Year’s Eve event to honor the passing of children who died each year with a candlelight walk “Lights for Little Lives”.
The group offers CPR group training sessions with its free program CPR2U and has taught 9,000 people in the Inland area in schools, community centers and synagogues.
Contact The Unforgettables Foundations at its main office in Redlands or one of its other locations to find out more about the CPR4Uprogram or how to donate to an amazing organization that helps families pay for burials no one was expecting would come so soon for some so young.