Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Greetings and Charities

A skull wearing a Santa Claus Hat.
Happy Hallow-Days, Every Body!

We’re only days away from Christmas and I haven’t even got all my cards out or shopping done. (Sound familiar?) Although I do have all my decorating done, including my Haunted Holiday Mansion scene. No doubt this is the busiest time of the year and you don’t have to be Santa Claus to feel it; I’ve been feeling the stress of it all week. Some of that stress is coming from trying to choose a charity to donate to for this holiday season.

I wrote to one nonprofit organisation based here in Sacramento about donating some comic books to its literacy program for kids. It’s called 916 Ink.  They have a big comic book writing workshop program there for the youth they serves. 916 Ink provides creative writing classes for these kids to help improve youth literacy. They even compile the kids’ writing into anthologies they publish and sell in which the proceeds go to the program.

Well I wrote to the program and offered to donate kid-friendly comics keeping in mind that kids learn best to write by reading (as well as writing itself, of course) and this includes comics. I believe I even told them this in the email. This was over a week ago. They never got back to me. I know they take monetary donations so I would be willing to give them that, I was just trying to give away some extra comics that I have.

Another nonprofit comic book organisation that’s taking donations is Reading With Pictures. However, I believe they’re only taking monetary donations. This organisation encourages schools to put comic books in their curriculum to make literacy fun for kids. Now I’m not saying that kids should be limited to reading picture based materials such as comic books. But comic books are still a part of literature and art even if they have been traditionally known to be simple in storytelling and illustration. They are a part of pop culture from which most of us first learned how to read and were introduced to art right up there with our parents reading bedtime stories to us.

I also considered donating to Galaxy Press’s holiday cause which is a book drive they are doing through Toys for Tots. Galaxy Press is the publisher that puts out The Writers and Artists of The Future annual anthology that collects the winning stories and illustrations from each year’s contest of the same name. They are taking monetary donations to give free copies of pulp science fiction writer Ron L. Hubbard’s books to disadvantaged youth to encourage them to read more. That’s a really great way to donate to a cause while educating youth on classic pulp fiction from an older era making it fun to read. The problem with their charity project is that they are only taking donations by credit card and so offer no options that I could see on their website for other forms of payment. And I may need to pay by cheque.

Also here in my home Sacramento, the Children’s ReceivingHome of Sacramento is taking both toy donations as well as monetary ones to purchase Christmas gifts for the kids they serve, who many of are from abusive parents and broken homes. The cause is called the Angel Fund. Another one here in town, called the Sacramento Children’s Home who serve the same kinds of kids, is also doing a similar drive.

I also thought I should announce the charitable cause of a fellow science fiction writer, Beth Revis, who writes the Across the Universe series of YA books. She’s doing a drive where if you purchase her book, The Body Electric, she will donate a percentage of the sales to World Vision which is an organisation that helps impoverished families of third world nations.

So as you can see, I have a list of charities to choose from to donate to so I’ll be busy doing that for the next day or two. I’ll let you know the one I choose in the next post. I just wanted to make it known that this holiday season isn’t about getting what we want; it’s not about impressing our loved ones with expensive gifts that we get at big discount prices; it’s not about us authors making sales on our books through holiday promotions, even though we do take advantage of the season for that. These things aren’t the core meaning of the holiday season. The core meaning of the holiday season is love which is demonstrated in giving to the ones we care about, and that includes our fellow human beings who are in need. If there’s no other time of year to show our care for the world’s societies then let the holiday season be that time to care and do what we can to help make the world a happier place.

Happy Hallow-Days!

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