Change Your World in Just 24 Hours
By Karen M. Thomas
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. - Betty Reese
People who live in poverty struggle against far more than financial lack. Confidence, social participation, and hope for the future can erode as resources dwindle. Everything most of us take for granted, from quality schooling to medical care to appropriate shoes for a job interview, becomes a luxury. Eventually, people without basic means retreat into survival mode as the rest of us go about our comfortable lives. Take a few minutes or an hour to diminish the inequity and revive hope.
Seek Out Scholarship
Help low-income students find college funding sources. Read the newspaper to uncover sources in your own community, and find other opportunities via library research, or on the Internet. One example is the Horatio Alger Association. Visit www.horatioalger.com or contact:
The Horatio Alger Association
99 Canal Center Plaza
Alexandria , VA 22314
Pass the Test
Take the Catholic Campaign for Human Development's online quiz on poverty in the United States at www.usccb.org/cchd/povertyusa/povquiz.htm. It's easy to do, and the process is enlightening.
Subscribe to Reform
Join the CARE USA Action Network e-mail list. They'll send you information that can help eliminate poverty, as well as tips on urging national leaders to address the crisis of global poverty. Go to www.careusa.org and click on Sign Up Now for the CARE Action Network or write for more information:
151 Ellis Street
Atlanta , GA 30303
Wear Your Heart on Your Wrist
Learn how Doctors Without Borders uses a "Bracelet of Life" to assess the nutritional status of children in impoverished countries. Then visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org/outreach/bol to download or order your own bracelet and wear it so that you can explain its purpose to everyone who inquires.
Outfit a New Employee
Donate gently used professional work clothing and accessories to organizations that help low-income men and women get and keep jobs. Look for a collection site under Social Service Organizations in your local Yellow Pages, or visit www.careergear.org (for men) and www.dressforsuccess.org (for women) for drop-off and mailing instructions.
Give Old PCs New Purpose
When you upgrade, donate your used computer and equipment to the National Cristina Foundation, which gives computers to public service organizations that provide education and training to people who are economically disadvantaged. Visit www.cristina.org or call 203-863-9100.
Trade Ink for Aid
Donate your used printer cartridges to Recycling for the Poor, who will deliver them to a paying recycler. Proceeds are used to obtain food, housing, medical aid, and other services. Refillable cartridges are worth two to four dollars each, and organization leaders say that two dollars buys twenty pounds of rice and beans, which can feed eighty children. For maximum impact, get your workplace in on the effort. To receive a free, postage-paid shipping container from Recycling for the Poor, visit www.foodforthepoor.org/recycle or contact:
Food for the Poor, Inc.
550 SW 12 th Avenue , Department 9662
Deerfield Beach , FL 33442
954-427-2222 or 800-427-9104
Excerpted from The Difference a Day Makes by Karen M. Jones. Copyright © 2005 Karen M. Jones. Excerpted by arrangement with New World Library. All rights reserved. $12.95. Available in local bookstores or call 800-972-6657, ext 52 or click here.