October 2018 Give: Blessing Bags for the Homeless

I never met a single child that would tell you that he wants to grow up to be homeless and forgotten. They imagine a different story, one of happiness and hope. Sometimes, the chapters in our life story don’t play out as expected. Poor decisions, misled, misunderstood… but many cling to the same hope that their story can still have a happy ending.

This month, we completed 128 drawstring bags filled with one of every item and care packages specific to women along with over 200 bags of just hygiene products and food.

All bags and overages were shared with our local shelters: Central Midlands Transitional Retreat, Transitions Homeless Shelter, Oliver Gospel Mission and Toby’s Place.

Our FINAL donation count was very impressive:
167 hats
20 baseball hats
2 winter jackets
6 backpacks
156 mittens
147 socks
197 comb
80 wipe packs
223 single wipes
136 chapstick
127 deodorant
214 toothpaste
258 toothbrushes
8 mouthwash
301 soap
139 shampoo
169 conditioner
45 body wash
129 body lotion
439 tampons
632 pads
332 kleenex
87 hand sanitizer
426 oatmeal
159 cracker packs
300 granola bars
10 mini cereal
8 applesauce
5 pudding
3 jars peanut butter
128 drawstring bags
423 ziplock bags

Every month is a different give and every give makes a difference. Great way to get your kids involved in giving back, too!! Join us!!!

September 2018 Give: Wildlife Rescue

As the population in Lexington continues to expand, we rapidly encroach upon animal habitats, creating a need to protect the wildlife living here.

In September, we partnered with Carolina Wildlife Center, a facility devoted to the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned animals and the preservation of wildlife through education.  We tackled a few items on the honey-do list such as landscaping, cage washing, and storage organization and delivered much needed supplies to help them care for the over 3,000 injured and orphaned animals they serve every year. 

July 2018 Give: Back to School Bash

Homeless children often struggle to be successful in school. In addition to the stress of not having a secured place to live, they often lack basic school supplies.

We partnered with The Family Shelter, an emergency housing facility for children and their families, to help them kick-off the new school year!

We were able to donate the following school supplies:

  • 100 drawstring backpacks
  • 20 backpacks
  • 24 packs of crayons
  • 24 packs of colored pencils
  • 24 packs of highlighters
  • 24 packs of erasers
  • 24 packs of #2 pencils
  • 24 packs of pens
  • 24 reams of ruled paper
  • 24 packs ruled index cards
  • 24 packs of post-it pads
  • 24 packs of glue sticks
  • 24 Pencil sharpeners
  • 80 snack-size bags of chips
  • 80 cupcakes and/or cookies
  • 160 bottles of water
  • 75 gently loved books
  • 20 gently loved stuffed animals
  • 10 games

In addition to collecting school supplies to stock their homework station, we hosted a BACK TO SCHOOL BASH with face painting, corn hole, a ball toss and other games for all to enjoy.

July 2018 Give: Back to School Bash

Homeless children often struggle to be successful in school. In addition to the stress of not having a secured place to live, they often lack basic school supplies.

We partnered with The Family Shelter to help them kick-off the new school year with a BACK TO SCHOOL BASH that included face painting, corn hole, a ball toss and other games for all to enjoy!

We also collected the following school supplies to help stock their homework station:

  • 24 packs of crayons
  • 24 packs of colored pencils
  • 24 packs of highlighters
  • 24 packs of erasers
  • 24 packs of #2 pencils
  • 24 packs of pens
  • 24 reams of ruled paper
  • 24 packs ruled index cards
  • 24 packs of post-it pads
  • 24 packs of glue sticks
  • 24 Pencil sharpeners
  • 60 gently used books
  • 80 snack-size bags of chips
  • 80 cookies
  • 160 bottles of water
  • 80 napkins
  • The Family Shelter provides emergency shelter in a stable living environment for homeless children and their parents. They help the residents build life skills needed to regain independence.

    They continue to be the only homeless shelter in the Midlands that will house an entire family, inclusive of fathers. They try to keep families together in times of crisis while mom and dad work to regain independence. Each family has a private room and shared bathroom in a dorm-style environment.


    We live in the land of the free because of the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces.

    On May 26, 2018, Givation, in partnership with Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids – Lexington, SC, Society of St. Andrew, Palmetto Patriot Project63rd Bn. South Carolina Lightfoot Militia and L&G Plumbing hosted a BBQ for the Brave and raised $4,615.27  for programs and services to support the 90 homeless veterans at Central Midlands Transitional Retreat in Lexington. 

    WIS-TV reported a great recap of our activities:

    1. BBQ! $10 for a to-go plate of pulled pork, beans, slaw and bbq hash. $60 for a party package with 2 pounds pulled pork, 1 quart beans, 1 quart slaw, 1 quart hash and 1 quart rice.
    2. PLATE IT FORWARD. Buy a plate to help feed 90 homeless Veterans residing at Central Midlands Transitional Retreat in Lexington!
    3. THANK YOU CARDS. 100 thank you cards were created and sent to our troops stationed over seas.
    4. Meet the OFFICERS OF Live PD on A&E. Officer Brown was onsite to show his support of our veterans.
    5. Herndon Chevrolet displayed patriotic vehicles.
    6. A VA enrollment and eligibility specialists was onsite to talk about healthcare information and help veterans complete VA enrollment forms.

    All of this was in support of 90 homeless veterans – in Lexington. Why is there even one homeless veteran – anywhere? They did not fail us when called to serve, why do we fail them?

    Memorial Day is the remembrance for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our many freedoms. Yes, some gave all… but all gave some, and a few took a really hard fall.

    We remember those who served and never came back. But what about those who served and never came back the same person? Those who served and are now homeless?

    How can you make a difference?

    First, recognize that a homeless person is still a person. In addition to our generous friends, family and community members who bought plates on Saturday, I was honored to shake hands with and give a few hugs to over 50 of the homeless veterans in Lexington as we served them lunch. They were beyond grateful for our generosity- for us seeing them as people and not a burden.

    Second, educate yourself. Learn about the unacceptable number of homeless veterans there are across the country and ways you can help.

    Then take action! Get involved, raise awareness, do something! Time, money, talent – anything you can provide is more than they have today.  


    April 2018 Give: Child Abuse Prevention Month

    More than 30% of victims never disclose the experience to ANYONE. Almost 80% initially deny abuse or are tentative in disclosing. Approximately 75% disclose accidentally. More than 20% eventually recant even though the abuse occurred.

    Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center provides comprehensive assessment and treatment services to physically and sexually abused children ages 0-18 years throughout the Midlands of South Carolina.

    They rely on the generosity of volunteers, businesses and the community to help these most vulnerable of victims.

    In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we collected the following items the center needs in order to continue their mission of hearing the voices and healing the hearts of child abuse victims:

    62 Candy bars
    410 Cheese cracker packs
    527 granola bars
    60 breakfast biscuits
    66 big bags of popcorn
    100 Vitamin Waters
    180 Juice boxes
    42 cookie packs
    2 puzzles
    9 games
    2 toys
    4 stuffed animals
    17 sticker packs
    1 pencil pack
    17 boxes of Kleenex
    24 boxes of Garbage bags
    8 Air fresheners
    4 Lysol sprays
    24 Clorox wipes
    14 Hand soaps
    14 Hand sanitizers
    20 packs of Thank you cards


    Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids – Lexington at 918 N Lake Drive in Lexington, SC, was a donation station and matched all donations that were dropped off at their location. What a great way to make DOUBLE the impact!

    March 2018 Give: Clean of Heart

    Imagine being homeless and you’re living on the streets. You’re in need of a shower and clean clothes. Where can you go when you have very little or no money at all to wash yourself let alone your clothes?  

    Clean of Heart provides showers and laundry services to the homeless population in downtown Columbia. This month, we’re partnering them to restock their supplies in order to help more homeless launder their clothing, get a shower and feel more humane.

    This month, we rallied together and collected:

    • 34 rolls of paper towel
    • 320 napkins
    • 35 containers of sanitizer wipes
    • 11 gallons of bleach
    • 22 jugs of laundry detergent
    • 23 bottles of shower cleaner 
    • 894 garbage bags
    • 203 razors
    • 148 toothbrushes 
    • 9 oral care packs
    • 6 bags of flossers 
    • 52 tubes of toothpaste
    • 24 travel shampoo
    • 24 travel conditioner
    • 10 soap

    But what I find even more wonderful is that we’re sending a message to the homeless in Columbia that we see them – we recognize them as people – as humans – who are worthy of a shower and laundered clothing.

    February 2018: HERO Night

    You don’t need spider-powers, a fancy cape or an indestructible shield; a HERO is anyone who gives time and attention to something bigger than oneself.

    GIVATION partnered with Pleasant Hill Elementary School and Paws for a Cause to host HERO NIGHT on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

    Through a mix of education and activity, children of all ages were invited to learn about the different ways they can help make a positive impact on our community.

    The following organizations joined us:

    • Bureau of Public Health Preparedness, Midlands Region
    • Carolina Wildlife Center
    • Christ Central Ministries
    • Family Promise of the Midlands
    • Happy Wheels
    • Harvest Hope Food Bank
    • Lexington County Animal Shelter
    • Lexington County Sheriff’s Dept. Community Action Team
    • LICS
    • Lighthouse for Life
    • LOCC Clubs
    • Marleigh’s Ministry
    • Midlands Fatherhood Coalition
    • Operation Bedroll
    • PAALS
    • Palmetto Patriot Project
    • PHES Paws for a Cause
    • PHES Service Learning Committee
    • Senior Resources/Meals on Wheels
    • Society of St. Andrew
    • Special Olympics SC
    • White Knoll High School Student Government Association

    Students and their families got to learn how they could help these organizations make our community a better place while enjoying an evening of games, crafts and more!

    • Making cards for our troops stationed overseas
    • Weaving plastic bags into mats for the homeless
    • Assembling blankets for preemies in the NICU

    We look forward to working with Pleasant Hill Elementary School to grow the good and make this an annual event!!

    Give In Review: 2017

    In 2014, we started our collective giving group, Ding Dong Divas, by going door-to-door delivering neighborhood cheer and goodwill. The goodness continued to grow as we began to make an even bigger impact in more communities, states and even internationally through our monthly giving projects.

    This evolution resulted in a name change to better fit  the kindness network we created. Focused on active giving, we kicked off 2017 as GIVATION.

    Here’s a glimpse of the good we did in 2017:

    DECEMBER 2017 GIVE: Holiday Bingo at Finlay House. As a 188 unit, low-income, senior living complex in the heart of Columbia, Finlay House serves as large group of seniors in need of our kindness and compassion.

    We celebrated the reason for the season with tables full of donated prizes and refreshments as well as a roomful of merriment for these sweet seniors.

    The residents even got into the giving spirit by gifting it forward. If they won more than once, they gifted their additional wins to someone else.

    Regardless if they won at Bingo or not, every resident who participated in Holiday Bongo was gifted a lap blanket!

    OCTOBER 2017 GIVE: Bingo Night at Transitions. We can’t end homelessness through wishful thinking, but we can provide courage and support to those in need.

    We hosted our second annual evening of fun and fellowship playing BINGO with the residents at Transitions, giving them some of the only fun and social interaction they receive all month.

    SEPTEMBER 2017 GIVE: Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in America. This is a topic many of us are uncomfortable talking about, but it happens more often than we’d like to think.

    Sexual violence affects people regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual and gender identity, religious affiliation, age, immigration status, and ability.

    During the process of receiving medical treatment and reporting their assault, the survivor’s clothing is typically collected for evidence.

    We rallied our support around the Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands by collecting the following items to stock the emergency lockers to help clothe victims after an assault: 60 tshirts, 30 sports bras, 62 flip flops, 14 yoga pants, 80 pairs of underwear.

    JULY 2017 GIVE: Back-to-School Bash for The Family Shelter. Homeless children often struggle to be successful in school. In addition to the stress of not having a secured place to live, they often lack basic school supplies.

    We partnered with The Family Shelter, an emergency housing facility for children and their families, to help them kick-off the new school year!

    With the generosity of 23 people, we were able to donate the following school supplies to the kids at the Family Shelter: 5 pencil boxes, 22 pencil pouches, 18 pencil sharpeners, 356 pencils, 75 erasers, 230 cap erasers, 228 pens, 30 boxes of markers,12 boxes of color pencils, 50 highlighters, 66 boxes of crayons, 5 scissors, 4 bottles of glue, 180 glue sticks, 4,800 index cards, 4,900 sheets of lined paper, 45 notebooks, 24 folders, 24 post it packs, and12 hand sanitizers. That’s amazing!!!

    In addition to collecting school supplies to stock their homework station, we hosted a BACK TO SCHOOL BASH with face painting, corn hole, a ball toss and other games for all to enjoy.

    JUNE 2017 GIVE: Book Drive. School’s officially out for summer… but the learning lessons shouldn’t stop! Teach your kids how easy it is to give back!! This month, we collected over 600 gently-used children, teen and adult books that were donated to two children’s shelters as well as the literacy programs at our local homeless shelter.

    MAY 2017 GIVE: Homeless Period Project. Periods suck. Periods when you can’t afford a tampon  and don’t have access to a clean bathroom or a place to shower? Unimaginable — but reality for some. Every month, homeless women everywhere struggle with menstruation just like other women but, unfortunately for them, proper hygiene essentials aren’t as easily obtainable.

    Did you know that feminine menstrual hygiene products are the least donated items and these products cannot be purchased with food stamps? And, because of societies taboo outlook on periods, this issue is often overlooked when dealing with the homeless population.

    We partnered with The Homeless Period Project this month to provide menstrual products, give hope  and restore dignity to homeless women in our community.

    We collected over 3,500 hygiene products, filling 194 packets!! We even had celebrity packers helping us out – Miss Teen Lexington and Little Miss Saluda County!!

    Some of the organizations The Homeless Period Project will provide with these period packs include: Salvation Army – Women’s Shelter, Shepherd’s Gate, Place of Hope, Red Cross, Safe Harbor, Julie Valentine Center, Samaritan House, World Relief, Schools, street ministries, etc.

    MARCH 2017 GIVE: Baby Shower. When a baby is born full-term and healthy, it’s easy to know how to react and what to say. What if there are complications, and the newborn is born premature? Or an infant is admitted to the hospital due to an injury or illness?

    This month, we partnered with two wonderful organizations to help spread cheer and goodwill to the littlest members of our community.

    Marleigh’s Ministry: Brings love, encouragement, and hope to families who are struggling through the hardships of prematurity. One of many outreach efforts they offer include distributing care packages to parents of preemies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

    Happy Wheels: Visits local children’s hospitals every week with a cart loaded full of new toys and books, letting each child pick a favorite free gift. Each child receives one new toy each week for as long as they stay in the hospital.

    Through generous donations, we collected enough items to fill 150 care packages for parents with premies in the NICU and deliver over 100 toys for children ages 0-3staying in our local hospital.

    FEBRUARY 2017 GIVE: Soup for Seniors. Winter is a difficult time for our older neighbors. A bowl of hot soup on a cold day can go a long way in making sure no senior goes hungry.

    Our goal was to provide at least 4 cans of soup, individual packages of peanut butter or cheese crackers, such as the Lance variety, and individual packages of snack bars, such as chewy granola or Nutrigrain fruit bars to each resident of two, low-income, independent senior housing facilities in Lexington, SC.

    We exceeded this goal and delivered to three facilities, then had 130 soups left over to give to the Senior Resources emergency pantry.

    The best part of this give is going door-to-door, sharing a smile and moment of joy while delivering the goodies. Absolutely wonderful experience for our children.


    Give in Review: 2016

    The second year of Ding Dong Divas was just as jam-packed full of goodness as our inaugural year. A few gives were established as needed repeats – ones that will become annual gives moving forward because the people we’ve met through these organizations left an indelible mark upon us and we want to  spend time with them every year. Here’s a glimpse of the good we did in 2016:

    DECEMBER 2016 Give: Holiday Bingo at Finlay House. As a 188 unit, low-income, senior living complex in the heart of Columbia, Finlay House serves as large group of seniors in need of our kindness and compassion. We played bingo for the afternoon with generous prizes while enjoying Christmas cookies and refreshments .

    OCTOBER 2016 Give: Bingo Night at Transitions. With 260 residential beds and 150 daily visitors, Transitions is the largest homeless shelter serving the Midlands. It’s hard to imagine almost 500 homeless people in one location. And it’s even more difficult to hear stories of why some of them are in their situation. Or how they feel about being homeless.

    We were able to bring smiles to them last night. We had fun, shared laughs and, as one resident shared with me, helped them “forget about the stresses and feel normal for a few hours.”

    We had great prizes such as toothpaste/toothbrushes, hats/mittens, sweaters, books, flashlights, duffle bags, handwarmers, waterbottles, candy, food and more. Every participant – whether they won or not – received a hygiene bag with bodywash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, mints, and a handwritten prayer card. We also donated a trunk full of clothing to help fill their emergency closet. It was a great night!

    SEPTEMBER 2016 Give: Stock the Pantry. Senior Resources coordinates programs and resources to help senior citizens in the Midland’s remain independent. They’re also the only provider of Meals on Wheels in Richland County.  We’ve partnered with them to collect 400 soups, crackers, juice boxes and granola bars. We also worked with Corpus Christi Catholic Church and St. Peter’s Catholic Church to include handwritten notes and drawings in each packet. These sweet messages added to the wonderful gift we were able to give.

    We were honored to have WLTX cover this give, expanding our reach for sharing the message about senior food insecurity and the ability for our community to come together to help bridge the gap. (http://www.wltx.com/mb/news/local/kids-make-cards-for-seniors-in-the-midlands/324032791)

    AUGUST 2016 Give: Helping Hands for Hannah House.  Hannah House is a 40-bed, transitional housing facility in Columbia that provides shelter for 14 single women and 8 families.  Since 1999, their mission has been to help women and their families to live a purpose-driven, self-sufficient life. We collected much needed household items from towels to bathroom towels, sheet sets to shower curtains for the residents. We also painted their basement which houses a laundry facility and clothing boutique that serves the community as well as the Hannah House residents. Such a small task made a huge difference to this lovely transitional home and put a smile on everyone’s face

    JULY 2016 Give: Back-to-School Bash for The Family Shelter.  Homeless children often struggle to be successful in school. In addition to the stress of not having a home, they often lack basic school supplies. We threw a Back-to-School Bash for the residents at The Family Shelter. We collected schools supplies to stock a homework station and gently-used/new books to create a reading nook in the new activity center. Our goal was blown to another level! After sorting, counting and boxing it all up, we have enough to donate bags of supplies as well as boxes of books to THREE more children’s shelters (two in Lexington and one in Columbia). In addition, two ESL programs will each receive a tub of teacher manuals!! Our volunteers enjoyed playing games with the kids – and   the parents – as well as facepainting, fellowship and fun. The activity center was full of smiles and laughter.

    MAY 2016 Give: Plant Seeds of Love. Samaritan’s Well is a transitional home in Lexington for   single mothers and their children with a goal to help them regain their independence as a family. We partnered with them to build two raised vegetable gardens and cheer up the landscaping around the home. We collected funds to purchase all the necessary materials. It was a great activity for the kids who participated, too. We transformed the front entry with flowers and shrubs, built two raised vegetable gardens and created some beautiful moments of cheer and goodwill! I’m beyond grateful for all the hard work!!! The results were remarkable!!

    APRIL 2016 Give: Cleaning Supplies for Home Care Seniors. Senior Resources helps seniors remain in their homes as long as possible, in an effort to delay or prevent institutionalization. We partnered with them to provide SPRING CLEAN BUCKETS for 35 Home Care service recipients. Home Care seniors are truly homebound. They tend to be isolated and not able to leave their homes. Meals on Wheels provides them food on a regular basis, but simple household items are not provided as part of the meal delivery service and the cost to purchase them is often beyond their means. My favorite moment was spending time with a sweet gentleman who had just turned 98 and just lost his wife of 72 years on March 1. Heard how they met and fell in love. Beautiful.

    MARCH 2016 Give: Game Night at The Family Shelter. We hosted a GAME NIGHT for the children and families residing at The Family Shelter. We collected snacks for the evening as well as games, puzzles and books to stock the Activity Center. Did we ALL have fun! The kids enjoyed the games – and so did the parents. Kids as well as moms participated in facepainting, cornhole, MEGA jenga,puzzles, fellowship and fun.

    FEBRUARY 2015 Give: Soup for our Seniors. We gathered, sorted, bagged and delivered bags of goodies including soup, crackers and granola bars to 96 residents of two low-income senior facilities in Lexington, SC.