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.

Together, 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.Top of Form

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.


We had tables full of donated prizes and refreshments as well as a roomful of merriment for these seniors in need of kindness and holiday cheer.

We even got the residents into the giving spirit. If they won more than once, they had to gift their win to someone else. Great way to pay it forward!!!

And, regardless if they won at Bingo or not, every resident who participated was gifted a lap blanket!

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. (

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.

Give in Review: 2015

Our first year as Ding Dong Divas was packed with fun as we spread cheer and goodwill to those in need of kindness around the Midlands. Check out our awesome year!

Fall 2015 Give: Operation Exodus. Every year, Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC, cuts loose their bootcamp troops to go home for a two-week Christmas break. Since these soldiers often spend every dime to purchase their tickets to make it home for the holidays, we wanted to provide them goodie bags for their trip. During September, October and November, we collected: 6807 Granola Bars,  6339 Slim Jims, 6182 Packs of crackers, 3014 Packs of cookies, 338 Variety chips, snack packs, cheezits, 747 Chex mix, 82 Packs of sunflower seeds, 735 Packs of nuts, 24 raisins, 1980 Packs of gum, 2818 mini packs of M&Ms, candies, 546 regular packs of M&Ms, skittles, 12 starburst, 1 box of Raisinettes, 22 packs of fruit snacks, 20 fruit roll ups, 72 snack cakes, 488 12oz Gatorade, 205 single water flavors, 463 popcorn factory, 611 Lip balms, 518 Packs of Kleenex, 900 stamps of strength, 75 cases of water, 7692 notes of encouragement. Amazing doesn’t even describe the tremendous goal we achieved. Considering that many of us were collecting at a time when our state was devastated by the flood disaster. We rallied. We overcame. Friends and family from near and far believed in our cause and gave. Then, from 8:00pm on December 17 until 8:00am December 18, a crew of 30 Ding Dong Divas divided into three shifts to distribute the goodie bags as the soldiers were shipped off the base. What an amazing evening. The look of gratitude and a simple smile from a soldier is worth more than gold. How humbling to receive thanks from a soldier for a simple bag of treats, when their gift to us is so much more.

August 2015 Give: Socks + Underwear for Foster Care. We packaged 849 pairs of underwear and 762 pair of socks (infant, toddler and youth sizes) into bundles that  included a handwritten note of love and compassion. These packages were delivered to a local foster parent organization and several youth shelters in Columbia and Lexington, SC.

July 2015 Give: Finlay Home Farmers Market. Our biggest give yet. 180 low-income seniors received what they asked for – fresh fruits and vegetables. And we brought it by the truckload! We set up a Farmer’s Market for the residents at Finlay House to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables.

June 2015 Give: Blessing Bags for the Homeless. We packaged 262 bags with travel-size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, body soap, sunscreen, body lotion and pack of Kleenex along with toothbrush, comb,pack of gum and a handwritten note of encouragement to the recipient. The Family Shelter, Transitions, Seed of Hope, and Oliver’s Gospel Mission all benefited from this tremendous give. We also collected the following full-size items for the abused women and children’s shelters: 10 shampoo, 24 deodorant, 11 shower caps, 12 mouthwash, 37 makeup removers, 36 toothpastes that were donated to Samaritan’s Well Women’s Shelter.

MAY 2015 Give: Soup for our Seniors. We gathered, sorted, bagged and delivered bags of goodies including soup, crackers and granola bars to 55 residents of a low-income senior facility in Irmo, SC.

FEBRUARY 2015 Give: Soup for our Seniors. We gathered, sorted, bagged and delivered bags of goodies including soup, crackers and granola bars to 38 residents of a low-income senior facility in Lexington, SC.