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.