Sunday, September 30, 2012

12 in 12: September Update

During 2012, Sophia, Olivia, and I are doing a special challenge that we've named 12 in 12. We are doing 12 different activities that help people in need, animals, or the environment. 

This is how we did during September: 

- Take 1 bag of food to the food shelf. We donated two bags of food to the food shelf during September. The food shelf benefits two local communities.

Olivia and Sophia with bags of food
for the food shelf.

- Volunteer 1 hour at a community organization that is chosen each month. This month we volunteered about 2 hours to help make 500 sandwiches that were donated to The Sandwich Project.

The philosophy behind the organization is that there's a lot of support on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what about the other 363 days? The food that is donated to The Sandwich Project helps provide support on those 363 days.

Sophia and Olivia helping to make 500 sandwiches 
for The Sandwich Project.

Sandwiches are made and then donated to The Sandwich Project. They, in turn, provide homeless shelters around the Twin Cities with the sandwiches that are made by various organizations, corporate groups, and individuals.

- Donate 1 bag of clothing to a second-hand shop. We donated two bags of clothing to Family Pathways this month.

Two bags of clothing donated to Family Pathways.

- Donate 1 bag of toys and other non-clothing items to a second-hand shop. We donated two bags of non-clothing items to Family Pathways. With the exception of two stuffed animals, the bags contained a variety of household items.

Two bags of non-clothing items
donated to Family Pathways.

- Donate 12 books that we no longer read to organizations needing books. We found 53 books that were in the hobby shed that we donated to Family Pathways.

53 books donated to Family Pathways.

Although we are collecting books for the African Library Project, these were ones that were not ones that fell in the preschool-fourth grade reading level. Others were books that were specific to the U.S. (e.g., Girl Scout books and activity guides, cookbooks with American units of measurement).

- Donate $12 to an organization that helps individuals, animals, or the environment. We chose Northwoods Humane Society as the recipient of the donation for September.

Sophia is holding $12 in cash to donate to
Northwoods Humane Society.

There were all new kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs when we visited.

One of the many cats who need a home.

This time, there were many animals that tugged at our hearts. It was difficult to walk away.

Athena was found in a ditch alone with a litter of 12 puppies.
Although she has every reason not to trust humans,
she is gentle and just wants to put her head in your lap.

However, we know that Northwoods provides food, shelter, and attention to these animals until a loving family is found for them.

Jewel is another one that was so eager to get attention.
She is about 7-8 months old, and a mix breed.
If we didn't have two dogs already, 
she and two others dogs would have come home with us.

The girls paying attention and playing with two of the dogs
waiting to be adopted at Northwoods.

- Write 1 letter to someone who has made a difference in our lives. I wrote a letter to Olivia's speech therapist who has worked with her now for a couple of years. Olivia enjoys going to speech with Laurie, and has made huge strides in terms of clarity of speech.

Laurie - Olivia's Speech Therapist
Olivia with Laurie, her speech therapist.
(The photo was taken on February 18, 2011.)

Each year, goals are set for the upcoming year. Hopefully, Olivia will be able to reach the goals set for her by the end of the year. Who knows...perhaps she will "graduate" from speech therapy by the end of the year!

- Donate 1 bag of pop cans to places that collect them to raise funds. The girls and I wanted to donate to Northwoods again this month.

Putting the cans into the collector.

When we drove up we noticed that the collector was recently brought in. We wondered how much money they received by collecting cans.

This 10-year old dog came to Northwoods via Animal Control. 
His owner died, and he had nowhere to live.
Boota is such a sweet and gentle dog.
I hope he finds a home soon.

Whatever they raise certainly helps pay for the food, medicine, and care each of the dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens receive at Northwoods.

Princess was another dog who seemed to thrive on attention.
She'll be a loving companion to a family who adopts her.

- Donate 1 bag of Purina Kitten Chow to Northwoods Humane Society (where Gretel was adopted). Olivia brought in the bag of Kitten Chow to Northwoods (see photo above outside the humane society).

This kitten enjoyed playing with my fingers.

There were quite a few kitten this month, so we know that the food will be put to good use.

A trio of kittens waiting for a new home.

- Spend 1 hour outdoors doing projects that help wildlife. We continued to fill the bird feeders and bird bath throughout the month.

Sophia adding some meal worms to the feeder.
The birds devoured them within a day.

Now that the birds are starting to migrate south, we added some new items for extra energy. These food items also will help the local birds who need energy as the days and nights become cooler.

The girls filling one of the feeders.

We have been rewarded with a constant stream of bird-traffic; and have seen so many varieties of birds which has been exciting.

Red-bellied woodpecker at the
hummingbird feeder.

One of our favorite visitors is the red-bellied woodpecker who announces his visit with a loud squawking sound, and then proceeds to eat from the hummingbird feeder.

- Make and randomly drop off 1 toy for a child to find as part of The Toy Society. I made a toy elephant this month is light-blue wool felt. The inside is stuffed with wool from sheep I raised, and is sewn closed with cotton embroidery floss.

Blue wool felt elephant I embroidered.

We put the toy at a county park in Lindstrom that is near a historic Swedish site.

The play area where we put the toy.

Olivia and I thought inside one of the tubes would be best. In that way, it is protected...just in case it rains before someone finds the toy.

The elephant is waiting in the tube 
for a child to find it.

- Share 1 time the gift of music (piano and/or harp) or singing with others. The girls sang at church on September 30th at the 9:45 a.m. service.

Olivia and Sophia singing a song at church.

They practice once a week with the choir, and then perform at least once a month. During December, there are significantly more times that they sing with the holidays.

If you ever need a helping hand,
it is at the end of your arm.
As you get older you must remember 
you have a second hand.
The first one is to help yourself.
The second hand is to help others.
~ Audrey Hepburn ~

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