Thank you Amnesty International USA for sponsoring this post.
Last night, Cassidy and Scarlet baked cookies together. I had received an ultimate cookie recipe book from my uncle last Christmas, and Cassidy had received an attachment for our mixer from my parents which would mean we wouldn’t have to scrape the bowl anymore. We were excited. I started to smell the cookies wafting through the house as I put some work stuff together and I followed the smell, entranced. We did a three-person taste test, although poor Des was asleep. They were good. Great. And after we had all sampled at least one cookie, Scarlet said, “They’re good. So now we go and give them to homeless people on the street right?” Not in this case but I’m not surprised she said it. It’s been a season of giving.
The thing is, my kids are naturally curious and inquisitive. They understand some injustices and pain, but there are some things that are hard to explain. I’m proud that we’re instilling in them the necessity for helping others, because I don’t think they always realize how lucky they are. It’s a hard balance to skate – wanting them to feel safe, protected and innocent. Shielded from the news of the world. And between using that knowledge as power. I want them to grow up with empathy.
1 – There’s something very wrong right now with the current situation at Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. My #1 tip way to powerfully help others this season is to donate to a humans rights campaign like Amnesty International USA.
Families have been forced to flee their homes because their lives are under threat and their human rights are being violated. We all share a responsibility to help people who have lost everything, and to give them a chance to rebuild their lives safely the same way all of us would need to if we were in this horrible situation.
Parents are facing an impossible choice: stay and risk violence or flee to the U.S. and risk ending up behind bars with their children.
In August, four families were released after being held for nearly two years at Berks. Some of the Berks children spent a significant amount of their lives essentially behind bars, some learning to walk and talk in jail.
Whether for two weeks or two years, no family should be jailed for seeking safety.
Berks is currently holding at least 60 parents and kids. Many of them are from Central America, where Amnesty International has documented horrific violence.
If deported, many of these families will be facing incredibly dangerous situations, perhaps even death, upon their return.
We must do everything we can to ensure protection for people who are fleeing violence.
When I think of the #1 way I want to help people this holiday season, that’s it. While I can’t yet explain it to my kids, I know I can raise them with empathy and kindness – and the subtle power of wanting to change the world, no matter what it takes.
2 – Send a letter or care package to a soldier overseas, and also reach out to a veteran locally.
3 – Think about where to send gifts. You can donate toys to kid through many programs, and by plucking an “angel” off a Christmas tree that lets you adopt an angel. Also think about bringing gifts to senior citizen centers and lonely neighbors.
4 – Pack stockings for people in homeless shelters and out on the streets, etc. Pack them with fun gifts, but necessary personal care items as well – like toothpaste, floss, snacks, warm gloves, socks, water, gift cards, protein bars, etc.
5 – Donate food, time, and/or money to your local food bank. You can also buy a food hamper for a local family.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.