How you can help: Family-oriented groups and events in the Seattle area
Welcome to How You Can Help, an ongoing roundup of things you can do to boost families, nonprofit agencies and more around the Seattle area.
There are all kinds of needs out there, and we know there are all kinds of generous people who would like to help, but sometimes just need a nudge, an online link or a good idea.
Got an idea or a project for us to consider? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's all pitch in to make life a little easier for our neighbors!
Every kid needs a winter coat
Have you checked your kids' closets lately? How about the hall closet or coat rack?
Chances are, you've got some coats that are too small (or as is the case at my house, the right size but "too puffy.")
Someone else could get good use out of those.
The folks at Operation Warm estimate that 16 million American children are living in poverty. And for a family struggling to make ends meet, a coat can be a big expense.
There are lots of ways that we can ease this burden for our neighbors and our kids' classmates.
Look for a donation bin at a local business or for a "coat drive" being run by a service club.
The organization Operation Warm, on the other hand, seeks funds to buy coats and then gives kids the chance to have a brand-new coat of their choosing.
It's also simple, and very effective, to make an online donation to Operation Warm.
#ClearTheLists to help local teachers and students
This has been a cool illustration of the positive power of social media. As summer wrapped up and minds turned to school (and school supplies), the hashtag #ClearTheLists sprung up, and with it a campaign for people to pitch in to fulfill teachers' wishes for their classrooms.
Amazon wish lists and the website Donors Choose are two spots frequently used by teachers who have a special need or project in mind — or who are just helping to fill the gap between what supplies are needed and what families can afford to provide.
It is never to late to pitch in, as the needs are there all year long.
Doing away with 'diaper need'
As a new mom, I took for granted that, when my daughter needed a clean diaper, there'd be one under the changing table or in the closet — or that, at worst, a quick trip to the store might be in order.
The local nonprofit Westside Baby says that 1 in 3 families struggles with what it has dubbed "diaper need," which can have a variety of negative effects, from harming the child's health, to cutting the food budget, to keeping kids out of school or day care (or parents missing work) for a lack of diapers.
The National Diaper Bank Network has declared Sept. 23-29 as National Diaper Need Awareness Week
It's easy to help, though, and here are just a few ways:
Westside Baby accepts monetary gifts through its website and accepts donations of diapers through its Amazon "wish list" at these dropoff sites. It also encourages people to hold their own donation drives.