Ah yes, here we are on this most hallowed #GivingTuesday; four days after #BlackFriday, one day after #ManCrushMonday, and two days before #ThrowbackThursday.
As you all know, sometimes other baseball fanbases make fun of the Oakland A’s because we are notoriously “small market” – let’s show them that while we might be small market, we have damn huge hearts.
I encourage everybody to give to a cause that means something to them. Here are some organizations that mean something to Sean and me. Sean is telling me that it should be “Sean and I” but Sean is an idiot.
[Update: Sean would like me to clarify that he is not an idiot, in fact he attended one of the most prestigious public universities this country has to offer. I still say it’s “Sean and me” though.]
Anyway, here are the organizations we absolutely love:
Operation Finally Home: They build mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans and their families. We love the work they do because unlike other home-building organizations for vets, they actually give the deed to the families (vs. waiting years to hand over the deed). They also build the homes to fit the needs of the given veteran.
That means if the veteran has physical injuries, they fit the home to meet those specifications. If the veteran has those invisible scars of PTSD or TBI, Operation Finally Home helps them create their own network of support in their new community.
As some of you may know, Sean’s father is an Air Force veteran. He received a Bronze Star for his service. My brother TJ currently serves in the Air Force as well, and I worry about him every single day. Our good friend and fellow A’s fan Dereck serves in the Army and we first connected with him while he was serving overseas in Afghanistan. You may recognize Dereck’s hat that Sean hangs in his locker as a reminder that there are so many men and women out there making far bigger sacrifices than any of us will ever make.
You can support them by donating here, and if you are a builder or developer, you can support them by donating your services or by donating lots/selling them to Operation Finally Home at cost.
You can also support them by purchasing the limited edition Sword & Plough rucksack – 100% of the net proceeds go directly to Operation Finally Home, and you’ll also be supporting Sword & Plough, which is an apparel line founded by two Westpoint grads and employing veterans at each stage of production and distribution.
And if you would like, we can connect you with some Operation Finally Home recipients who are not yet able to afford a nice holiday season for their families. You can help by purchasing Christmas presents for their children.
If you are interested in making their holidays extra special, please leave a comment below this article with your email address and I will reach out to you with more details.
Alameda County Community Food Bank: This is the food bank that serves Oakland and the surrounding county. Today only, they will match donations dollar for dollar, which means they can turn every dollar donated into $12 worth of food.
The ACCFB serves 1 out of every 5 Alameda county residents. I failed several math classes, but Sean assures me that means that at some point each year, 20% of our county has needed the services the ACCFB provides. Beyond that, 1 out of every 3 children in Alameda county faces the threat of hunger. In this country where we have so much, there shouldn’t even be one child facing the threat of hunger.
You can help out by volunteering, donating food, or donating money. Given that 20% of Alameda county has visited the food bank at some point this year, you never know; it might be your own neighbor that you are helping.
It’s On Us: It’s On Us supports victims of campus rape and sexual assault. They help teach meaningful consent so that we can protect men and women from sexual assault. It also empowers friends and bystanders to help intervene to prevent potential assaults. They help colleges and universities improve and increase transparency in their enforcement of policies designed to protect students.
I was a victim of assault in college. I can’t change the past. I can’t take back what was taken from me. But thanks to organizations like It’s On Us, I know that future assaults will be prevented. That does so much for me and for other sexual assault survivors. They do wonderful work and Sean and I are absolutely committed to joining the fight to help end sexual assault and rape.
If you’d like to support RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), you can do so here.
And if you know someone who was a victim, I encourage you to share the National Sexual Assault Hotline number at 800.656.HOPE or they can visit online.rainn.org.
Here are some other projects and organizations we’ve supported in the past, if you’re interested:
- IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) – supports all post-9/11 vets by creating networks of support, providing resources, and passing legislation to support veterans. You can donate here.
- Best Buddies International – This is a great organization that my older brother Michael introduced me to. He has autism and Best Buddies worked with him to create one-to-one friendships with members of our community. They pair individuals with intellectual disabilities with friends nearby. His “buddies” have helped his social skills, which in turn helped his job skills and his life skills. He now lives semi-independently, he works full time at a Marine Corps recruit depot by serving meals to the recruits, and he is going to a local community college. None of this would have been possible without the skills and the confidence he gained through Best Buddies. I love the work they do, and I highly recommend getting involved by joining as a buddy, or by donating.
Thank you everybody for considering some of the causes we love. I encourage you all to tweet at Sean and at me telling us about the organizations you are supporting today. We’ll be sure to check them out!
May you have a great #GivingTuesday, a wonderful #WomanCrushWednesday, and beyond!