My favorite charities 2017: Part Two

As much as I wanted to spend the weekend watching John Green cover his face in a variety of face-inappropriate substances (like peanut butter and sharpie), I had thoughtlessly planned not one but TWO parties this weekend.  Still, substituting forty-eight hours of partying for forty-eight hours of livestream watching wasn’t all bad.  Except maybe in the eyes of our foster cat, who doesn’t like crowds.

Anyway, here’s another charity recommendation!


Gerald Durrell’s books about his childhood in Corfu (now a TV series, thanks BBC!) and his adult life collecting animals for zoos, then starting his own zoo, were a cornerstone of my childhood reading.  After he began his zoo, which is dedicated to rehabilitating endangered populations, he began the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

A donation to the Durrell Trust is always on my Christmas wishlist- and you don’t just get a warm, fuzzy feeling for your money!  Over the years family members have surprised me with books from the Durrell Trust store and an “adopted” pied tamarin named Dobby.  (A perfect overlap of my passions.)

Money given to the Durrell Trust goes to their training of people around the world in conservation programs (50 programs in 18 countries, according to their website) as well as the Jersey Zoo, where they manage their breeding programs.

An interesting fact- Henry Cavill was named their celebrity ambassador the year before I had any idea who he was. Only this month did I ever actually see him in a movie.

My favorite charities: Harry Potter Alliance

The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) is a fairly young organization, having been formed only ten years ago.  Their premise is that the energy that fans put into their beloved media can also be used as a powerful force for change in the world.  Thus far they’ve harnessed that energy to get Warner Bros. to change their chocolate to 100% fair trade sources, sent five planes of supplies to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, donated hundreds of thousands of books all over the world, and all sorts of other projects.

Helping them is a lot more straight forward than donating to Angel Tree- for the HPA you can donate, or join (or form) a local chapter to help them continue their good works on a local level.

My favorite charities: Angel Tree

it’s a bit late for Angel Tree this year, since the drop off date about the 15th, but it’s not too late yet!

Angel Tree is a program run by the Salvation Army who, yes, are problematic, but since no money goes through the SA, I feel comfortable recommending this project.

While he was alive, my dad always asked for Angel Tree as his Christmas gift, so it became family tradition for my younger sister and I to each pick an angel.

How it works is thusly:

  1. Families in need fill out a little form with information that varies from region to region, sometimes with clothing sizes but always with a present that the kid wants. The age range is from months old to seniors in high school.
  2. That information is transferred to ‘angel’ cards which are sent to local businesses to hang on Christmas trees.
  3. People who go to the businesses pick kids they want to buy for. You can buy just the stuff they requested or get more- we usually do more.
  4. Bring back the UNWRAPPED gifts to where you picked your angel. Sometimes their are volunteers, but sometimes there’s just a box to put the gifts in. Make sure all the toys are attached to the angel card.
  5. Volunteers sort the gifts and the families come pick them up.
  6. Christmas!

I like Angel Tree because it gives a kid, who otherwise wouldn’t get anything, a Christmas. There are at least a few other programs like it, but it’s the one my family uses.

This year Kevin and I picked two kids because Big Island kids don’t ask for much. Most of them only wanted things like towels, cooking implemented, and clothes.

I also like to pick the teenagers because most people prefer to choose little kids, and the idea that age might disqualify someone from having a happy holiday make me particularly sad. On the mainland that usually means I’m buying a bike.