Sunday, May 8, 2011

Charities vs. Zombies

There's a lot of suck in the world. Storms and tsunamis and disease and lots of other sucky things that we just can't help.

But fortunately, there's a lot more good people than sucky things. I've been continuously amazed at how a tragedy leads to an outpouring of love and aid and goodwill, and the writing community is no different. So, today I want to call your attention to some charities and goodwill things happening online--and then I want to challenge you to do good--and then I'm going to link it all to zombies and a giveaway (really!).

The storms in the Southern US recently were devastating. It's sad enough when one person loses his home--but when the entire neighborhood is homeless? The entire city flooded? Great swaths of a state left eradicated?

There are currently two auctions online that seek to aid these areas specifically. Help Write Now is in full swing, and while some auctions are closed, there are more opening every day, and they are truly brilliant auctions indeed! Marketing plans, agent referrals, signed books and swag, critiques--it's a plethora of writing goodies that you wouldn't believe!

Coming soon is All 4 Alabama, another auction site dedicated to bringing as much aid as possible to a specific area. Auctions at this site will open soon, but for now they need the most help spreading the word.

Not only that, but you can also donate by just making a regular ol' book purchase:
Thanks to author Lindsey Leavitt, you can buy books AND support relief efforts!

Between May 7th-14th, use code bookfair #1048605 when making a Barnes and Noble purchase online or in store. 10% of sales using this code will go to the United Way's West Alabama chapter to help tornado relief efforts.

If we raise over $2500, the percentage goes up to 15%; if we raise $10,000, the percentage is 20%!
On a more personal level, TLC Auctions is seeking to aid two specific individuals:  Daniel, a father who was wounded in a hunting accident, and Kaylea, a young girl with leukemia. The auctions will extend throughout the month of May, and so far the items up for grabs have been going for a steal of a deal.

If you'd like to donate books instead of money, there are two very worthy charitable donations set up.

The first is being run by Guys Lit Wire. Ballou High School needs books. The shelves aren't empty, but they aren't full, either. According to the site:
So there was barely one book for each student (the ALA standard is 11:1). ...what struck me in all the efforts to help is what always hits me - people send books they have (publishers do the same) which is lovely, but not necessarily the books that the school needs or, most importantly of all, the students want. That’s where we come in and why we keep doing this, and loving it, every single year.
Over on Guys Lit Wire, they've organized a whole wish list of books. Scrolling through it, I found some recent ones (like, *cough* mine) and classics that I, personally, found inspiring as a kid: A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, and more. I challenge you to look at the list and not find a book that you would put in the hands of a kid if you could...because when you find that book you loved when you were young, or the hot new title you yourself have been longing for, how can you not do the simple thing of sending it to a library that desperately wants that exact title?

And speaking of books that people want, have you heard of RAK? Random Acts of Kindness is run by Book Soulmates, a blog that hosts RAK. Basically, if someone really wants a certain book, they list the book they wish they had. Then anyone who wants to can see the list and do a random act of kindness by sending the book to the person who wishes they had it. You can see the wish list and more info on the project here.

So, as you can see, there's lots of different ways to do something good--auctions to bid on, charities to donate to, books to share with students and bloggers--tons of ways to make the world a better place.

So, today, I want to challenge you: Do something good. It can be anything you like--one of the auctions or charities I've listed here, or do something on your own. Help a neighbor out. Spread the word about the charities. Heck, just smile at someone. There's a lot of suck in the world. I challenge you to make a conscious effort to do at least one thing today to decrease world suck.

Here's my theory: The thing that separates the good people from the zombies is the ability to do good (as opposed to eating brains). And the reason why I bring up zombies is because in order to encourage you to make an effort to decrease world suck today, I'm going to be giving away a signed copy of Carrie Ryan's latest novel, THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES.

Want to prevent the world from becoming a Dark and Hollow Place? (see what I did there?) Want to prove that you're not a zombie? Do one good thing today. Not just a typical thing you do every day anyway--go out of your way to do one extra good thing toady.

And when you do, sign up here.

Giveaway details:

  • Open internationally
  • Sign up by Sunday, May 15th
  • Winner announced Monday, May 16th 
  • One entry per person
  • You must be at least 13 years old to enter
  • You don't have to tell me your good deed. I trust you. It's all good.
  • I'd take it as a kindness if you'd help spread the word on this.

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