(BPT) – Americans are generous people, donating billions of dollars every year to thousands of charities. Yet it’s only human nature to wonder if your check or online donation really makes a difference. It does — just ask Michelle Mott, the mother of a child who lost his battle with pediatric cancer.
During the final months of her son Ryan’s life, Mott and her family received support and assistance from a local charity — Fairy Godmother Project — that raised a tenth of its entire 2015 budget through a single day of crowdfunding. That event, Give Local America (known locally as The Community Give), last year raised $22,000 for the Fredericksburg, Virginia-based organization, and it helped provide people like the Motts with the most precious gift you can give the family of a child with cancer — more time to spend with their child.
Ryan was just 8 when he was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) — an aggressive cancerous tumor that attacks the brain stem. About 300 children a year receive a DIPG diagnosis, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Boston. The condition is almost always terminal.
Fairy Godmother Project “gave me time with Ryan,” Mott says. “I didn’t have to clean or cook. My husband didn’t have to mow the lawn. I didn’t have to worry about day-to-day activities that took away from time with Ryan. Fairy Godmother Project took care of all of that. We just spent time with our son.”
“We strive to ease the burden on families coping with pediatric cancer, even if it’s only for an hour by making meals, providing professional house cleaning or paying some bills,” says Andie McConnell, co-founder and executive director of Fairy Godmother Project. “Of course, all those good works cost money, and the Give Local America event helped us take care of families like the Motts. That one day of crowdfunding demonstrates that each of us really does have the power to make a difference, beginning right where we live.”
Making a difference close to home
This year, Give Local America will take place on Tuesday, May 3, supporting more than 9,000 local charities across all 50 states. Through the power of crowdfunding, individuals and businesses can donate online to support organizations that make a difference in their own communities. You can find more information, and search a database of participating organizations, at www.givelocalamerica.com.
In 2015, more than 375,000 Americans donated $68.5 million through Give Local America. Their generosity helped organizations like Acts 4 Ministry, Inc., a nondenominational charity that helps people in financial distress in the Greater Waterbury, Connecticut area. Annually, the organization distributes clothing for nearly 4,000 people and more than 3,000 pieces of furniture.
Through last year’s Give Local America campaign — known locally as “Give Local Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills” — the organization challenged area businesses to help fund the purchase of 20 mattresses for families in need. Sandy’s TV and Appliance, based in Wolcott, Connecticut, stepped up and pledged to donate 20 additional mattresses if the campaign met its goal. It did, and 40 families received good, clean mattresses to sleep on — for some children, it was their first time having their own, new bed.
“Give Local America is a win for everyone,” says Sarah Elizabeth Carabetta, executive director of Acts 4 Ministry, Inc. “It gives every American the chance to really make a difference in their community, allows local businesses to stand out by becoming local philanthropic leaders, and helps organizations like ours raise the funds to continue helping our neighbors in need.”
To get involved in the upcoming Give Local America event on May 3, 2016, visit www.givelocalamerica.com.