Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WE is Thankful on Thanksgiving for all of YOU

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it is important to reflect on the many people and accomplishments that make the WE Movement so rich with compassion, excitement and thoughtfulness.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you, because without you and your support, WE could not have started a movement designed to help people in need across the United States.
What started out as hopeful initiative in Oakland, California has truly turned into a “movement” as the WE Movement launched similar initiatives in the cities of Sacramento and Los Angeles.  Given the use of Ramsell’s “HELP4U” online “Search & Match” software program to assist the less fortunate, our movement let it be known that WE was in search of “champions” to coordinate community logistics.
Photo: WE founder, Tom Loker, "pins" Oakland WE Champion, Marsha Martin
But none of this could be made possible with our WE Champions!  WE Champions are those enthusiastic individuals who are well—established in their communities and willing to volunteer their time to coordinate community resources. With the help of WE Partners, they give presentations to inform the community about the WE Movement, and they also actively recruit and enroll Providers—those with goods, products and services they wish to donate gratis. They also identify and enroll WE Recipients, those individuals, organizations and associations most in need of the donated items.
Whether it was Buena Vista Foods and Foothill Unity Center connecting through WE, or Veronica Carrillo and Karen Gallinger enjoying results of our WE Match, positive connections are being made through our movement all the time.  Most times, connections made are offering hope and inspiration as individuals and companies wishing to donate goods, products or services are provided gratis to people needing a little help.
Since 1863, it has been an annual tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November.[1]  But for WE every day is one in which we “give thanks” for the many great volunteers, champions, providers, partners, sponsors and supporters like YOU for helping us make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many people.
The WE Movement wishes all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] Wikipedia, “Thanksgiving,” Observances around the world, 2010.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Operation Turkey™ Gives Thanks

WE is thankful for the many people who have joined our movement, which has two main objectives: To coordinate community resources across the nation onto one unified platform and to engage the community in giving back both as individuals and corporations to those who need it most.  As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, WE wanted to call your attention to Operation Turkey™.
Each Thanksgiving, Operation Turkey™ effectively organizes local teams of volunteers - families, friends, and businesses - to cook, prepare, pack, and deliver thousands of hot meals and provide other necessities to many people in need.[1] 
The Austin, Texas-based nonprofit organization helps homeless residents and families in need who live in and around the Austin area by delivering food and other donations.  Austin’s Operation Turkey™ demonstrates how positive outcomes can be achieved when one community bands together to offer hope.  It is managed by the Austin Community Foundation.
Richard M. Bagdonas with Operation Turkey™ summarized, “Whether it’s providing food for homeless families, or simply helping families struggling to make ends meet, Operation Turkey shows them that their community cares about them.  With Thanksgiving being most widely recognized as the ‘holiday of giving’ our program embodies the spirit of people who ‘have’ lending to people who ‘have not’ and in this case, it is hot meals and other necessities.”
Volunteers prepare meals for Austin's homeless community.
Volunteers are asked to donate food, bake food, sort donations, package the food in to-go containers, and deliver dinners and donations.  Operation Turkey™ is also supported by the generous donations from various corporate sponsors in the Austin area – including Winstead Attorneys, Greenling Organic Delivery , RetroChannel, 97Degrees West, SpeedMenu, Lancaster | Helling , Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill, Tornado Pressure Wash and the Travis County Sheriff's office.
What better cause to support during a holiday that is best characterized by “giving thanks.”  With so many people in need – especially during these tough economic times – it is important for everyone one of us to take a step back and reflect on our lives, and where appropriate, help our neighbors who are less fortunate.  Can you imagine what it would be like not to enjoy a nice warm, cooked meal on Thanksgiving?
Last year, Operation Turkey™ fed over 4,000 residents of Austin.  How about helping feed even more in 2010? 100% of your donation will be used to buy food…and they are able to feed 50 people with just a $100 donation.
WE invites you to learn more about Operation Turkey™ online at  
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] Operation Turkey,, 2010.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saluting our Veterans on Veterans Day

WE believes that as a nation, every single day we should take a moment to honor the men and women of the armed forces who served the United States, especially those service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  But on Veterans Day, it provides a special opportunity for Americans to collectively express their gratitude and sincere appreciation for their commitment and service.
On Veterans Day, Shinseki will join White House and military officials, and leaders of major Veterans organizations, at the traditional Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.  Across the country, from the rousing notes of the “Star Spangled Banner” to the poignant bugle solo of “Taps,” Americans will celebrate U.S. Veterans with music, ceremonies and speeches.  Nearly 100 VA-sponsored activities are scheduled, highlighted by Birmingham’s 63rd annual Veterans Day parade and parades in Lexington and Denver; recognition ceremonies in Anchorage, Alaska, Chillicothe, Ohio, and Tomah, Wis.; concerts in Durham, N.C., Bath, N.Y., and Tucson, Ariz.; and the third annual Veterans Run/Walk in West Haven, Conn.  The oath of citizenship will be administered to 25 Veterans at the Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in Texas as they become official citizens of the nation they served.[1]
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs the projected U.S. Veterans population is 23,067,000 with 8 percent, or 1,824,000 being females.  Among our Veterans, 79.3% are white, 11.3% are black, 5.8% are Hispanic, 1.5% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 0.8% are American Indian and 1.3% are classified as “other” ethnicity.  The number of Veterans with service-related disabilities is just over 3 million.  And as of September 30th, there were an estimated 2,272,000 World War II Veterans still living.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, summarized it best when she stated: “This Veterans Day, I invite all Americans to never forget those willing to serve our great nation. Here in South Florida we have an extraordinary diverse cross-section of veterans, and I am honored to represent each and every one of them in the U.S. Congress. Whether they have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, all members of our Veterans community have helped secure our nation’s values of freedom and democracy for future generations. Although America’s veterans come from all walks of life, they share one thing in common: A belief in the promise of America and the desire to protect the freedoms we all hold dear.”[2]
Unfortunately, many of our Veterans are homeless today.  The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that there are 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, with an additional 1.5 million at risk of being homeless.  Racial and ethnic minorities represent a disproportion 56% of the homeless Veterans in the United States.
NCHV states that Veterans “need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing, nutritional meals, basic physical health care, substance abuse care and aftercare, mental health counseling, personal development and empowerment…[through] job assessment, training and placement assistance…helping them obtain and sustain employment.
There exists a need in almost every community to help our Veterans.  The NCHV database provides an excellent resource for homeless Veterans, but there are many other resources – including the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion, to name a few.  The VA lists accredited service organizations on its website here:
So on this Veterans Day, please consider donating blankets, or nonperishable food items, or unwanted clothes or anything that you think might help out a Veteran in need.
WE invites you to learn more about Veterans Day on VA's Veterans Day website at under “Regional Observances.”   
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, “On Veterans Day, VA Secretary Shinseki Recognizes, Thanks Veterans,” November 11, 2010.
[2] Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Veterans Day Message, November 11, 2010.

Monday, November 1, 2010

“All for Good” inspires new generation of volunteers

WE previously highlighted the importance of volunteerism in America, along with how “people helping people” is embedded into the very fabric of our society.  There is probably no greater sense of idealism and optimism then in our nation’s youth – especially on college campus across the entire United States. Enter “All for Good,” which encourages Americans to share ways to do good…but their message has a strong appeal to younger generations.
In 2009, there were 63.4 million Americans who volunteered in their community, working an estimated 8.1 billion hours of service valued at nearly $169 billion, that according to the Corporation for National & Community Service.[1]  All for Good” was inspired by President Obama’s call to engage more Americans in community service.
As part of his “Renew America Together” initiative, the President called for Americans to ignite the spirit of service in our nation by asking them to make a lasting pledge to serve their communities.  In June 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of United We Serve, a sustained effort to expand the size and impact of volunteer efforts in America. The initial phase of United We Serve runs for 81 days through a new National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11.
“This, more than anything, is the key point I want to make today – that this new Administration doesn't view service as separate from our national priorities, or in addition to our national priorities – we see it as the key to achieving our national priorities.We believe that the only way to build that new foundation for our economy is to establish a new role for service in this country,” said the First Lady when the “Call to Service” was launched.
Their motto is pretty simple: “Each of us has a role to play in improving our communities and our country. Small actions add up to a big difference.” broadcasts in one place the volunteer opportunities listed by 5 major competing/partnering orgs: volunteer match, service nation, meet-up, craigslist and idealist. The technological platform is enhanced by applications linking it to other platforms, such as iGoogle, Facebook, Blogger, Typepad, just to name a few.
According to their website, their core team is made up of volunteering enthusiasts from places like Google, Craigslist Foundation, UCLA, YouTube, FanFeedr and Aha! Ink. As a contributor to the All for Good project, Google is hosting the All for Good website and products. Several Google engineers worked on All for Good as a 20-percent project (Google lets engineers spend a day a week on projects that interest them), collaborating with a broader team to build the product.[2]
So whether it is volunteering your time at a food pantry, or donating your time answering phone calls at a local community center, or reading to under-privileged school children, every little bit helps!  Especially during tough economic times, volunteers often bridge the gap in linking supports and services to people who need them.
For example, “All for Good” is proud to support Waiting for "Superman"  See the film and find ways to improve public education in your community.
No job to too big, no task too small.  There are over 100,000 volunteer opportunities currently posted on the website.
By using an online portal, “All for Good” helps improves communities by offering important resources and tools, including:
  • Find volunteer activities near you.
  • Share volunteer activities with your friends.
  • See what your friends are interested in.
  • Track volunteer activities you care about.
To date, volunteer activities have been offered by numerous nonprofits, including, 1 Sky, AARP, American Solutions for Winning the Future, American Red Cross, City of New York, The Corporation for National and Community Service, craigslist, Girl Scouts of the USA, Habitat for Humanity, HandsOn Network and Points of Light Institute, Idealist, MeetUp, Mentor, Network for Good, Organizing for America,, Sierra Club, TechMission, The Extraordinaries, Truist, United Jewish Communities, United Way, Volunteer2, VolunteerMatch and Youth Service America.
All for Good” is designed to help small, as well as large organizations with their activities.  Organizations with fewer than 10 volunteer activities are directed to several partner website – such as,,,, – while organizations with 11-500 volunteer activities are encourage to complete an online spreadsheet template and utilize other online tips.
WE invites you to learn more at   
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] Corporation for National & Community Service, Volunteering in America: National, State & City Information, June 2010.
[2] All for Good,, 2010.