Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Give a Coat, Share the Warmth!

Throughout much of the United States the temperatures are cooling off and the changing weather is reflected in the foliage taking on its seasonal fall colors.  But as the dog day of summer are replaced with more a pleasant climate outside, so does the reality that winter is right around the corner – with its shorter days, fridged nights and snowy conditions in many parts of the country.  With that in mind, WE embraces the ongoing “One Warm Coat: Give a Coat, Share the Warmth” campaign being kicked-off by Burlington Coat Factory starting on October 29th.
Burlington Coat Factory’s campaign is designed to Our provide any person in need with a warm coat free of charge because “providing this simple, yet vital, need helps people live productive lives all year round.”[1]  It is being supported by numerous retail partners, including Aeropostale, Eddie Bauer, Old Navy, Gap – as well as several corporate partners such as GLAD, Charles Schwab & Company Virtual Marketing Partners and Google.  Additionally, The Change Happens Foundation supports One Warm Coat with grant funds, allowing Burlington Coat Factory to hire staff during their busy collection months.
One Warm Coat started out in 1992 as a Thanksgiving Weekend coat drive in San Francisco.  Since then, more than 1 Million coats have been donated in thousands of local communities across North America.[2] The campaign places an added emphasis on children, stating that nearly one in five children live in poverty in the United States, and one in three homeless persons is a child under the age of 18.
One Warm Coat® operates by groups hosting coat drives at the community level; an Agency is selected to receive the coats – and the coats must be given FREE!  The list of Agencies on their website is not a complete list of organizations that support those in need -- it is just the beginning!  People are encouraged to perform a "Google search" for "homeless assistance + your town" or take a look in your telephone directory. Churches and food banks often distribute coats to those in need.
Tools and resources are provided to would-be coat drive organizers to help facilitate the process of collecting the donated coats, including a guidebook, flyers, draft press releases, tax receipts, etc.  One Warm Coat® also supplies a large banner and box label to each Organizer who submits the Share Your Plans form online.
One Warm Coat® exemplifies how individuals, corporations, philanthropic groups and nonprofits can collaborate at the local level to link providers – individuals or companies with goods, products and services they wish to offer gratis to recipients – those in need and most fragile among us.
WE invites you to learn more at http://www.onewarmcoat.org/.  
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at http://www.wemovement.org/.

[1] Burlington Coat Factory, “One Warm Coat®,” October 2010.
[2] Burlington Coat Factory, “One Warm Coat®,” October 2010.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Help People with HIV and Win a Cruise for Two!

Isn’t it inspiring when you help others who are in need?  Just knowing that your contribution – whether monetary or not – provided supports or services to the underserved in our communities is uplifting.  Equally uplifting is supporting efforts to educate others about important issues impacting local communities.
At the same time, wouldn’t it be great to “get away” from the hustle-and-bustle of the crazy work week and everyday responsibilities at home?
Well, why not kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes!
But your chance to win an exotic vacation cruise and support people living with HIV/AIDS is running out! 
The Flowers Heritage Foundation (“FHF”) is offering a chance to win a 7 Day Cruise for two, for everyone who purchases a $50.00 raffle ticket – with the proceeds going to helps them provide emergency HIV/AIDS medicine to underserved PLWA and provide HIV/AIDS education and awareness to high school students through our innovative art program.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FHF is committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, specifically by offering educational resources in underserved communities and linking people living with HIV/AIDS to the treatment options that keep them healthy, productive members of their communities.  FHF’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS are symbolized in its “Don't Turn Your Back on AIDS™” (DTYBOA) program, which is only part of the organization’s dedication to addressing health issues that improve the lives of the underserved through collaboration, outreach and education.
Don’t Turn Your Back on AIDS™ Awareness Art Competition provides an interactive environment orientation where high school students learn imperative information regarding HIV risks and prevention in the classroom through a 28-minute DVD. Students creatively interpret their views and artistically express themselves under their art teachers’ instruction. Consequently, their awareness is increased about contracting HIV and their risk behaviors are reduced.
Why is this competition important?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”), “young people in the United States are at persistent risk for HIV infection. This risk is especially notable for youth of minority races and ethnicities. Continual HIV prevention outreach and education efforts, including programs on abstinence and on delaying the initiation of sex, are required as new generations replace the generations that benefited from earlier prevention strategies.”[1]
The underlying currant behind HIV-infection rates reveals the need for new, innovative prevention strategies targeting youth and young adults.  The following is based on data from the 35 areas with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting[2]:
  • An estimated 4,883 young people received a diagnosis of HIV infection or AIDS, representing about 13% of the persons given a diagnosis during that year.[3]
  • African Americans were disproportionately affected by HIV infection; accounting for 55% of all HIV infections reported among persons aged 13–24.[4]
  • Young men who have sex with men (MSM), especially those of minority races or ethnicities, were at high risk for HIV infection. In the 7 cities that participated in CDC’s Young Men’s Survey during 1994–1998, 14% of African American MSM and 7% of Hispanic MSM aged 15–22 were infected with HIV.[5]
  • During 2001–2004, in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting, 62% of the 17,824 persons 13–24 years of age given a diagnoses of HIV/AIDS were males, and 38% were females.
The data speaks for itself.  The current HIV-prevention strategies are failing American teens and young adults because they are marred in an outdated model from the 1990s; it has demonstrated a diminishing effect on Generation Xers and younger.  According to the CDC, in 2006 young adults represented 4.4 percent, or approximately 48,400, of the 1.1 million people living with HIV infection.  Equally alarming is that nearly 50 percent of HIV-positive American teens and young adults don't know they are infected, which amounts to 9.9 percent – 23,000 youths – of the total 232,700 people living in the United States who are unaware of their status.[6] 
The CDC estimated by using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey that only 22 percent of sexually-active high school students got tested for HIV in 2007.  Yet, students who had learned in school about the human immunodeficiency virus were more likely to get tested for HIV.[7]
The CDC recommends routine HIV screening for all people 13-64 years old to decrease the number of undiagnosed infections and the spread of new infections.  According to the CDC, “the adoption of voluntary HIV screening in health care settings will help health care workers identify persons with previously unrecognized HIV infection and link them to clinical and prevention services, and further reduces sexual and perinatal transmission of HIV in the United States.”[8]
It is not surprising that “Lack of Awareness” continues to be identified by the CDC, and others, is a leading causes of HIV infection among young people in the United States.[9]
The Kaiser Family Foundation's National Survey of Teens on HIV/AIDS 2000, a nationally representative survey of teens ages 12-17, assessed attitudes and knowledge about the epidemic among a generation at risk. The survey, which remains widely considered groundbreaking in its assessment of youth attitudes toward HIV infection, documents teen perspectives about the impact of the epidemic on young people and their own personal concern about becoming infected. It also includes findings about where teens get their information about HIV/AIDS, their information needs, and attitudes toward HIV testing. Key findings include: greater levels of concern expressed by minority teens; many teens would not know where to go get tested for HIV; and teens want more information about HIV/AIDS.[10]
So, FHF is taking a stand against AIDS and offering an innovative solution, whereby linking youth and young adults with an opportunity to educate one another about HIV/AIDS prevention.  Don’t Turn Your Back on AIDS™ is a worthwhile initiative.
Enter by December 15, 2010 and be eligible to win a 7 day cruise from Norwegian Cruise Lines to any where they go (Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexican Rivera, Canada/New England, and Bahamas/Florida).  But even better, by entering to win you’re actually supporting a worthy cause.
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile program.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at http://www.wemovement.org/.

[1] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[2] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[3] CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2004. Vol. 16. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC: 2005:1–46.
[4] CDC. HIV Prevention in the Third Decade. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005.
[6] CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 26, 2009.
[7] CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 26, 2009.
[8] CDC, Questions and Answers for Professional Partners: Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents and Pregnant Women in Healthcare Settings, August 22, 2008.
[9] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[10] The Kaiser Family Foundation, National Survey of Teens on HIV/AIDS 2000, November 16, 2000.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

“Every Little Bottom” Provides Diapers for Struggling Mothers…and their Babies

One in three American mothers struggle to provide diapers for their babies.[1]
Imagine having to keep your baby home from day care?
Imagine having to reuse soiled diapers?
Imagine having to cut back on a basic necessity, like food, to provide diapers?
Each of these questions is laced with the very real challenges faced by mothers on a daily basis.  Since most day care facilities require mothers to furnish a full day’s supply of diapers, it is a challenge.   Since one in 20 American mothers struggling to afford diapers have cleaned out and reused soiled diapers, it is a challenge.  Since one in three American mothers had to choose between diapers or food, it is a challenge.
In 2008, Huggies® – a Kimberly Clark Brand – commissioned a study called “Every Little Bottom,” which detailed the diaper need in the United States and Canada.  The study was authored by Dr. Cybele Raver, Dr. Nicole Letourneau, Dr. Jennifer Scott and Heidi D’Agostino.  The study was published in June 2010.
The Huggies® study surveyed over 2,000 families and demonstrated how they have juggled their responsibilities as parents during the recession – including trying to make ends meet providing the basic necessities, such as food and shelter…and diapers for their babies.  According to the authors, it “helps us to recognize the ways that diapering can be a source of joy and a time of emotional connection for all mothers, but can also represent a significant source of psychological strain for families who are financially struggling.”[2]
It was conducted to better understand the issue of diaper need in the United States and Canada and provide insights into its scope and scale.  Diaper need is the struggle of those without the means to provide their babies with diapers.  Specifically, the study sought to:
  • Determine the proportion of mothers struggling with diaper need;
  • Understand the link between diapering and mothers’ socio-economic status;
  • Reveal the feelings behind “good mothering” and diapering a child;
  • Examine the impact of diaper need on mother and baby; and
  • Discover  solutions to address the issue.
Probably one of the most profound passages in the study reads, “Mothers surveyed in this study, whether or not they struggle with diaper need, reported that keeping their child in a clean diaper was one of the most important things they do for them as a mother. Nearly all mothers connected clean diapers with showing their child how much they loved them.[3]
As a result of not being able to provide clean diapers for their babies, mothers often experience anxiety and stress because they cut back on other necessities and sometimes skip paying bills.  There is also the feeling of being a “bad mother” when the baby suffers from a rash as a result of being in a soiled diaper for too long, or when diapers are cleaned and reused. 
The study found that diaper need impacts moms of all races (Hispanic 41%, African-American 36%, Caucasian 31%), but found that mothers struggling with diaper need are less likely to be employed or to have attained higher education.[4]
In response to the study, Huggies® launched their “Every Little Bottom” campaign to collect 22.5 million diapers for struggling mothers in need.  It aims to help needy families that struggle to provide diapers for their babies.  Their campaign includes diaper drives being hosted all across the United States and Canada.
To date diaper donations have only reached 2.5 million, or just over 10% of their goal.
Aside from Huggies®, “Every Little Bottom” has the backing from some heavy hitters, too. “As a new mom, it broke my heart to hear that so many moms struggle with not having enough diapers,” said Ellen Pompeo, who is an Every Little Bottom ambassador and star in the television drama, Grey’s Anatomy.
There are numerous ways that this program can be supported, including donating diapers online, donating reward points, and start or attend a local diaper drive.
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile program.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at http://www.wemovement.org/.

[1] Huggies®, Every Little Bottom Study, June 2010.
[2] Huggies®, Every Little Bottom Study, June 2010, p. 3.
[3] Huggies®, Every Little Bottom Study, June 2010, p. 4.
[4] Huggies®, Every Little Bottom Study, June 2010, p. 9.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Delicious Calzones Looking for a Needy Charity

With all the news media reports about the spike in homelessness and people accessing food banks across the country, generous appeals such as the one offered by Buena Vista foods to provide 60 cases of Calzones are  what define WE Champions! 
Several weeks ago, “No One Should Go Hungry” focused on food pantries and shelters seeing a sharp rise in the number of people seeking help.  Urban, rural and suburban areas alike have all succumbed to the harsh realities of more people needing food assistance.
WE strongly believes that if each one of us, an individual or organization, takes responsibility for our communities and joins the WE Movement, collectively WE can succeed in improving the lives of the people who need it most, even if it is one community at a time, one "offering" at a time.
A perfect example of this commitment is the offering being made available by Buena Vista, an Azusa, California-based company.
Buena Vista, who is best known for serving the school food service industry, says the reduced fat calzone pocket sandwiches are filled with tasty mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. "Occasionally, we are able to offer some of our products to those who might go hungry," states Paul Miller, president of Buena Vista. "This batch of calzones is one example, but we need to place them soon. They expire in February 2011." According to Miller, each case contains 45 sandwiches.
According to a report released earlier this year by Feeding America, their member agencies served as many as 10 million client households who are food insecure (i.e., not always know where they will find their next meal).  Buena Vista’s Calzones therefore make for the perfect opportunity for a soup kitchen, or other organization(s) in need – such as a children’s home or senior center.
READ MORE about this ongoing offer being facilitated by WE and Buena Vista.
In order to expedite the "calzone" offering, those eligible to receive the cases or those wishing to speak to either Tom Loker or Paul Miller may call KerrPR at (714) 550-9900.
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile initiative.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at http://www.wemovement.org/.