I’ll Never Do This Again, So Don’t Bother Asking


Remember when I asked y’all to wish me a Happy Birthday by supporting your own communities? Well, Toyota seemed to be listening, like actively listening, and they had this wacky day where they were setting records in Prius’ (Pre-eye?) and they tried to add can stacking. I’m told that they brought a bunch of cans to a local food pantry. I’d like to know how many cans my readers can get into a Prius and deliver to a food pantry. I’d provide the Prius (Stepmom I mean I’d borrow yours). In any event it was cute, and here it is.

On a related note, I got an email from Morgan. I’m going to share the entire contents of her email with you because rewriting it makes no sense whatsoever. I have never responded to an email like this before, and I’m pretty sure I never will again, so please don’t flood me with requests. I’m not a very good person and I probably won’t help you.

Here goes.

Hi Jessica – It’s Morgan from The818.com.  I hope all is well with you, I know you’re crazy busy so I will try to be as concise as possible here (which…might not be that concise, but I’m gonna try.)

A few months ago, the incredible Stacey, a reader, got in touch with me (and quite a few other bloggers she reads ~ possibly you too) about Kate and Mark Storm, close friends of hers whose sweet baby Getty had been diagnosed with SMA1; the number one genetic killer of infants under the age of two.  Devastating.  I needed to do more than post a badge on my blog.
When I learned that Stacey was coincidentally a fan of The Damnwells, a band whose members include my best friends Alex and Angela Dezen, sparks started flying, and soon Sweet Water Child: Lullabies for Getty was born.
Sweet Water Child is a beautiful album of lullabies my friends wrote and performed, the proceeds of which will go entirely to The Getty Owl Foundation, a newly established non-profit which Kate and Mark set up in their daughter’s honor.
Last week Getty Storm turned one. A huge milestone for an SMA baby.   On Tuesday, April 5th, we’re finally giving her the birthday present we promised by releasing Lullabies for Getty via iTunes.   That’s where (hopefully) you come in.
We want to reach as many people as possible to purchase the album on April 5th so it gets that extra push of iTunes love by making their kids charts, to raise as much money for Miss Getty and her fellow SMA Warriors as possible.    We’ve built a website, and created a couple of different nifty embed-able streaming widgets so that you can help spread the word in any way you’re comfortable.
Obviously a post on your main blog would be amazing, but we totally understand how valuable that space is, so please know that tweets, sidebar love, facebook link-ups, and/or any other method of sharing you see fit are all hugely appreciated.  Seriously, any way you can help us get the word out is one more person creating awareness about this disease, and that’s ultimately our goal here, with a cure as close as only a few years away.
Alex and Angela (the artists) are available to chat, and obviously I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.   You can check out the album and get more info on Getty and SMA here:  www.lullabiesforgetty.com (still in beta).
Here’s an example of our widget in action, and sidebar version will be posted on this page shortly (everyone’s working for free, so we’re down to the wire!):  http://the818.com/getty-widget-sample/ (code pasted at the bottom of this email.)
Thanks for your time.   Thanks for your blog.    Thanks for anything you can do the help Getty and those fighting with her.
Hope this email finds you well, please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you help us ~
Morgan Shanahan
Kid/Life Stuff: www.The818.com
Design/Art Stuff: cargoh.com/blog
Streaming Lunacy: twitter.com/the818
Popping Culture: BlogHer Entertainment

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It’s My Birthday and You Have to Listen to Me


The internet has made our world smaller, and that is a good thing. Everyone who has spoken to me about microblogging knows that I’m madly in love with the work that my friends at Epic Change do. I’ve fallen for Africa without ever having visited because of the Twitter Kids.

As a community we’ve watched disasters unfold in New Orleans, Japan, and Haiti. We’ve taken action and raised millions of dollars quickly and efficiently. This is a good thing, this is an incredible use of the connectivity the internet provides.

What we haven’t done is support our own communities.

My childrens’ school supports a local food bank. Every Friday every child is expected to bring in one canned or boxed good. Those hundreds of items are dropped off at the food bank so that individuals and families who aren’t as lucky as we are get proper nutrition (yes I attribute a lot to luck in this economy). Periodically the classrooms have competitions where the class who brings in the most canned goods will win free dress or an extra recess. This is when my son gets competitive. He will beg me to go the 99 cent store and buy lots and lots of tuna fish or peanut butter so they can win the prize.

I’ve explained to my children that feeding the poor means that we’d send them the same food that we’d be willing to eat. I’ve winced as my children pull my favorite cans off our shelves to give them away, but then I remind myself that I have the incredible privilege of going to the grocery store without worrying if I can afford soup. Still, I struggle with this. I’m human, and like everyone else I can be selfish.

While I watch millions of dollars being raised in my community for third world countries, I’ve simultaneously seen our local schools fail, our food pantries empty, and an increase in homelessness.

I can’t change the world. You can’t change the world. We can all change someone’s day, and perhaps offer a glimmer of hope for the future.

Today I’m asking each and every one of you, my readers, to walk into your kitchen, and to find three cans or boxes of high quality food and to donate that to a food bank near you. If you feed your children organic peanut butter with no sugar added, my expectation is that you will donate that same high quality food to a food pantry. If you love to have Amy’s Organic Soup please consider donating that same high quality food to a family near you that might not otherwise have dinner.

If you have $2 or $20 to spare I challenge you to walk to your nearest public school and give that money to their parent association, or just to the school, so that they can buy things like paper and pencils. Los Angeles schools have no money for paper.

If you have time I’m asking you right now to find a way to give some to your community. I don’t care if you answer phones at some sort of hotline or pick up trash on the side of the road. Maybe you’ll make dinner for a family who is on a tight budget.

I’m tired of the internet being all about vague charities that are funded by mega corporations who are looking for a little marketing to toss into their tax exemptions. I’m sick of sending a dollar to a stranger so that 40 cents can be used for administrative costs. I love the idea of non profits finding their roots online, but even more I love the idea of each of us unplugging for a few minutes each week to make a difference in the towns we live in.

All I want for my birthday is for you to give a little something back to your community. The community you see right outside your front door.