Thursday, July 31, 2014

Aid For Friends Feeding the Isolated Homebound in Philadelphia

Aid For Friends is a wonderful organization in Phiadelphia.

Aid For Friends

With nothing more than an extra serving from her family’s dinner, some aluminum foil and a heart called to help those in need, Rita Ungaro-Schiavone founded Aid For Friends in 1974.

Struck by the isolation and desperate need of those she met through her work with the Frankford YWCA , Rita began bringing frozen home-cooked meals with her as she visited her shut-in clients. Struggling with loneliness, despair, and physical suffering, many of Rita’s clients had no friends or families to share their burdens and help care for them.  Health issues – many of them very serious – were exacerbated by emotional distress, lack of human interaction, and an inadequate diet.  They were alone and hungry – lacking for  basic needs like human contact and nutritious food.  Rita saw that her visits made a huge impact on the quality of life of her clients.

Realizing that the need was greater than her personal ability to address it, Rita enlisted the help of her friends in the Christian Family Movement, parishioners from her home parish of St. Jerome and members and leadership of the Frankford YWCA.  Through her continued advocacy for this cause, speaking in churches and to community groups across the city and suburbs of Philadelphia, Rita grew Aid for Friends from its fledgling roots in one parish in Northeast Philadelphia to its current operation throughout the five-county region over a network of more than 200 churches, synagogues and community meal centers.  In addition to the home visits and meal deliveries, AFF provides aid and advocacy, including caregiver support, safety assessments, and other assistance as needed, to help our friends survive in their own homes and maintain their independence.

More than 15 million meals, 16,000 volunteers and 14,000 client friends later, Aid For Friends continues the work Rita started – providing food and friendship to those in need.
  - See more at:

The mission of Aid for Friends ( AFF)  is to alleviate the hunger and loneliness of isolated homebound individuals.  Our volunteers visit with client friends throughout the five-county Greater Philadelphia region, providing home-cooked meals and life-enhancing friendship.  All our services are provided free of charge.
- See more at:

“Dorothy died yesterday in her sleep yesterday. She wasn’t hungry…she wasn’t cold…she wasn’t lonely…she was loved because of Aid For Friends.”
- Rita Ungaro-Schiavone, AFF Founder, speaking about one of AFF’s first clients.

 “If anyone has enough of this world’s goods and sees one of his brothers or sisters in need yet fails to help him, how can the love of God be living in him?  My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk but something real and active.”
- John 3: 17-18

Johnny’s Story

Johnny lives in Germantown.  His life has not been easy.  After serving in the Vietnam War, he returned home and worked for many years until the company went out of business.  Unable to find another full-time job, Johnny moved in with his parents.  Being musically talented – able to play jazz piano and saxophone - he made a living playing at a club in Philadelphia while caring for his parents until they passed away in quick succession. A year later, tragedy struck:  the house burned down in a terrible fire, killing his sister and destroying his instruments.  It was a devastating blow to Johnny.

Johnny is now 59 years old and living in an apartment on SSI income of $450.00 a month.  He suffers from multiple serious ailments and from malnutrition as well.  He is bedridden because he does not have the physical strength to walk.  He sleeps on his mattress on the floor and gets around by crawling.  Johnny’s health and living conditions are not good, but he is getting stronger from the meals from AFF and – just as important – he has a measure of happiness in his life that comes from having a friend who cares about him.

“He is there for me.”
-          Quotation from a shut-in who has multiple serious illnesses and has been served by Aid For Friends for 15 years.  She has been unable to leave her home except by ambulance for her frequent hospitalizations.   Each week her AFF visitor brings dinners, soups and breakfast bags, and he shops for her when needed.

Copies of two notes to AFF received from appreciative client/friends:
“A grateful thank you for the services you provide and the volunteers.  They are a special caring group.  I look forward to the visits and fellowship each time they come. Thank you again.”  
-           DL

“Dear Friends, I thank you for the help you have given me.  The meals brought me back to life when I came home from the hospital.  I don’t know what I would do without them.  Thank you.”  
-          RS

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How to be of Service in the World Without Spending a Bunch of Money

planting a tree
play the free rice game

Helping others and being of service is important to me, but so is frugal living, therefore I am always on the lookout for ways I can help others without spending a lot of money. I even wrote a previous post about ways you could make a difference for ten dollars or less:

Making a Difference For Ten Dollars or Less

I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say that they can't help other people because they don't have enough money. I don't have a large income right now either but I still manage to help quite a few people each year, and I support several causes close to my heart.

It seems to me that most people would really like to help other people, but have the idea that the small amounts that they could afford to donate would not make much of a difference to anybody. I used to believe that way too, but I know better now.

I've discovered many ways that anyone can make a difference in the world, for ten (10) dollars or less.

Lets start out with the unbelievable idea that you can actually do good in the world, and help others, for free. You don't have to spend one penny to help other people. 

Here are some suggestions on how you can help others for free:

1. Click to donate sites allow you to do good in the world, for free, from your computer. Free Rice, for example, is a fun game you play that helps increase your knowledge, while at the same time you are "earning" rice to feed hungry people.

Charity Click Donation is a web site that puts a bunch of the click to donate sites together in one place for you to click on the ones you want to support.
Charity Click Donation - Give money to charity for free through charity clicks.

2. It costs nothing to be kind and caring, to treat people with respect, or to do something for someone such as help to carry heavy packages, open a door for someone, let a car go ahead of you in traffic, pick up litter on the street, or give someone a sincere compliment.

3. Search Kindly when you're searching the Internet, by making sure your searches are helping to support charity and worthy causes.
Your Searches Benefit Charities - Search Kindly

4. Recycle your household aluminum because aluminum is 100% recyclable, and it is so destructive to the environment to make aluminum in the first place. Not only does this cost you nothing, while benefiting the environment and many people you'll never know, recycling aluminum can actually make you money when you turn your aluminum in at the recyclers.

5. Recycle and donate all your unused coats, other clothing, and household goods to those who can use them. Donate coats and winter clothing to coat drives, shoes to shoe drives, and all clothing to women's shelters and homeless shelters.

Now, for one dollar ($1.00) what can we do?

1. The folks over at One Dollar Give have found plenty of good things to do with just one dollar. Check out their link.
The One Dollar Give: How Much Difference Can $1 Make?

2. Donate one dollar to your local food pantry. Or buy some food for a dollar and donate the food.

3. Buy a fleece hat or gloves at the dollar store and give to a homeless person or a needy person.

4. Give a dollar to a homeless person.

$2.00, another small amount of money, but still for that $2.00, at Alternative Gifts International, you can buy groceries for 1 person for 1 day.
Give a Gift in Honor of Someone - Alternative Gifts International

For $3.00, Alternative Gifts International will purchase one tree, and plant it, in one of the worlds deforested areas. Alternative Gifts International is a great place to find ways to help for just a little money. 

feed hungry children around the world
1. For $4.00 they will provide one weeks supply of alternative charcoal for four families living in a deforested area of the world, thus sparing trees, and helping the families by saving them money.

2. $4.00 is also one day of support for one student in Kenya.

$5.00 will buy food to feed one family for one day, again through Alternative Gifts International.

For $6.00, you could purchase one pair of small animals for one Quecha Indian family in Bolivia.

2. That same $6.00 would also provide medicine and protein drinks for one child for one year.

3. $6.00 is also the cost of one share of water pipe or school supplies for a Gumiyuda school system.

For $7.00, you could provide care and food for an aged person in China who has no family.

$8.00 will fund one hour of job and skill training for one woman with no job skills.

Give a Gift in Honor of Someone - Alternative Gifts International

Food For The Poor, for $10.00, will provide three fruit trees to a hungry family living in Haiti. An avocado tree, a breadfruit tree, and a mango tree. 
Food For The Poor | Helping the Poor, Charitable Giving, International Relief | Serving the Poorest of the Poor

2. $10.00 will also provide a mosquito net for people at risk for malaria through Nothing But Nets. Malaria is a huge killer world-wide and your $10.00 will save lives.
Home | Nothing But Nets Campaign

3. $10.00 at Global Giving can be used to support many different charities or relief efforts, including a school in the Dominican Republic for Haitian refugees.
GlobalGiving: donate to grassroots projects; education, health, microfinance

So, there you have it, several ways to help other people and make a difference in the world, all for under $10.00. 
Many people spend that much everyday on junk food, expensive coffee drinks, or vending machine goodies. If you would rather use your money for good, then why not check out some of these charities, (or discover your own), and see how quickly these small amounts of donations can begin to make a big difference in the world.

 Support aboriginal rights and people around the world


So, there you have my original post of June 17, 2010.
Now the prices for some of the ideas listed above may have risen a bit, as many things have in this economy, but the basic idea is still very sound.
There are many things you can do to make a difference in the world for very little, or no, money.
So what are you going to do to make a difference this week?

                                          Help make a difference to poor women worldwide

                     Support local coat drives by donating your unused coats to those who have none.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trees For The Future

Trees for the Future is a great organization and I urge everyone to support their tree planting efforts in any way you can.

Trees for the Future is dedicated to planting trees with rural communities in the developing world, enabling them to restore their environment, grow more food, and build a sustainable future.

In the early 1970s, Dave and Grace Deppner served as volunteers in the Philippines, where they witnessed the human tragedy brought on by illegal logging and unsustainable land management systems. Working with community leaders in nearby villages, the Deppners found a way to offer hope. They revitalized degraded lands by providing farmers with tree seed, technical training, and on-site planning assistance. People responded enthusiastically,  joining in to save their homes and way of life.
After returning from their overseas assignments they continued what they had started, communicating by mail with rural community leaders, providing information, seeds, and training materials. After many years of informal operations, Trees for the Future (‘TREES’) was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) public charity in Maryland on August 14, 1989. Over the years TREES has assisted thousands of communities in planting millions of trees in 19 countries including Ghana, which have restored life to land that was previously degraded or abandoned.

Today, we continue what the Deppners started so long ago, helping others help themselves by means of our singular goal:
Planting Trees, Changing Lives.

Here is the web site, please click.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

17 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

I love to cook and I enjoy being frugal and I've learned through the years that you don't have to spend a lot to make delicious meals.

How to Save Money on Groceries 17 Ways

Food is one of the few things in a family budget that a person can control. It's not a fixed expense like rent or car payments. Instead you determine how much you spend on food and how that grocery money is spent. There are ways you can learn to spend less on food each month.

1. Set up a food budget and determine to stick to it, no matter what. A good suggestion is to start by spending 20% less than you currently do on food.

2. Make a detailed grocery list of all you need to buy before you ever leave the house. Include all the items you normally buy, all the items you've run out of, and any items that you know you'll be needing soon.
3. Eat something before you go shopping. Studies have shown that grocery shoppers average between 10% to 25% more money spent on groceries when they shop hungry.

4. Make arrangements to leave the kids at home. Again studies show you'll spend more when you bring the kids with you to the supermarket

5. Clip coupons only for items you normally buy.

6. Join a food co-op with your friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers, and purchase some of your food that way. You can save a lot by buying in bulk, and with a food co-op the expense is shared.

7. Pick a quiet, less-busy, time of the week to do your grocery shopping. You'll be less stressed and have more time to search out bargains and compare prices.

8. Grow a garden. Use what you grow. Eat what you can freshly picked, and then can, dehydrate, or freeze the rest.

9. Shop less. This is an old trick but it's a very effective one. You aren't spending money if you aren't in the grocery store. Shop twice a month, or once a week, or even once a month if you can manage that.

10. Bring only the exact amount of cash with you that you plan to spend on groceries this week. Leave your checkbook, credit cards, and debit cards at home. Again, this is effective because you can't spend money you haven't brought with you.

11. Determine to buy most, or all, of your personal items at the dollar store rather than the supermarkets. It's much cheaper. Or, make your own. This applies to household cleaners too, either make your own natural cleaners, or buy them cheaply at the dollar store.

12. Buy bread at a bakery thrift store, and shop at a salvage grocery store for real bargains on food. Also check out ethnic grocery stores for bargains on produce and spices, as well as other foods. You can even check out the food at the dollar store, or places like Walgreen for bargains.

13. Cut down on or eliminate paper products, soda, and empty calorie foods, (especially chemically-laden and sugary breakfast cereals for children), as well as all prepared foods. Buy real food, and make your own meals. By the same token, cut down on meat, dairy, and milk. We eat more of these products than is healthy as a rule anyway.

14. Buy the generic, or house brand, whenever you can. You'll save a lot with this tip alone.

15. Buy bulk foods and stock up, so you'll always have plenty of good, wholesome food in your house. Eat more beans and legumes, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat ethnic more often, these dishes are often inexpensive, healthier for you, and delicious.

16, Use the smaller size grocery cart whenever you can. The temptation to add items to the bigger carts can be huge. Grocery stores know this and are making their carts bigger all the time, just to trick you into buying more every shopping trip. Keep your eyes firmly pointed away from the "impulse items" located near the checkouts. And watch the register when your groceries are being checked out for errors. Sale items especially are often rung up incorrectly. Produce is too, as the codes for each kind are different and clerks make mistakes every day.

17. Don't waste or throw away any of the foods you buy. Try to avoid running out of items between shopping trips, but if you do, learn to substitute for whatever you're out of instead of making an unplanned trip to the store where, chances are, you'll buy more than just the item you ran out of. By careful planning and substitution you can avoid blowing your food budget this way.