Yesterday First Lady Michelle Obama came to San Francisco’s Bayview district to kick off the call to public service United We Serve. How cool is that? She was joined by California’s First Lady, Maria Shriver and Craig Newmark (recall his blog post on little ‘ol us). United We Serve is slated to continue through September 11, 2009, but we hope that this will inspire countless citizens to continue their altruism long after the summer initiative is over.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The administration conceived the initiative as a way to encourage more Americans to address problems in their communities, especially in four key areas: education, health, energy and the environment.
“We have an administration that understands that service is the key to achieving our national priorities,” Obama said later Monday in a keynote address to the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco.
To coincide with this national call to service, Craig and his team have launched a new website All For Good, which is basically Craiglist meets volunteerism. At HAMO world headquarters we are very excited about all of this public service hoopla, which brings me to the next item: let’s talk about US.
People always ask: Why did you start Help A Mother Out? For the backstory, you can read Rachel’s post on our origins, but the short and sweet version is simply – we did not have time to volunteer at a homeless shelter. For me, my hands are literally tied behind my back during the day with two young children. SAHMs you know what I am talking about. I personally had NO business starting HAMO, but once Rachel and I dug deeper into these issues, by golly, how could we not go down the rabbit hole?
The point I am trying to make is that it doesn’t take much to help out another mother – even if you are a busy and over taxed parent. We hear from all of the agencies we partner with that families have to make the tough choice between food or diapers. This is something we ALL can help with, and it doesn’t take an endowment or fat bank account. In a not-so-roundabout way I’m asking you, dear Readers (and First Lady Michelle Obama, in the one-zillionth of a chance we show up on your radar) is, during this national initiative, that you buy some diapers for a needy mom. If you are reading this post, consider this YOUR CALL TO PUBLIC SERVICE.
The next time you have an urge to indulge in retail therapy, the next time you go to buy anything for yourself on Amazon.com, the next birthday or new baby you celebrate, the next time you find yourself at Target ($13.99 for a case of 96-count Target brand diapers!) or Costco, pick up an extra pack or a case of diapers/wipes. You can drop it off at any one of our local drop bins or even better, shop the HAMO administered Amazon.com wishlists and ship it DIRECT to the agency of your choice. By the way, we’ve added Los Angeles Diaper Drive and the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona to our list of diaper bank partners, and our gift card offer is good for them too.
I recently came across this blog post from Feministing that was asking readers where they choose to donate. For me, this was such a timely post, because just yesterday we received our first repeat gift card request. The donor is someone who probably bought diapers in honor of Mother’s Day. This time, the request was to honor a birthday, and the person bought TWO cases of diapers. The Feministing post and this gift card request reminded me how much it makes me feel good to give and receive gifts that honor doing good in the community in a very direct and tangible way.
We hope that you will join us as we piggyback on the First Lady’s United We Serve initiative. We are working on our next community drive and have enlisted some amazing people, hopefully including yourself. Please stay tuned to find out specifics in the coming weeks.
Your turn: What are the opportunities you see with the First Lady’s call to public service? Does your community group or organization have any United We Serve plans? Please share them with us here.