Saturday, March 3, 2012

Historic Preservation - Our Next Charity Selection!

There is nothing more delightful for our family than spending an afternoon outdoors.  We love taking walks in the woods and visiting community parks.  Several years ago, we spotted a historic park just off the highway.  What made this location special was that our first visit was an exploration of preserved buildings, beautiful gardens, lakes, trails and small museums.

This delightful location was none other than Historic Oak View County Park.  A restored 19th century farmstead, Historic Oak View features three museums: one at the main home with temporary exhibits, a cotton museum at the cotton gin house, and a farm history center.  There is a pecan grove, cotton field, gazebo and a water tower.

On our first visit many years ago, our daughter (4 years old at the time) had a fine time pretending to cook in the big stone fireplace at the plank kitchen.  She'd open the door, invite us in, show us her soup and push us out so we could do it all over again.  I swear we "visited" about 15 times in a row.

That day may have started her fascination with all things old - antique typewriters, homemade wax candles, feather pens with ink pots, even the cotton gin we saw at Oak View.  Sometimes the digital age just can't provide the same tactile experience of those simple machines of yore.

Historic preservation is so important to us.  Learning about our history helps provide a thread to our past and tells the story of our ancestors.  We decided to support a local organization that had a personal impace, therefore, our Charity of the Month is the Historic Oak View Park!

Historic Oak View is part of the "Raleigh Heritage Trail" that includes several historic sites, museums and facilities.  Read more at

Donations to Historic Oak View can be mailed to:
Oak View
4028 Carya Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610

Photos of our visits to Oak View Park...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gifts With An Impact

I love receiving a gift that has an extended reach and makes an impact in our communities. I've noticed this year in particular that more people have been posting gift ideas that benefit charity and was thrilled to see that more folks are looking to extend the impact of their giving.

Many artists and crafters have chosen to partner with charities by allowing a portion of the sale proceeds to benefit the organizations. It's always interesting to me to see which charities they choose. Not only does the charity benefit monetarily, but the additional exposure is tremendously beneficial to them.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that one of my cherished Christmas gifts benefits a worthy cause. My beautiful little Santa figurine created by folk artist, Jim Shore, supports The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's efforts of preservation, research, and educational programs for the world's largest living history museum in Williamsburg, VA. I'll be delighted to pull out that figurine every year and be reminded of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's fine efforts.

There are thousands of opportunities to purchase a gift that benefits a charitable organization. I follow a wonderful organization on facebook called Made By Survivors that fights human trafficking and slavery. Their beautiful fair trade jewelry items, handbags and gifts are made by survivors of slavery at shelters around the world, offering them sustainable income, dignity and a bright future.

For a fun and unique shopping experience, check out The mission of this clever establishment is to "help make the world suck less by selling you the geeky things you love and giving all the profits to good causes." Carrying t-shirts, books, posters and more, proceeds benefit organizations such as Mercy Corps, SPCA, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Nature Conservancy and smaller literacy, housing and cancer organizations.

Another unique organization is called Baking for Good. They sell "irresistible cookie gifts" that benefit the charity of your choice.

Of course, the World Wildlife Fund has all those cute little stuffed animals that you can adopt and give as gifts. Through Heifer International you can give the gift of chicks, goats, sheep and the like to families in struggling countries. And, St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital has lots of unique gifts for kids.

Selecting an item that benefits a worthy cause shows a heightened level of thoughtfulness and compassion. Your recipient is sure to be pleased with the gift and the charity selected will undoubtedly be grateful for the support.

Happy 2012 giving!

Addendum: Right after I posted this, I received a tip from The Hunger Site about fair trade gifts.  You can also link to stores benefiting breast cancer, animals, veterans, autism, child health, literacy and the rain forest!  Cute stuff, too!