My family and I are enjoying this holiday season, even if we are celebrating a little differently this year: our grandkids are visiting with Santa via Zoom, we’ll be doing Christmas Eve service remotely, and instead of scouring the stores for presents I’m ordering almost everything online. Since this Christmas will (like everything else in 2020) be unusual, we’re adding a few new activities like drive-through light displays and a socially-distanced neighborhood parade.
But as much as I concentrate on looking at the bright side – a cozy Christmas at home isn’t so terrible and the imminent coronavirus vaccine means life will get back to normal sooner or later – I realize that, for many, the past few months have done more than upset their social calendar.
I’ve shared a few photos of our holiday decorations on Instagram and then felt guilty at the thought that while I’m obsessing over the lights on my fireplace mantle, quite a few of my Pittsburgh neighbors are struggling to pay their rent or put food on the table. Rather than just feel badly, we’ve decided to donate to some charities here in the Steel City that are working to bring holiday cheer and a helping hand to people who have been severely impacted by the pandemic, especially those in the hospitality industry.
This year, we’re skipping the partridges and lords a leaping and doing Twelve Days of Christmas donations. Each day, we’re planning to donate to one of the organizations listed below and I’ll highlight them in my Instagram stories. Where possible, I’ll include a donation button so anyone who views it can easily help out as well. (It’s also possible to donate from this blog by clicking on the links below. All of the organizations have online donation options on their websites.) This would have a lot more impact if I had thousands of followers, but I’m hopeful that a “real” influencer might see it and do something similar.
Here are the organizations we’ve chosen:
Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid https://pghrestaurantworkersaid.org
Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank http://www.pittsburghfoodbank.org
United Methodist Church Union http://www.churchunion.org
Dollar Energy http://www.dollarenergy.org
Light of Life http://www.lightoflife.org
Northside Common Ministries http://www.ncmin.org
North Hills Community Outreach http://www.nhco.org
The Salvation Army http://www.salvationarmyusa.org
412 Food Rescue http://www.412foodrescue.org
South Hills Interfaith Movement http://www.shimcares.org
You don’t have to be a math whiz to realize that there are only ten charities listed for the Twelve Days of Christmas. That’s because I came up with the theme before we researched the organizations and well, honestly, I can’t come up with another one I like as much. (The Ten Days of Winter Solstice? It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.) Rather than tack another two charities on the list, we’ve decided to stick with these ten because we feel confident that they will make the most difference here in Pittsburgh.
Starting Friday, December 11, we’ll highlight one charity per day for ten days on Instagram and then repeat Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid and the Pittsburgh Foodbank for days 11 and 12.
If you are aware of any other organizations that are making a difference this holiday season, please share them in the comments. Thank you!
(Also, for those of you who were expecting this blog post to be about chalk painting, that’s next. I promise!)