“Tis the season for charity events. Have notices for 5 sitting in my inbox,” tweeted @chefgwen on September 14, 2011.
I wondered how she chooses the organizations she supports and I (@freemcauley) commented, “I wish we would be charitable year round…So tell me, how do you choose the event you will attend/participate?”
@chefgwen Some of us are. I choose based on my passions: culinary arts (including addressing hunger) & welfare of animals. How about you?
@freemcauley I choose my events & causes by passions. It’s interesting how my passions have evolved. Maybe that’s today’s blog post…
@chefgwen that’s a great idea!
When I was growing up our family supported local businesses and local charities. I still do. Chef Gwen made me think about the causes I have supported over the years. As an adult I am reflecting on how I choose the organizations and causes I support.
“Look at all this leftover food. Are there still starving children in Europe?”
– Marjorie Houseman, Dirty Dancing
As a child in a church going Catholic family, we had our children’s offering envelopes. My brothers and I would put a quarter or two in and drop it in the offering basket. One morning a week our Catholic school class would celebrate mass. Whether Sunday or weekday I remember bringing canned good for the hungry.
As I got older I supported hunger and homelessness issues including Habitat for Humanity. I became an Economics major in college and was a super star in economic development classes. I even wrote a 25-page paper on homelessness in America for an independent study. My junior year of college my face was plastered all over campus on a PIRG poster for hunger and homelessness. That same year my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
My mother being sick shifted my focus from hunger and homelessness to breast cancer research and awareness. In 1995, just after my college graduation, my mother passed away. I was a motherless daughter in fear of suffering my mother’s fate.
In 2004 I was living in Arizona and heard an ad on the radio for the Komen Breast cancer 3-Day Walk, “…60 miles in three days…” I was already in the best shape of my life and I needed to do something to honor my mother. I registered and sent email campaigns to friends and family. Each walker was required to raise $1900 and I raised more than twice that amount. I even helped teammates reach their goal with my donations. My mother would have been proud.
In 2005 I walked again and expanded my team of three walkers to 10 walkers and two crew members. Crew worked the event serving food, moving tents and luggage and other tasks of our mini-city. We raised $15,000 or more in those two years for breast cancer research and awareness. In 2007 my team and I participated on the Gear & Tent Crew and took our ‘show’ on the road in 2008. We went to Boston and participated on the G&T Crew.
By this time I was tired of walking and schlepping gear and officially retired from the 3-Day. In 2009, I captained my company’s Race for the Cure Phoenix event raising more than $1000 as a team for the event. There is no minimum requirement so we exceeded everyone’s expectations, including my own. In 2010 I was a co-captain for my company’s Race for the Cure which is in October.
At the end of August 2010 I was laid off. I gave the f-you to the company who had laid me off and walked with my team. It was surreal and fantastic all at once.
My passion turned to (and still is) Career Connectors. They connect real people to real careers and are a local organization. As a result of blogging their events and networking I decided to be a freelance writer.
As a woman in business it is always great to meet other business owners. I passionately support the mission, vision and values of the SEVEN networking group for women, Supporting & Empowering the Vision of Entrepreneurial Networking.
My advice (and probably Chef Gwen’s too) is to support causes and organizations for which you have passion. It is there that we do our greatest work.
McAuley Freelance Writing was recently featured in the Arizona Republic story of Renewal and Reinvention. We provide freelance writing services and social media management for small businesses. We create and deliver high quality products and service because your business is our business. Contact Anne McAuley at 480-206-6452, [email protected] and visit our website www.mcauleyfreelancewriting.com.