Friday, December 25, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Feel Good Friday!

If you're reading this today, thank you! This holiday is unlike any Christmas we've had before so you might be in need of some new and different ways to spend your time today. Me too. 

Check out the articles below for ideas and let me know what you decide to do! 

First, from Oprah Magazine, "How to Spend Christmas Alone and Still Make It Merry Without Family". Recommendations include: reading that book that's been on your list, do-it-yourself spa treatments, making a dish you enjoyed as a child and using this time to compile old holiday photos into a collage. Read the article: here

Next, from Delish, "20 Fun Ways to Safely Celebrate Christmas at Home This Year". Ideas here include: wearing matching pajamas with your family or roommates, Christmas movie marathon, creating your own ornaments and video chatting with Santa! Apparently, even he's learned how to zoom this year. Read the article: here.

My plan is video chats with friends and family, making lasagna and a Christmas movie. Do you think Wonder Woman 1984 counts? However you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful time and thank you for following Feel Good Friday.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Operation Christmas Spirit

With Christmas only one week away, today’s Feel Good Friday blog is all about spreading the Christmas spirit with… Operation Christmas Spirit


It’s starts with Operation Help a Hero, a non-profit dedicated to the well-being and care of American military members and their families. One of their signature programs is Operation Christmas Spirit (OCS).


Now in its 17th year, OCS supports military families with holiday gratitude. This can take many forms including, “family "adoptions," single service member gifts, unit Christmas party support, volunteer opportunities, and toy collections for children of service members.”


The most important piece of this program is the family adoptions. In mid-November, families are vetted through unit nominations and/or applications for Christmas assistance. Once approved, they fill out a family wish list which is shared with the donors they are paired with. Gifts can be mailed, or collected at drive through pick up events, created for these socially distant times. 

The focus is on families living in Southern California, the DC Metro Area, North Carolina, San Antonio, Colorado and ​Tampa. A note on the website indicates that as of December 5th, all the original families for this year have been adopted and the volunteers at OCS are now working their way through the waiting list and requesting online donations and gift cards. 

If you’ve got a soft spot in your heart for all the single service members, who often get called to serve on Christmas so families can be together, you can support them too. OCS delivers surprise gift packages to those on duty on and around Christmas. No wish list to follow, anything you buy will be a surprise and a delight. 


Other ways to get involved include hosting a toy drive or gift card collection. While toys are great for the kids, often families prefer gift cards they can use to buy gas, groceries, clothing and household goods. You can also volunteer or make a straight up donation and let the volunteers at OCS do the shopping for you.


Help spread the word of the good work being done by the volunteers at Operation Christmas Spirit by following Operation Help a Hero on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @OHHVolunteer.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Toys for Tots

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, heads up… it’s in two weeks! That’s why today’s Feel Good Friday organization is Toys for Tots. 

Toys for Tots (TFT) is an organization run by the Marines with the mission to “collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas.” You can request a toy at this link.


It began in 1947 as the brainchild of Diane Hendricks. When her Marine Corps husband couldn’t find an appropriate charity where he could donate dolls she had made, she told him to start one. That year, Maj Hendricks and the Marines in his reserve unit in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys! The program was so successful, the Marines made it a national community action program in 1948.


To handle the growing demand, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was established in 1991 to help run and support the program. The Foundation raises funds, purchases toys, provides promotional and support materials, manages all funds raised and donated, solicits corporate support, educates the public, and handles day-to-day operations for nearly 800 local TFT Coordinators and a network of 40,000 volunteers. On an annual basis, TFT distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million children – 584 million toys to date!


Every toy tells a story, from the young men who received toys when they were tots and have now grown up and enlisted in the Marine Corps to the mother whose participation in the program put her on a path that led to a getting a job and buying a house. You can read about their stories and many more here.


If you want to help out Toys for Tots, you can get involved with your local campaigndonate cash or use the virtual toybox feature to donate a toy. You can also spread the word on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @ToysForTots_USA


Bonus fun fact for reading the entire blog: the miniature three-car train logo was designed in 1947 by Walt Disney!

Friday, December 4, 2020

Feel Good Friday - San Francisco Animal Care & Control

Well, hello. I skipped last week’s post (accidentally) because I got very involved in Zoom Thanksgiving AND adopting kittens! Today’s Feel Good Friday is dedicated to the agency that put us together, San Francisco Animal Care & Control.

Established in 1989, after taking over the contract from the SFSPCA, San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SFACC) is “San Francisco’s only open-door animal shelter that accepts any animal – in any condition – of any temperament. SFACC is responsible for the City’s stray, injured, abandoned, neglected and mistreated animals – of all species – and wildlife.”

When SFACC says any animal, they mean it. Cats and dogs, of course, but also farm animals, exotic pets and less traditional domesticated animals like rats, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, chinchillas, reptiles, and pigeons. Many of these animals are available for adoption. If you’re looking for a pet, you can see your options using this link. Because of COVID, you aren’t allowed in the shelter and will meet your potential new housemates via Zoom. I was dubious but it works well, and it is very 2020. You can also turn to the SFACC website to check the lost and found for animals, learn about behavior training or find out what to do if you encounter a coyote.

Once you own a pet (not a coyote), SFACC can help you with licenses and permits, microchips and vaccines, spay/neuter services and, if needed, lost and found and humane euthanasia. On that note, while animals that are too injured or sick to survive are euthanized, SFACC saves a very high percentage of the animals that come through its doors: ~85% (compared with a 35% national average). 

Animal rescue services are provided by animal control officers who also investigate cruelty, neglect, and aggressive animals in SF communities. If you have access to the Discovery Channel, you can see them in action on a show called “Animal Cops San Francisco”!

Love what you read about SFACC and want to know how to help? If you live in the Bay Area, you can sign up to foster animalsadopt animals, or volunteer. No matter where you live, you make a donation, and amplify their work by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @SFACC.

Perhaps it was the fact I picked them up during the Thanksgiving weekend, but I’m very grateful to SFACC for bringing these two kittens into my life. Feel Good Every Day!