Wal-Mart Throwing Away Ripe Produce

Ripe produce being thrown away

Wasted food irks me, a lot.  Not just because I enjoy eating and am equally tight about spending money, but because it’s just downright wasteful on so many levels.  From time to grow, fuel to harvest and transport to market, merchandising and selling at the store, when food is thrown out it costs a lot of people in a supply chain a lot of money.  A recent late night trip opened my eyes to what I’ve only heard about and seen on TV. Continue reading »

CUTDROP.COM Relaunches as a Chairty-Aimed POP-UP Shop

cutdropOnline apparel store Cutdrop.com switches gears to become a virtual pop-up shop with a charity twist.

Beginning on October 19, 2009, Cutdrop.com will exclusively host one clothing or accessories brand each week. In that span of time, the site will offer items at a discount price and donate a portion of the profits to the charity of the brand’s choice. Cutdrop.com will also work with the individual brands, their respective charities and over 300 of the site’s online affiliates on marketing initiatives for the duration of the week. Continue reading »

10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media

This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell‘s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.

summerofsocialgoodnew

Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends

twitter-links

Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.

You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.

Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.

You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube)
The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)
LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)
WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs

change-wwf

Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.

It’s important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they’re another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you’ll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and Idealist.org, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.

For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out HelpInDisaster.org, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out DoSomething.org, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.

Mashable’s Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that’s important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.

Be sure to check out Mashable’s guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like 12seconds.tv, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.

Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac — the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.

If you’re more into watching videos than recording them, Givzy.com enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition

twitition

There aren’t many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or PetitionOnline.com, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.

Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized “tweet-a-thon” like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.

In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew’s Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew’s cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.

Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to VPS.net

vpsnet logoA special thanks to VPS.net, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week.

Sign up at VPS.net and use the coupon code “SOSG”to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. VPS.net honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there’s no risk.

About the “10 Ways” Series

The “10 Ways” Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.

This content was originally written by Mashable’s Josh Catone.

53% of the Way to My Livestrong Challenge Philadelphia 2009 Goal

livestrong-challenge1Way back in January I signed up for the Livestrong Challenge Philadelphia 2009 100 mile bike ride. My goal is to reach $1,000 in donations on my behalf before the ride, ideally exceeding it. Training has been going really well, pounding out miles with friends after work and on weekends and I’m happy to say that $533 has been raised so far, just over half of my intial goal.

With roughly six weeks left before the ride, I still want to meet the goal. I’m not at all nervous about spending 6+ hours in a saddle or the 4,300 or so verical feet of climbing. I am nervous about not meeting my goal, as cancer has affected so many people I care about and I will be letting myself down knowing there was more I could have done.

Roughly 300 of you subscribe to the RSS feed here at Randomn3ss, thank you. If each one of you donated only $5, that would put at more than double my initial goal of $1,000. Additionally, about 500 people a day visit the site, if each of you donated just $5, the goal would be crushed. Furthermore, 401 people follow me on twitter, 256 friends on Facebook and 1,883 friends on MySpace, if everyone donated just $5 the money raised would be astronomical.

Whether you know me personally or not, I’m sure you know someone that’s been affected by Cancer. I’m not asking for hand-outs on my behalf, I’m asking you to donate a tax deductible five bucks on behalf of cancer research to help fight and find a cure for the millions of people who have died, suffered and are suffering from Cancer, and their family and friends who suffer along side.

Make the donation using a credit card here: http://philly09.livestrong.org/mikepanic

I’ve been training for months to do this ride, all I’m asking for is your support, well wishes and as little as $5. I would also really appreciate it if you could forward this article along to friends and family, post it on your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or whatever other social media sites you use, all the icons to do so are at the bottom.

Learn more about cancer here. Wikipedia on cancer. Wikipedia on Lance Armstrong. Official Livestrong site.

20% Towards the Livestrong Challenge goal!

Just over one month ago I signed up for the Livestrong Challenge 2009 to ride 100 miles on my bicycle to help fight and find a cure for cancer.  I’m happy to report that with the help of friends, family and strangers 20% of the $1,000 goal I’ve set has been reached!  With the event still six months away, the goal should well be exceeded.

Thank you to everyone who has donated and supported me for this great cause.  Please consider making a donation on my behalf at http://philly09.livestrong.org/mikepanic.

Livestrong Challenge Philadelphia 2009

With the bulk of my weight loss behind me and the success of the National MS Society City to Shore Ride I trained for, raised $825 for and completed last fall coupled with the happiness I feel inside due to meeting several more goals, I started to look for another charity ride to take part in this year.  After searching around I was beyond happy to find out that a Livestrong Challenge was taking place in Philadelphia on August 23, 2009.  This year, i will be more than doubling the miles in comparison to the MS ride, taking on the longest ride the Challenge has to offer, 100 miles.

The Livestrong Challenge is a series in several cities spearheaded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  This charity specifically appealed to me because I’ve seen too many of my close friends lose their parents to cancer, and while a few have survived, they all should have.  Beyond the physical pain they feel, it rips an emotional pain through their families and friends that lasts a lifetime.  A cure needs to be found.

My goal for this ride is to raise $1,000, I need your help to do this.  Please make a tax deductible donation on my behalf at: http://philly09.livestrong.org/mikepanic, even $5 will help, so skip Starbucks for a day and donate to an amazing charity and help me raise more than my goal.  If this money means it will help find a cure for cancer, I’ll ride 100 miles a day, every day.

This ride will be dedicated to:

  • The Kastelnik Family
  • The Pail Family
  • The Landis Family
  • The Cieri Family
  • The Torpe Family

And all those who have suffered from, lost, loved or known someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.

As with last years event, I will be making progress posts on how my training is going along, since the longest ride I’ve done to date is 55 miles, I’ve got a lot of work ahead.  I honestly hope to smash the $1,000 goal in donations too, so that information will be updated on a regular basis too.

Learn more about cancer here.  Wikipedia on cancer. Wikipedia on Lance Armstrong. Official Livestrong site.

To make a tax deductible donation on my behalf: http://philly09.livestrong.org/mikepanic

Please use the social bookmark / network / email options below to share this article on your Facebook / Myspace / Twitter / and email to friends and family.  The more people that are made aware, the better.

Ten Inches

On December 23, 2008, I lost 10 inches of myself.

Three years ago, my doctor diagnosed me with HPV.  I felt dirty, ruined.  That was before I learned that the disease affects over 20 million people in the U.S. alone.  In fact, 50% of sexually active people will contract HPV sometime in their life.

My form of HPV doesn’t lead to gential warts (SWEET!).  But, of course, I have the kind that gives you cancer.  The CDC classifies me as one of the 10% of women who “will develop long-lasting HPV infections that put them at risk for cervical cancer.”  That part sucks.

Luckily, my cancer scare was short-lived and treatable.  I had outpatient surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells from my cervix and get checked out about every two months to make sure that my cells aren’t mutating.  I thank my higher power every day that I got through that time relatively unscathed.  But I also pledged to try to make a difference for those who weren’t so lucky.

It seems silly, but I decided that donating my hair to Locks of Love could make a difference.  Over the next three years, I let my curly, thick hair grow down to my breasts.  It became my security blanket and my signature (as well as my scarf when it got cold).  People – sometimes random strangers – made comments about how gorgeous it was.  I felt confident, beautiful, and feminine.

But after three years, it was time (and finally long enough!) to let go.  I remembered my own fears and knew that they were nothing compared to those of a child dealing with a cancer diagnosis.  I decided to do it; the hair had to go.  I didn’t feel a sense of loss, but of freedom.  I felt like the last three years had been removed, like I had a new lease on life.  I also felt like someone else would get to experience freedom and beauty with a wig made from my hair.  There was no tax writeoffs, no public admiration, none of that.  I won’t even know who gets my hair.  I did something for myself and someone else and feel amazing.

If you fall into the qualifications for Locks of Love, I recommend donating.  If not for yourself, then just for helping someone else.  Hopefully, I’ll never need a wig and will be able to keep my own health issues at bay.  For now, I have a huge weight off my shoulders and I’ve never felt more free.

Philly Music Update!!

Hey all! Just because I moved from the Illadelph doesn’t mean I quit supporting some of the coolest and most talented motherfuckers around!!  See below for a Ragerienne-certified list of ill shit that you should take note of:

I hear last night’s JAXON’S LOCAL SHOTS VOL. 5 CD RELEASE rocked!!  To get a full list of tracks, hear sample of the bands, and find ordering info, go to WMMR’s LOCAL SHOTS PAGE for details!!

THIS SATURDAY: Knights of the Innocent and WNW Entertainment present “A Knight for the Children.”  Get out, support a good cause, get your face melted off, and say hi to Grizz and Mike for me!

A Knight for the Children

A Knight for the Children

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11: Fuck work Friday!! Get out to Doc Watson’s and catch the debut of my boy RYAN VOX as lead singer of metal band PRIMARY DRIVE!  This kid’s got passion for music pumping through his veins… AND a hotttt girlfriend who lives and breathes this scene, so GET OUT and show some love!!

Dec 11, Doc Watson's, 11th & Walnut!

And… PLAN AHEAD AND GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!!  What better xmas present than the GIFT OF ROCK??  Come out to the downstairs at WORLD CAFE LIVE and see local favorites JEALOUSY CURVE, IKE, and THE CAULFIELDS!!  DECEMBER 26!  I have my tickets… do you??  Get them at IKEonline!

Jaxon's 2nd Annual Mistletoe Jam!

And if you aren’t in the Philly area and can’t get out to any shows and miss it, check out the newest VIDEO release from perpetual Philly faves, FAT CITY REPRISE!!  Their video for “Long Gone” (rumored to be Mole Daddy’s favorite song) is SICK.  Directed by Cesar Kuriyama and director of photography Tommy Agriodimas, the video was comprised of over 45,000 photographs WITHOUT the use of film technology.  It’s pretty badass and it has a hot chick in it… what more could you want?  Show them some love at their MySpace page.

One Laptop per Child XO computers BOGO again

Last year the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) campaign offered a buy one to be donated, get one laptop deal. They are doing it again this year and offering the same deal.  For $399 you get yourself a sprite little lappy and one goes to a third world country.  Some more on the laptops and the program:

What is the XO Laptop?
The XO is an impactful learning tool designed and built especially for children in developing countries, living in some of the most remote environments. As such, it has several features you won’t find on any other laptop.

For starters, it’s about the size of a small textbook and made with a rugged plastic exterior. It has built-in wireless and a unique screen that works in full color or black and white to make it readable under direct sunlight for children who go to school outdoors. And finally it’s ultra-low power using only about 4 watts of power (most laptops use about 60 watts). This means, when there’s no electricity, it can be recharged with alternate power sources like solar power.

Why Give a Laptop?
Why give a laptop to a child who has no running water? If you replace the word “laptop” with “education” the answer becomes clear. You don’t wait to educate until all other challenges are resolved. You educate at the same time because it’s such an important part of all the other solutions.

The Children
Currently, there are XO laptops in over 30 countries from Peru to Rwanda, and everywhere it goes, the results are the same. The laptops help children build on their active interest in the world around them to engage with powerful ideas. When the laptops arrive school attendance goes up, teachers download lesson plans from the web and kids begin teaching each other how to use the machine. With the XO, kids actually learn how to learn.

The One Laptop Per Child Organization
Founded in 2005 by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte, One Laptop Per Child has a simple mission: to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each and every one with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, creative, self-empowered learning.

By giving a laptop, you are helping bring education to children in some of the world’s most remote areas.

You are connecting them to each other. To us. To hope. And to a better future.

Just as last year, if you live in the US you can claim half of the money back as a donation when you fill out your taxes.  Get more info and buy one here.

OLPC official site

Blog Action Day: Poverty in Photos

As a photographer, still images mean a lot to me and I feel that they leave the most lasting impressions burned into our brains. For Blog Action Day 2008, I’ve decided to scour Flickr for the term Poverty and share with you some of the most moving photos that I’ve found.

Poverty + Telephoto = Outsider. Photo by: pilya

National Poverty Hearing: Oliver Letwin MP. Photo by: coopernaill

Homeless in Sugamo 2. Photo by: jamesfischer

Homeless woman with dogs. Photo by: Franco Folini

Homeless sleeping on the sidewalk. Photo by: Franco Folini

Luck Turned Its Back On Me. Photo by: kindgott

child in slum alley. Photo by: angela7dreams

Hardship in the streets of Varanasi (India). Photo by: Ahron de Leeuw

Edinburgh – make poverty history 3. Photo by: michael gallacher

Telling UN Climate Change Conference delegates to Fight Climate Poverty. Photo by: oxfam international

End Poverty to Stop Crime. Photo by: Editor B

more poverty. Photo by: ImNotQuiteJack

Make Poverty History whistle. Photo by: Daveybot

End poverty. Photo by: greefus groinks

Race for Poverty. Photo by: seastoxfam

India: 2006 – 2007. Photo by: Shayan (USA)

sleeping in varanasi. Photo by: MALi Photography

Street Shower. Photo by: Tierecke

work starts early.  Photo by youngsixsta

Mr Tavaud Teii, Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu at the Graph of Injustice.  Photo by: oxfam international

Buttons Design Contest.  Photo by: diegooriani

A portion of Kibera from the air. Over a million working poor reside in the Kibera.  Photo by Chrissy Olson

France’s Poverty.  Photo by: (((((i))))) (((((see))))) (((((you)))))

Poverty_Rangers_by_JonnyStarwind.  Photo by: afreytes

Links are provided to all of these amazing photographers Flickr pages, please check them out. To help end global poverty it will take an effort given by all. Get involved with one of the following organizations and help make a difference.

Learn more at the Institute for Research on Poverty

Read how Barack Obama and Joe Biden plan to combat poverty