Last week I received my first “Holiday Gift Guide” alert (insert shocked emoji here) and began thinking about how easy it is, especially now, to focus on our own needs and what we “want”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and am looking forward to the cheer that surrounds the end of the year (especially 2020!) but I will try extra hard this holiday season to take time to think about those less fortunate. To that end, I have put together a list of charities that we at Purelix Wellness support and believe in.
Purple Leash Project
Pets are valued members of our families and, during times of trouble, are invaluable sources of comfort and support. Did you know that, according to domestic violence statistics in America, an estimated one in three women and one in four men experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetimes but only as few as 10% of domestic violence shelters accept pets. In addition, over 70% of women in domestic violence shelters report their abuser threatened, injured or killed a pet as a method of control. As a result, nearly half of victims choose to stay in abusive situations rather than leave their pet behind.
The Purple Leash Project began nearly seven years ago as the brainchild of Purina associates in response to concern about the difficult decisions many domestic violence survivors with pets are forced to make. Since that time, Purina and The Purple Leash Project have helped one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. on its journey to become a leading voice and shining example of pet-friendly sheltering. They also helped promote the PAWS Act Coalition in support of the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which helps domestic abuse victims and their pets by advocating for federal resources dedicated to this cause.
Together with Red Rover and other allies, they advocate for change and serve the needs of survivors and their pets by awarding grants to help domestic violence shelters become pet-friendly. The goal of this charity is for 25% of U.S. domestic violence shelters to become pet-friendly by the end of 2025. As of August 2020 all but 4 states out of the 50 had at least one pet-friendly shelter and the Purple Leash Project had awarded grants to nine domestic violence shelters throughout the country to help them make the transition to welcoming pets. Click here to learn more about the Purple Leash Project.
This was the very first charity I consistently donated to and, over the years, I’ve been proud to be a very small part of the work they do. Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Many children with untreated clefts around the world live in isolation, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Cleft treatment is safe, and the impact on the child is immediate: just look at the smiles of these beautiful children (and one special adult) post-surgery! Seeing the flaws in mission-based models, Smile Train was the first cleft-focused organization with a model of true sustainability – providing training, funding, and resources to empower local medical professionals in 90+ countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. And through their sustainable “teach a man to fish” model, Smile Train is not only raising the standard of cleft care and safety – they’re setting it. The support they provide has elevated the standards of care for cleft patients at their partner hospitals around the world, ultimately elevating the standards of care for all patients. As a result of their efficiency, and with the help of donors and partners, Smile Train has supported safe and quality cleft care for 1.5+ million children. Check out these stats!
- 2,100+ empowered medical professionals
- 1,500,000+ Smile Train-supported cleft surgeries since 1999
- 1,100+ partner hospitals
- 30,000+ Smile Train-supported cleft training opportunities
- 90+ countries where Smile Train has helped children
- Every 5 minutes Smile Train-supported cleft treatment helps a child in need
Here are all the ways you can give to Smile Train.
This organization holds a special place in my heart. Two beautiful children I am lucky enough to count as family were born in, and adopted from, Ethiopia and my children and I sponsor a family through Lelt as a way of giving back all we’ve received from these two absolute gifts. Many neighborhoods in central Ethiopia are plagued by acute poverty and these conditions obviously present immense challenges to families. Nutrition-related illnesses, illiteracy, and lack of employment opportunities hold Ethiopians back from reaching their full potential. Lelt Foundation’s mission focuses on NUTRITION, EDUCATION and JOB CREATION by providing efficient, ethical aid while preventing dependency-based assistance. They offer balanced daily meals and food rations to struggling families and, once well-fed and healthy, focus on providing children an advanced educational experience. Lelt also offers parents in families education classes and job training seminars, empowering them to become financially independent and sustainable. My son was able to personally communicate through written letters with the boy in the family we sponsor (he wrote in Ethiopian with the help of Google!) so this experience has been so rewarding that we scheduled a trip to Ethiopia for this past June. Although COVID put our trip on pause, we can’t wait to go next year to continue our life-long commitment to helping the people in this beautiful country. To read bios of and see photos of these sweet children who are waiting for their sponsors (maybe that’s you?) visit this page.
Be Like Brit
We all remember the horrific photos that came out of Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that devastated that country. On that day before the earthquake hit, American Britney Gengel, a 19 year old student at Lynn University, witnessed the extreme poverty and, overwhelmed by compassion, sent her parents the following text
“They love us so much and everyone is so happy. They love what they have and they work so hard to get nowhere, yet they are all so appreciative. I want to move here and start an orphanage myself.”
Shortly after sending that message, the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck, killing an estimated 300,000 people, including Britney. Her family could not let her die in vain. Inspired by her memory and dream they started the Be Like Brit foundation and, over the the course of two years, a 19,000 square foot earthquake-proof, non-adoptive orphanage was built in Grand Goave, Haiti — the town where Brit was supposed to travel to the day after the earthquake. Their mission is to “raise the next generation of leaders in Haiti” and their commitment is to continue the compassion of Britney “by serving the children of Haiti through sustaining a safe, nurturing home rooted in the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love while developing a sense of social responsibility, community involvement and unconditional love.” Today they have 33 girls and 33 boys, most either true orphans or coming from unspeakable conditions, living and thriving at Brit’s Home. The number 33 is symbolic of the 33 days Brit was missing in the rubble at The Hotel Montana. I have friends from college who travel often as Britsionariesto Haiti with Be Like Brit as they offer opportunities to join short-term, long-term and medical mission trips. Click here to find out about the many ways you can support Be Like Brit and help continue her legacy.
Purelix Wellness is a Disabled Veteran Owned business so we always promote and donate to charities that give back to those who have served our country. In addition, our love of dogs makes this charity a particular favorite. Patriot Paws’ mission is to train and provide highly trained service dogs at no cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence. They work diligently to build partnerships with state and community organizations to help develop and support this goal and depend on partner organizations to help train their service animals using the highest standards.
In 2008, Patriot Paws entered into an innovative partnership with a service dog training program inside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). As of 2020, three TDCJ facilities participate in this program including the Lane Murray and Crain Women’s Correctional Units located in Gatesville, Texas and the Boyd Men’s Correctional Unit in Fairfield, Texas. This partnership not only helps Patriot Paws train more service dogs for disabled veterans but also creates career opportunities for inmates after their release and provides a way for them to give back to the community during their incarceration. The Patriot Paws/TDCJ partnership has reportedly exceeded expectations and is widely considered to be one of the most successful programs of its type in the US.
Patriot Paws of Aggieland is a satellite program that is powered by the teamwork between trainers and the students at Texas A&M. The “Aggies” work closely with Patriot Paws to assist in the socialization, training, and overall raising of service dogs to aid disabled veterans and formally became a recognized student organization in 2013.
In addition to monetary donations in support of these partnerships Patriot Paws is always looking for individuals to act as full-time “puppy raisers”. Young service-animals-in-training live with their foster families/trainers who help prepare these animals for their very important jobs. It’s a rewarding experience for all involved and carries a great responsibility as the dogs undergo training in their foster homes for an extended period of time. Once they are properly trained they travel on to their lives as best friends and service animals to a deserving veteran. Interested in becoming a puppy raiser or volunteering in another way? Here is how you can help.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about all of these worthy organizations and their missions. What are some charities YOU love?