How you can help others by selling your stuff

Garage sale season is gearing up. And if your neighborhoods are like the ones where I live, then it’s only a matter of weeks before garage sale season reaches its peak. Once school is out, it seems everybody and their neighbor takes the opportunity to declutter and make a little cash.

If you’re considering having a garage sale this year, let me offer you an opportunity through Help One Now to declutter AND help fund projects in Haiti and Uganda.

The details and resources are here, and you can read stories of how other people have hosted their sales.

Like this 7-year-old boy who wanted orphans in Haiti to have Christmas. So his family helped him organize a sale in November that raises $1,400.

Or this woman who decided she might not be able to do much but compared to what she was doing, she could do a whole lot more.

Here’s what’s true: We, Americans, have way too much stuff.

Just look at these statistics from the Self-Storage Association:

  • There are now approximately 49,940 “primary” self storage facilities in the United States as of year end 2011.
  • One in 10 US households (HH), or 10% (10.8 million of the 113.3 million US HH in 2011) currently rent a self storage unit; that has increased from 1 in 17 US HHs (6%) in 1995 – or an increase of approximately 65 percent in the last 15 years.
  • There is 7.3 sq.ft. of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation; thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand – all at the same time – under the total canopy of self storage roofing.
  • The self storage industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the period of the last 35 years.

We have “houses” for our stuff, and worldwide, there are people who don’t have houses for themselves.

We can do better, can’t we?

So, if you’re planning a garage sale this summer, make it a win-win for you and global poverty by donating your garage sale earnings to one of Help One Now’s projects.

This site makes it easy to plan. So, grab some stuff, grab some friends and make a difference!


When you can’t forget a face: DVD Review of Mother India

Global poverty is easy to ignore.

Until you learn its names and faces.

mother indiaMother India, a documentary releasing today, does just that, introducing viewers to a “family” of 25 orphans living near a train station in India. Filmmakers David Trotter and Shawn Scheinoha traveled to India for two weeks last year seeking to tell the story of life as an orphan in a country where an estimated 31 million children are considered orphans.

“Each of these young lives is much more than a statistic,” Trotter said. “Every one of them has a name, a face and a story.”

That’s what I found valuable about this documentary–the personalization of poverty. Because as Scheinoha added, “The bottom line is statistics go in one ear and out the other. People need to hear stories and see the reality of what it looks like for millions of Indian children who are orphaned.”

When you hear one girl describe how she was tricked into having sex for money, and you see the tears she sheds over her rescue, you can’t ignore the plight of the poor and orphaned.

When you listen as another girl describes how she lost two of her fingers because of her boyfriend’s jealousy, and how she still grieves the loss of a baby–“I cut myself when I remember him”–you can’t go back to the way things were.

These kids, whose experiences have aged them beyond their years, are escaping the daily pain through drug use, sharing needles and dying of HIV and AIDS. They barely “earn” enough money begging and washing the floor of the train to eat each day.

Take a look at the trailer for a preview of the film.

Sometimes, the scenes are too much, and I want to forget.

But how can you look away when you’ve seen too much?

The filmmakers found themselves faced with this question. Their intent was to document. But when they got to know the youngest members of this group–a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old, siblings–they asked what else they could do.

Mother India is a sobering reminder of how extreme poverty is in many parts of the world. It is also a call to action to provide help for India’s orphans.

This is no pleasure film, but it is worth your time (less than an hour). And it will melt your heart.

For more information, visit


Word Films, distributor of Mother India, is offering a copy to you. Leave a comment on this blog between now and noon (Eastern) Friday, April 26 for a chance to win. I will pick a winner using and Word will send a copy of the DVD to the winner.


In exchange for my review, I received a free copy of the Mother India DVD.

Anthem Thursday: Oh My God

I came home one night and my husband was listening to a Jars of Clay album on Spotify. This song is on it, and it’s one of my favorites because it helps me express what I feel about suffering and injustice.

“Oh My God” is such an overused phrase these days, especially when shortened to OMG. There are valid times to say “Oh My God.” The song gives us plenty of examples.

Enough from me.