Find Out Which Organizations Are Handling the Grab-and-Go Lunch Program at Your Local Public Schools, and Donate to Them

Re-running this post, which first appeared in March 2020, because COVID-19 lockdowns are still A Thing, and many of these programs have transitioned to a reduced summer schedule. For too many kids, programs such as these are their only reliable source of food when school is closed. 


Find out which organizations are handling the grab-and-go lunch program at your local public schools, and give them money.


The spread of Covid-19 is pitilessly exposing all the frayed links in our social safety net. One obstacle to shutting down public school systems is the fact that for a significant minority of children, their only reliable source of meals is their school cafeteria.


Grab-and-go lunch programs have sparked into being to serve this need by opening the school daily only to those who need meals.


We’re asking you to call around, find out which organizations are responsible for running the grab-and-go programs, and donate to their efforts.


If you have a kid in school, try emailing the school’s administrative office or asking about it on your school’s Facebook page.


Alternately, you could try calling your local school department, or your local food bank. They’ll probably know the answer or know who else you can check with.


Another thing to think about for the near future is supporting school-based feeding programs during the summer. We wrote about this before, and deadlines for food donations and for offering a specific venue as a feeding site start arriving this month and next.


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Believe It: You Matter, Part XXII; Don’t Go to Sleep

Believe It: You Matter, Part Now; Don’t Go to Sleep.


Sarah Jane here. I write all the Believe It: You Matter entries. I can’t remember what Roman numeral we’re on, so I made one up.


I’m drafting this in late June 2020, probably to go live in July. It looks like all of Trump’s faults are finally teaming up to destroy his chance of being re-elected.


Dedicated readers of OTYCD know better than to assume anything. But I have allowed myself half an ounce of hope while sticking rigidly to my efforts to force this feral clown from office.


I feel the need, hell, the urge, to say this now:


If we all succeed, and Joe Biden becomes president, do not go to sleep.


Yes, celebrate. Yes, get some rest. But don’t go to sleep.


Now I can almost hear you saying: “Go to sleep? GO TO SLEEP? WTF, Sarah Jane? I’ve been an insomniac, on and off, since this asshole got elected. I’m not going to sleep! Fuck you for suggesting it.”


OK, fair enough. But let me explain what I mean.


I was a grown woman when Bush the Younger was president. I voted in both those elections, for Gore and then for Kerry.


The W years were fucking exhausting, and, fwiw, they foreshadowed the Trump years, if you ask me. (I am So Not On Board with the weird nostalgia some liberal/left/Dem/resistance folks have expressed for W. No, just, no. But that’s another topic for another day.)


So after eight years of serious and scary norm-breaking, and 9/11 and the laws that were passed in its wake, and banks running amuck and tanking the economy, and STARTING TWO FUCKING WARS, we get Barack Obama. And we keep him for a full eight years.


And too many of us went to sleep during the Obama years. Now, I mean that metaphorically, and I count myself among those who went to sleep. I am just as guilty as the rest of you.


What I mean when I say that I went to sleep is that I kept on top of the news, I watched Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show regularly, and I voted in presidential elections.


I thought I was pretty plugged in, and pretty responsible as a citizen. But I now know I wasn’t doing nearly enough to hold up my end, from a civics standpoint.


When I tell you, “Don’t go to sleep,” I mean don’t forget the lessons you all learned from the Trump years.


Trump will go, but you must not.


“Not going” means continuing the activism you began during the Trump years, and continuing to vote in EVERY ELECTION that affects your community, which means VOTE IN ALL OF THEM, EVERY TIME, WITHOUT FAIL, NO MATTER HOW SMALL AND INCONSEQUENTIAL THEY SEEM, DAMMIT.


I don’t expect or demand that you be as active post-Trump as you’ve been during the Trump years, though that would be great.


I want to be realistic, though. Trump has been fucking exhausting, more so than W ever was, and he’s been so on purpose. Exhausting you with forty gazillion Dumpster fires is part of his strategy, and it’s straight out of the authoritarian’s playbook.


We’re going to be unpacking his evil deeds for decades. His administration is a political version of the TV show Hoarders–so much awful shit that needs to be gone through and dealt with, with so many unfathomable horrors lurking within the stacks, and it seems like there’ll be no end to it.


When Trump goes well and properly, you will feel the need to rest. And hey, you will need some rest. Please plan on getting some.


But with Joe Biden in office–smiley, familiar, good-natured, decent Joe Biden–you’ll be tempted to up and quit your activism, because everything won’t be on fire anymore, and Biden won’t be running around saucing the fires with gasoline, like Trump did.


Rest, but come back. It’s important.


Here’s the thing, y’all–we fucked over President Barack Obama. We did.


When he got in, after eight exhausting years of W and his fuckery, we collapsed in a heap and went to sleep. Metaphorically speaking.


And we slept like Sleeping Beauty. We slept like we were meant to stay asleep until someone gently and lovingly brought us back to civic consciousness.


We can’t afford to do that. We couldn’t afford to do that under President Obama, and we can never afford to do that again, ever.


Because we slept, the Republicans, who are fewer and angrier and have more money, did their damndest to disfigure and warp things in their party’s favor.


They did this in many ways, on many fronts, but mainly by getting their people elected up and down the ballot in non-presidential years.


They took control of state legislatures and governorships. They used that power to gerrymander and purge voters from the rolls and prevent Obama’s judicial nominees from being accepted, by the dozens. They put their collective thumbs on the scale for themselves and their party.


They did this in the open, it just didn’t get screaming headline coverage.


Once they’re in the minority again, they will go back to that playbook.


They are relentless. They are craven. They cannot be shamed. They will do it even though they maneuvered the most corrupt, venal, incompetent, and thoroughly reputation-damaging person into the office of the presidency, and they stayed silent as his sins and outrages piled up.


The damning legacy of the 46th President of the United States will not stop those same Republicans from squawking 24/7 on Twitter and Fox News about the mote in Joe Biden’s eye when they resolutely refused to remove the beam from Trump’s.


They had eight years’ worth of chances to check and balance Trump, including a Senate trial that could have ended in removal.


They had ample time to do what the Founders assumed elected officials would do when faced with a president like Trump.


Instead, they cowered. They ducked. They bobbed and weaved. They sputtered. They muttered. They stayed silent when faced with perversions of law and bold flouting of the principles of the Constitution, no matter how absurd and grotesque they got.


The few who spoke up in defense of Trump were invariably the loudest and most loathsome fringe elements of the GOP, and their defenses ranged from laughable to downright offensive.


Congressional Republicans violated their oaths of office to keep Trump in his.


And when Biden is in office, those same Republicans will act like he’s worse than Trump could ever be. Instantly. Before Biden is inaugurated. Hell, they’ll start doing it in the twilight time between polls closing on Election Day and news organizations formally calling it.


Do not go to sleep. Do not.


Do not fuck over Biden the way we fucked over Obama.


Rest, but come back, and carry on doing what you were doing in the Trump years–just do it on defense, instead of offense this time.


Between now and Tuesday, November 3, 2020, I want you to sit down and work out what you will do–how you will maintain your activism–after Trump is gone.


If he’s re-elected, well, there’s your answer. You keep doing what you’ve been doing, at the rate and the intensity that you’ve been doing it.


If he isn’t, you need to plot some explicit vacation time from activism (you might want to wait until some point in 2021, because if Trump gets booted, he and his minions WILL indulge in rank and flamboyant sabotage during the transition, because that’s just who they are).


You need to choose specific dates for a vacation from activism–an explicit start and end, just as you would when planning a vacation from a job. And your vacation time should be about as long as a vacation you’d take from your main job.


Then figure out what level of activism you want to maintain.


You may not want to carry on as intensely and as all-consumingly as you will in the lead-up to the 2020 Election. That’s perfectly OK.


But you do need to pursue some level of activism post-Trump, and you need to point your brain at the question of what, and when, and how much.


No matter what happens, and no matter how you choose to proceed, you’ve got to stay here and carry on the fight.


No more Merrick Garlands, people. No more. Stay alert and alive.


Come to Joe Biden’s aid early and often and with fierce purpose.


Do. Not. Go. To. Sleep.


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TODAY is the FEC Q2 Deadline. Please Give to Your Favorite Presidential, Senate, and House Candidates Before Midnight

Important! Please donate to your favorite Presidential, House, and Senate candidates before midnight on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Your money is extra-magical today.


Quarterly donation hauls matter to candidates–not just Presidential candidates, but House and Senate candidates, too.


Big donors look at the quarterly numbers and weigh them carefully when considering which candidates to support with their own dollars.


If you need to budget strategically, it’s best to aim to give toward the end of the fiscal quarters.


If you’re already giving monthly and have some to spare, aim to give before midnight on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Your money is extra-magical then.


Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!


Donate To These Bail Funds Across America

This OTYCD entry originally appeared in January 2018.


Donate to these bail funds across America and help poor people gain release from jail to await trial at home.


Being poor is not a crime, but all too often, it seems that way. The justice system can, and too often does, impose bail requirements on arrestees who have no hope of raising the money. They languish in jail, risking their jobs, homes, and families, and taking a space that’s better set aside for a more dangerous individual.


Bail funds help the poor by lending or giving them the money they need to gain their release. A few months back, OTYCD wrote about the Massachusetts Bail Fund, which was swamped with bail requests and almost had to close as a result:



Fortunately, enough donors stepped up to resolve the crisis and place the fund on firmer footing.


On November 28, 2017, Clint Smith III, an author and Harvard Ph.d candidate, tweeted a thread of links to bail funds across the country.


We have collected the information that he tweeted and have reproduced it here. Full credit goes to Smith, who you should follow (@ClintSmithIII).


Giving to bail funds helps poor people from sliding even further into poverty. Your donation allows adults in dire straits to continue to go to work and tend to their families while they wait for their cases to proceed through the justice system.



Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



The Bronx Freedom Fund






The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund






The Chicago Community Bond Fund






Just City Memphis (located in Tennessee)






Louisville Community Bail Fund (located in Kentucky; this is a YouCaring page)




The Massachusetts Bail Fund






The Minnesota Freedom Fund





Northwest Community Bail Fund (located in Seattle)






The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund





The Richmond Community Bail Fund (located in Virginia)






You can also support bail funds that specifically help immigrants and migrants.


The Immigrant Bail Fund (which serves individuals in Connecticut)





Immigrant Family Defense Fund (which serves individuals in California)





Here also is a December 30, 2017 blog post from Prison Culture (@prisonculture) which lists still more bail funds (scroll down for others not listed above):

It’s National #FreeThePeopleDay on New Year’s Eve…


Read, Memorize, and Act on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 10 Ways to Fight Hate

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.


Read, memorize, and act on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s piece, 10 Ways to Fight Hate.


Posted after the events of Charlottesville, the SPLC piece gives you ten things you can do to resist the cultural changes that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are trying to create with the passive, if not sometimes active, help of Trump and his administration.


The full list is:


Join Forces

Support the Victims

Speak Up

Educate Yourself

Create an Alternative

Pressure Leaders

Stay Engaged

Teach Acceptance

Dig Deeper


The most important thing is to act–to do something, to not sit mute in the face of hate. The SPLC put “act” first on the list for a reason. Silence reads as compliance and even approval to those who want to advance hate and intolerance. You have to say or do something when it shows its face to you.


If you are white, it is double-super-extra-mega-important for you to act. People of color and minorities have been carrying the burden of pushing back for too long. It is on white people to wield their privilege like a weapon for dismantling this corrosive bullshit.


You cannot stand by and assume someone else will pick up the slack. It is on you to do something. It is always on you to do something. Always. 


Know also that the Nazis did not stop until they were stop. Remember appeasement? Think of how we remember Neville Chamberlain? Yeah, don’t be Neville Chamberlain. You lose now AND you lose later.


The only way you win when dealing with Nazis, fascists, and those who would carry their banners is to stop them right away. Give them no quarter and no comfort. Shut them down, just like the people of Boston shut down the so-called Free Speech Rally on August 19, when at least 20,000 anti-racist protestors showed up to find 20 neo-Nazis, fascists, and white supremacists.


Read the SPLC’s Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide:



Donate to the SPLC:



Like its Facebook page:



Follow the SPLC on Twitter:



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Give Blood to Fight the Summer Slowdown in Donations

This OTYCD post originally appeared in July 2018. Combine expected summer slowdowns in blood donation with the havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked on blood donation drives, and things are generally dire (some areas are suffering more than others). Please give if you can. 


Please donate blood before and during the summer months, a time when donations tend to fall off sharply.


The Red Cross always needs donations of blood and platelets, but things get worse in the summer months, when schedules are disrupted by vacations and blood drives at high schools and colleges are not an option.


If you are a regular donor, please plan vacations with your donation schedule in mind, and try to recruit a friend or two to come and donate with you during the summer.


If it’s been a while since you gave, think about how and when to work a blood drive into your summer plans.


If you have never donated, find out if you are eligible, and consider whether it is something you feel you can do.



Find the Red Cross blood drive happening closest to you:




Read about how blood and platelet donations tend to drop severely–losing as many as 100,000–during the summer:




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Let Jane Elliott Open Your Eyes About Racism in America

This OTYCD post originally ran in January 2019.


Let Jane Elliott open your eyes about racism in America.


Elliott became an activist after Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in 1968. Shocked by the racist reactions she heard about King’s death, the elementary-school teacher designed an exercise for her young, white students in small-town Iowa that would show them what racism felt like.


She dubbed it the “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise.” On day one, she showed blatant favoritism to the blue-eyed kids, giving them extra helpings at lunchtime and five extra minutes of recess. She treated the brown-eyed kids as African-Americans were treated then, forcing them to sit at the back of the class and barring them from using the same water fountain that the blue-eyed kids did. She spouted ridiculous arguments about blue-eyed superiority, and antagonized brown-eyed kids who complained about their treatment. Some blue-eyed kids became bossy and nasty to their brown-eyed peers.


The experiment seemed to affect how well the two groups did on tests and schoolwork. The “superior” kids did better and felt confident enough to attempt harder work. The “inferior” kids withdrew and did less well in class.


The next day, the two groups changed places. Then Elliott asked the kids to write about how the experiment made them feel.


Word got out about the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment. It led to an appearance on The Tonight Show, two books, and a 1970 ABC documentary, The Eye of the Storm, which spread the word further. Demand for lectures and diversity training workshops became so strong that Elliott left her public school career in the mid-1980s.


It should be said that academic analyses of the effects of Elliott’s experiment are mixed. It seems to show moderate success in reducing bigotry long-term, but it might not be enough to justify the trauma the experiment could inflict on its participants. (Elliott caught flak for doing the experiment with eight-year-olds rather than trying it on teenagers or adults.)


Regardless of whether the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment succeeds in making white people less racist, Elliott’s lectures can help you understand white privilege and push back against it.



See Jane Elliott’s homepage:




See her recommended bibliography, which is a good place to get started with learning about white privilege and its effects. The list also includes titles that cover sexism, homophobia, ageism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry in general:




See her Lectures page to learn what programs she’s offering currently:




Like her Facebook page:




Visit her online store to buy documentaries that feature her work, plus the top she often wears when lecturing, in t-shirt and sweatshirt versions:




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Learn from Daryl Davis, A Black Man Who Convinced More Than Two Dozen KKK Members to Leave the Group

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.


Learn from Daryl Davis, a black musician who has devoted himself to convincing white supremacists to leave the Ku Klux Klan, with surprising success.


In a February 2017 Atlantic magazine article titled ‘Every Racist I Know Voted for Donald Trump’, Conor Friedersdorf spoke with Davis about his approach. The piece contains wisdom that you can apply when speaking to family and friends who voted for Trump, and even in conversations with diehards.


To summarize Friedersdorf’s distillation of Davis’s approach:

Before you engage, be as familiar with the other person’s position as you are with your own.

Invite them to a conversation–NOT a debate.

Look for things you and they have in common.

Keep talking, even if you have to break off and resume later in the week, or the month, or the year. Being able to keep a conversation going–however tumultuous–is better than refusing to talk. Silence can lead to violence.

Stay patient.

Make deliberate efforts to escape your bubble.

If you argue, don’t condescend.

Let the other person explain their cause. Don’t explain it for them.


You may never get as good at talking to your opponents as Davis is–some klansmen have given him their old uniforms as they abandon their bigoted beliefs. But if you can reach even a few people, and get them to think and engage, that is a victory in and of itself.



Read ‘Every Racist I Know Voted for Donald Trump’:




Listen to the episodes of the Love + Radio podcasts where Davis talks about his adventures at length:



Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!



Purchase and read Davis’s book, Klan-Destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan (warning: As of April 2017, it’s out of print and pricey):



Visit Davis’s web site:



Choose Your Core Four PLUS a Voting Rights Org to Support in 2020

This post originally ran on OTYCD in December 2019. We’re rerunning it at least once a month leading up to the 2020 fall election because Dangit, It’s Important!


Choose your Core Four*–two Democratic senators and two Democratic house reps, an incumbent and a challenger for each chamber–to support to in 2020. PLUS, choose a voting rights organization to support as well. 


From late 2016 until now, we’ve been going to bat for Democratic candidates in individual special elections. Usually, we’ve supported one Democrat at a time.


2018 was a big test of our collective resolve. We did well. The work we put in helped shift control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats. Had we failed, Trump would be steaming ahead unchecked. But we didn’t, and he’s now only the third impeached president in American history. (As of this writing, he is awaiting trial in the Senate.)


Literally hundreds of races–35 senators (33 plus two special elections), and all 435 House reps–are taking place, and all of them will end on November 3, 2020.


We need to fight to keep control of the House of Representatives (likely, but hey, never treat anything as a certainty), and we have a shot at wresting control of the Senate away from Mitch McConnell and the GOP (tough, but doable).


We at OTYCD suggest that you prepare for what’s coming by choosing your “Core Four”–four Democratic candidates who will receive the bulk of your efforts–PLUS an organization that actively supports and defends the right to vote.


Your Core Four Plus Should Include:


Two Democrats for the House of Representatives.

Two Democrats for the Senate.

One incumbent and one challenger for each chamber of Congress.

AND an organization such as Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight, Andrew Gillum’s Forward Florida Action, and Flip the Texas House, which Beto O’Rourke is throwing in with.



How to Pick Your Core Four


There’s no right way or wrong way to choose your Core Four, but we suggest starting in your own backyard, with the members of Congress who represent your state.


If you don’t know who your members of Congress are, go to this website and plug your street address into the search engine:



…then research the three names–one House rep and two Senators–that come up.


Do you have a good Democratic House Rep? Then embrace him or her.


Do you have a lousy House Rep, or is your district’s seat being vacated? Look up the Democratic challengers for the seat and choose one. Look to Ballotpedia.org for help with finding challengers in your federal district.


One-third of all senators will be up for re-election in 2020, and there will be two special elections also: One in Arizona, for the seat to which Martha McSally was appointed following the death of John McCain; and one in Georgia, to fill the seat vacated by Johnny Isakson.


It’s possible that at least one of your senators (and possibly both) is due to run (but scroll down for a list of states where neither senator has to run).


Is one or both of your senators up for re-election? Are they good Dems? If so, embrace them and get behind them.


Is your senator who’s running for re-election a lousy senator? Learn about the Democratic challengers for the seat, and be ready to help a challenger however you can. As always, Ballotpedia.org is your friend here.


Your help can take the form of time, money, word of mouth, or some combination of the three. But you need to choose your four Democrats, and you need to think seriously about how you will juggle the needs of all four, plus the voting rights organization.


You’ll need to sit down and plot this out as you might plot a semester’s course schedule in college. The demands of the four candidates will overlap and they’ll all come due at the same time–in the weeks and days leading up to November 3, 2020. You’ll also have to factor in appointments and life events of your own, too, of course.



Choosing your Core Four: A Test Case


Let’s say you live in California.


Your House Rep is up for re-election because they all are. Is yours a good Democrat? Then you have your House incumbent settled.


If your House Rep is not a good Democrat, or is a lousy Republican, or is retiring, check Ballotpedia and see who’s challenging for the seat.


Let’s assume for the sake of this example that your House Rep is a good Dem. There’s one of your four settled.


Now look for a challenger who’s aiming to take a terrible House Republican out.


How about Tedra Cobb? She hopes to push freshman House Rep Elise Stefanik out of New York’s 21st Congressional District. Stefanik, you will recall, made a fool of herself by going Full Metal Trumpista during the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry at the tail of 2019. Decent choice. Allocate time and money to Cobb. There. You’ve chosen your two House Dems, one incumbent and one challenger.



Now turn to the senators. It so happens that neither of the incumbent senators from California are up for re-election in 2020. You are free to devote your resources elsewhere.


Doug Jones of Alabama is up in 2020, and he’s regarded as the most vulnerable sitting Democratic Senator. How about you get behind him?


Now look for a candidate who hopes to push out a terrible sitting Republican Senator. You’re spoiled for choice here, truly. Maybe consider Jaime Harrison, who’s running against Lindsay Graham in South Carolina.


And there’s your Core Four: Your good incumbent Democratic House Rep, Tedra Cobb in New York state, Doug Jones in Alabama, and Jaime Harrison in South Carolina.


Of course, you can choose more than four Congressional candidates to back. But the idea here is to help you focus.


If you can take on more than four candidates, do it. But four is just enough, in our opinion–more than one, but still a number small enough to count on one hand.


Because it’s 2020, and because fighting dirty is kind of the Republican brand now, we’re asking you to pick a Core Four Plus, with the plus being an organization that fights for voting rights. We named three above, but they’re not the only three that are out there. We will devote a separate, periodically updated post that lists voting rights orgs, and we’ll link it here in a few places once it’s ready.


You can certainly look to orgs such as Swing Left, Sister District, Emily’s List, and the like to help you make your choices. The main thing is nowrightnow is the time to think seriously about those choices.



Also, if you live in one of the states listed below, neither of your Senators is up for re-election, and you can devote your resources to incumbents and candidates in other states:




New York state





North Dakota




Washington state





* Our ‘Core Four’ only covers federal Congress races. You might have other important races happening at the state and local level–for governor, attorney general, mayor, what have you. Please don’t neglect those races.




See the website for Ballotpedia.org:



Visit the website of Swing Left, which focuses on taking back the House of Representatives:



Visit the website of Sister District, which connects you with districts and regions near you with races that could use your support:



Visit the website of Emily’s List, which helps elect pro-choice Democratic women to office:



See OTYCD‘s past posts on picking House Reps and Senators to support in 2018, and on starting a 2018 fund:





The FEC Q2 Deadline is One Week from Today

Headsup: The FEC second-quarter deadline for 2020 is one week from today.


Giving you this headsup because quarterly donation hauls matter to candidates.


It doesn’t just matter to presidential candidates, either. The quarterly deadlines matter to House and Senate candidates, too.


Big donors look at the quarterly numbers and weigh them carefully when considering which candidates to support with their own dollars.


If you need to budget strategically, aim to give toward the end of the fiscal quarters.


If you’re already giving monthly and have some to spare, aim to give before midnight on June 30. Your money is extra-magical then.


Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!