Community Activism · Save These Tools · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Remember to Donate to Food Banks During the Summer Months, When Schools Are Closed

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2018.

 

Remember to make a point of donating to your local food banks during the summer months, when schools are closed.

 

Students who receive free and reduced-price school meals can suffer during the summer, when their schools close. Their schools are often their most reliable source of nutritious meals. While many communities have programs that feed children under 18 during the summer, not all do.

 

It’s almost a cliche to volunteer at soup kitchens and food banks during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but summer is when the need can be keenest.

 

Food donations are always welcome at food banks, but donations of money are even more effective. Also ask your food bank if they accept donations of diapers, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products, which cannot be purchased with food stamps.

 

 

Find your nearest food bank:

http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/

 

 

Donate to the AmpleHarvest.org food pantry network:

http://ampleharvest.org/donate-m1/

 

 

Find the nearest summer meals program in your community:

https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

 

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Community Activism · Health Care · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Save These Tools · Vote with your Dollars

Volunteer At a Rape Crisis Center or Sexual Assault Hotline

Volunteer at a rape crisis center or a sexual assault hotline.

 

Even before he was elected, Donald Trump caused dark memories to surface in the minds of victims of rape and sexual assault.

 

Since his election, things have been just as intense. The #MeToo movement has forced the downfall of prominent abusers such as Harvey Weinstein and encouraged victims who suffered at the hands of other high-profile men to speak out and seek justice.

 

The news about Rob Porter, who was employed by the White House and finally ousted once domestic abuse allegations came to light, added to the intensity.

 

Calls to rape crisis centers have spiked since late 2016 and remain high. If you can volunteer with a rape crisis center or a sexual abuse hotline, please consider it.

 

The best known is the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its National Sexual Assault Hotline takes calls around the clock and connects people with support services nearest to them. It also helps those who contact them online. To date, RAINN has assisted more than 2.5 million people.

 

If you can’t volunteer at a rape crisis center or a sexual assault hotline, consider donating   to RAINN or a RAINN partner crisis center in your area. You can also follow RAINN and local organizations on social media and spread awareness of their efforts.

 

 

Volunteer for RAINN’s online hotline:

https://www.rainn.org/articles/volunteer-national-sexual-assault-hotline

 

 

Volunteer with a RAINN partner crisis center near you:

https://volopps.rainn.org

 

 

If you are a sexual assault or rape victim who needs help, call the RAINN hotline:

800.656.4673

 

 

Those needing support can also access Rainn’s online hotline in English:

https://hotline.rainn.org/online/

 

…and Spanish:

https://rainn.org/es

 

 

If you are a sexual assault or rape victim serving in the military, you can contact the Department of Defense (DOD) Safe Helpline, also run by RAINN (scroll down for the full list of resources):

https://safehelpline.org/about

 

 

Donate to RAINN:

https://rainn.org/impact-your-gift-rainn

 

 

Like RAINN on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RAINN01/

 

 

Follow RAINN on Twitter:

@RAINN

 

 

Read a November 2017 Washington Post article on the rise in calls to rape crisis centers as a result of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape, the #MeToo movement, and similar events:

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/calls-to-rape-crisis-centers-are-surging-amid-the-outpouring-of-sexual-assault-allegations/2017/11/22/3d0bec6a-ce12-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.6b57e3bd3614

Community Activism · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Thank You Actions

Learn How to Help Military Families Thanks to Operation We Are Here

Learn how to help military families through the Operation We Are Here homepage–a detailed collection of resources for military families and those who want to show support.

 

Operation We Are Here is a gratifyingly broad and comprehensive collection of resources for military families, veterans, and people who want to ease their burden. It includes links and info on programs you’ve heard about and several you haven’t.

 

Its Toolkit page, which is aimed at people who want to help the enlisted, their families, and veterans, provides information about programs such as Free Cakes for Kids, which ensures that low-income military families with children don’t have to choose between spending their limited funds on a birthday cake or a birthday gift.

 

It also mentions Cleaning for Heroes, a nonprofit that provides free house-cleaning services to disabled or elderly veterans; several programs that train service animals for vets and the military; ways for lawyers to donate their legal services; a list of businesses run by veterans and military spouses; programs that help the military community vote; and a metric ton of programs that distribute used items–musical instruments, DVDs, cell phones, clothes, board games and video games, you name it–to military folk.

 

There’s an entire section of the site devoted to books of interest to the military community and its supporters, with subsections on PTSD, marriage, caregiving, veteran employment, and loss and grief.

 

And there’s a sidebar on the right of the webpage with seemingly acres of resources.

 

A note: The Operation We Are Here webpage is the project of a non-denominational Christian ministry, but the individual resources listed may or may not reflect the same Christian beliefs.

 

 

See the Operation We Are Here webpage:

http://www.operationwearehere.com/index.html

 

 

See its ‘About Me’ page, which includes a ‘Statement of Faith’:

http://www.operationwearehere.com/AboutUs.html

 

 

See its ‘Toolkit for Military Supporters’:

http://www.operationwearehere.com/Toolkit.html

 

 

See its ‘Book List for the Military Community and Supporters’:

http://www.operationwearehere.com/BookLists.html

 

 

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!

 

 

Follow Operation We Are Here on Twitter:

@OpWeAreHere

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/OperationWeAreHere

Community Activism · Health Care · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Learn to Use a Tourniquet, and Carry One With You, Just In Case

Learn to use a tourniquet, and carry one with you, just in case.

 

Former Senator and full-time Republican fool Rick Santorum was deservedly smothered under a heap of scorn in March 2018 after suggesting that students should learn cardio-pulminary resuscitation (CPR) in case they found themselves and their friends under attack in a school shooting.

 

Several doctors slammed Santorum for obvious idiocy, but Jo Buyske, executive director of the American Board of Surgery, summed it up best in a tweet that said, “Mr. Santorum, CPR doesn’t work if all the blood is on the ground.”

 

Santorum’s underlying impulse wasn’t wrong. Knowing what to do in a borked situation can help you get through it. He just reached for the wrong solution.

 

The best way to stop all the blood from pooling on the ground is to apply a tourniquet. It’s a temporary solution that stops a victim from bleeding out before medical help can arrive.

 

Granted, a tourniquet can be as useless as CPR when a victim has been shot multiple times by an assailant wielding an AR-15. But someone who’s been wounded in an arm or a leg could live to tell the tale if someone ties on a tourniquet in time.

 

Applying a tourniquet is a skill that needs to be learned. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can make things worse.

 

First, you need to purchase a tourniquet. The Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) is well-regarded, as is the SOF Tactical Tourniquet-Wide (SOFTT-W). Both are available through Rescue Essentials.

 

 

The CAT:

https://www.rescue-essentials.com/combat-application-tourniquet-c-a-t-tactical-black-gen-7/

 

 

The SOFTT-W:

https://www.rescue-essentials.com/softt-w-generation-4-tourniquet/

 

 

Then you need to learn how to apply a tourniquet. Here’s a page from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) website, written by Dr. David R. King, who tended to victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing:

https://giving.massgeneral.org/tourniquet-use-instructions/

 

 

You can also review the instructions offered by Stop the Bleeding, a government-sponsored awareness campaign launched in 2015 to encourage everyday people to teach themselves how to handle a bleeding emergency before medical help arrives:

https://www.dhs.gov/stopthebleed

 

 

If you have a bit more to spend, you might consider a Concealed Carry Trauma Kit, which contains a tourniquet as well as a pair of gloves and a hemostatic agent–a substance that stops bleeding. The kit is designed to fit in a back pocket (hence the reference to ‘concealed carry’).

https://www.rescue-essentials.com/concealed-carry-trauma-kit/

 

 

Read about Rick Santorum making a damn fool of himself and getting flayed by doctors who know better:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/26/doctors-assure-rick-santorum-learning-cpr-wont-save-mass-shooting-victims/?utm_term=.0e9c26efa749

https://www.thedailybeast.com/doctors-slam-rick-santorum-for-suggesting-kids-learn-cpr-instead-of-protesting

 

 

Also, read an October 2017 WBUR interview with a volunteer from Stop the Bleeding on the power of the tourniquet:

http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/10/18/tourniquet-blood-loss

 

 

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Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Vote with your Dollars

Join a Credit Union

Join a credit union and leave traditional for-profit banks behind.

 

Are you sick of banks? We at OTYCD don’t blame you, and we’d like to suggest an alternative: a credit union.

 

A credit union is a non-profit member-owned cooperative. It exists to help people manage their money instead of making a profit off of them.

 

Fees tend to be lower and customer service far better than at traditional banks. Credit unions generally offer free checking accounts and do not charge you if your balance falls below a specified amount.

 

Credit unions are often more community-oriented as well, and concerned with helping, supporting, and building the local community in a wide variety of ways–offering small business loans, providing financial education, sponsoring local events, and even offering scholarships.

 

There are drawbacks to credit unions. They generally offer fewer financial products than banks do. Their ATM networks aren’t as broad as those of traditional banks, which means you might pay fees to use machines that don’t belong to the credit union (but ask about this–many credit unions reimburse a certain number of withdrawals per month). Credit unions aren’t as abundant as banks, and you might have trouble finding one near you that you can join.

 

Regardless, it’s an option worth exploring, especially if you’re fed up with the banking system and fed up with being treated like a cash cow.

 

 

Read these articles about credit unions and their pros and cons:

https://www.bankrate.com/banking/credit-unions/the-benefits-of-a-credit-union-vs-a-bank/

https://www.moneytalksnews.com/9-reasons-why-credit-union-better-than-big-bank/

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/credit-unions-vs-banks/

 

 

See MyCreditUnion.gov’s explanation of credit unions:

https://www.mycreditunion.gov/about-credit-unions/Pages/How-is-a-Credit-Union-Different-than-a-Bank.aspx

 

 

See Wikipedia’s list of credit unions in the United States and find one near you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_credit_unions_in_the_United_States

 

 

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Community Activism · Ethics · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read There Is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love

Read There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love, by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell.

 

TINGCFT might seem like a not-quite-on-topic choice for a political blog, but bear with us. It’s a great textbook on how to have awkward conversations, how to listen, and how not to be a jerk–skills that are ever more precious and valuable in the time of Trump.

 

McDowell is the genius behind a series of greeting cards that you’d actually want to send to someone who’s going through hell but still has a sense of humor. Crowe holds a doctorate in social welfare, and founded Help Each Other Out, which teaches people how to avoid being the person who ghosts or says and does unhelpful things when bad stuff happens to friends and family.

 

The whole book is a gem, but in particular, it goes over how to help people in the grip of illness, fertility issues, divorce, unemployment, and grief.

 

Some general takeaways:

 

It’s better to do something than nothing. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is doing something.

Remember it’s about them, not you. Don’t make their problem about you.

Listen.

Your kindness is your credential.

The person who needs help may not respond to your overture the way you’d expect. Don’t hold that against them, and don’t let their response deter you from helping others.

 

 

Buy There Is No Good Card for This at great independent book stores such as The Strand or Powell’s:

http://www.strandbooks.com/index.cfm

http://www.powells.com/book/there-is-no-good-card-for-this-9780062469991/1-5

 

 

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Action Alerts · Community Activism · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Learn to Evangelize (In a Good Way)

Learn, and practice, how to tell the story of the candidates you support, and become an evangelist for them.

 

One of the most important things you can do to push back against Trump is convince people to come out and vote against his democracy-destroying agenda. But if you really want to be effective, you want to immerse yourself in the merits and the story of a non-Trumpish candidate, fully master it, and be ready to make a powerful, personal, eloquent case for voting for them.

 

Now, a personal confession. Sarah Jane here. I’m the founder of the OTYCD blog and the lead wrangler of research and of its anonymous writers. This is my 2016 story.

 

So it’s late 2015 or so and the election is starting to gear up. I resign myself to voting for Clinton. I’m meh on her but I don’t think Bernie can do the job, the Republicans are all thoroughly horrible, and the third party options look miserable, too.

 

But at some point I see clips from that eleven-hour Congressional Benghazi hearing.

 

And I see Clinton own those Republican twerps like the boss she is. Own. Them. Completely and thoroughly. She cleans the floor with them till she can see her face in it, and she doesn’t even break a sweat. She slays. She dominates. She destroys. Through her actions and her attitude, she reveals the hearings for what they are–a formal, coordinated attempt to kneecap her 2016 presidential campaign–and she ain’t havin’ it. At all.

 

And I realized: She can do this, and she wants to do this. She is crazy-smart and ludicrously skilled, and she has a skin as thick as a rhino’s, and she actually wants to be president. She’s been through hell and back so many times, from so many different directions, she could write a guidebook on it for Lonely Planet. She has taken far more than her allotted ration of shit in this life. She has long since earned the right to walk in the woods and play with her grandkids. But she wants to do this. Damn. Whoa.

 

In that moment I became a Clinton convert. The scales fell from my eyes. I went from ‘meh’ to ‘yeah!’ I was *excited* to vote for her. Not as much as I was for Obama, but I was excited.

 

Now, here’s my sin: I didn’t tell anyone about my change of heart. At no point before the 2016 election did I speak up to anyone else and say why I was excited to vote for her.

 

I donated to her campaign. I voted for her in the primary. I stayed on top of the issues. I watched all three debates. I voted for her for president. But never did I ever sit with friends and family and spontaneously say why I was so jazzed to vote for Hillary Clinton.

 

I live in a state that went overwhelmingly for Clinton. I can tell myself that not speaking well of her once I started thinking well of her made no difference.

 

But c’mon. What if more of us had shown genuine enthusiasm for voting for her? What if more of us had evangelized for her?

 

What if our friends and family made note of that, and passed the word to others–that there are people out there, sane and fine people, who actually like Clinton and want to vote for her?

 

Don’t get me wrong–I realize she had a fine contingent of folks who did speak well of her, early and often, and I realize a goodly number of them read this blog. I’m wondering how things might be different if that contingent were bigger, and if folks who share my Clinton journey had stepped up and joined it.

 

The overriding perception was that those who cast votes for either major presidential candidate in 2016 did so while holding their noses.

 

Remember the ‘Giant Meteor 2016’ bumper stickers? Judging by the way the election was covered, no one would blame you for thinking it was a giant nationwide game of ‘Would You Rather?’

 

It wasn’t, or at least it wasn’t for me. I liked Clinton, and I still like her, and what she stands for. And I’ve gone from being irked to pissed to stabby about how the right wing noise machine has done its level best to smear her for 30 goddamn years.

 

It’s too late to do right by Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate. But you can devote yourself to becoming a better evangelist for non-Trumpish candidates running in special elections and in 2018 who will restore and defend our democracy. (“Non-Trumpish” candidates include Republicans and conservatives who have spines, btw.)

 

You don’t have to formally join their campaigns to be effective. Heck, you might be more effective if you don’t. Just do your damnedest to learn about them, and what they stand for, and figure out what it is about them that you connect with most, and tell others why.

 

You have power. You have friends and family who listen to you and value what you have to say. Hearing people you trust speak happily, and authentically, about a candidate for office helps that candidate’s chances of winning that office.

 

Speaking up is scary. Some people will challenge you, talk over you, even yell at you and try to shout you down. But you need to speak up anyway. It’s too important. Do not succumb to silence. Do what you have to do to learn how to speak up, and get good at it, and start working on it now, in summer 2017, well before the primaries.

 

We need you. We need every voice. Our democracy depends on it.

 

Update: Since I wrote this I realized (headsmack) that many of those who stuck up for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign got shouted down, and they’re still getting shouted down months later. I can only point back to my own experience.

 

I know most of my crowd was pro-Clinton, but no one expressed spontaneous enthusiasm for her. I don’t think I would have felt any pushback if I had voiced my enthusiasm in real life (online is of course another matter) but I can’t know because I did not think to try.

 

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