Forty days of giving Toomuchtodo.org showcases different organizations committed to helping communities in the United States overcome the issues that they face every day.
3 million homeless, 1.2 million youth leave school every year, 49.7 million with disabilities, 49 million are hungry, THE LIST GOES ON...

The end of the year has come and so has this first phase of www.toomuchtodo.org.

Thank you to everyone who sent emails to their friends and family about this site, who shared this on Facebook, who followed this giving journey over the 40 days and for the words of encouragement while I got this initiative off the ground. 

I have a few ideas on what to do with www.toomuchtodo.org in 2010 and beyond and would love ideas from you about what you liked about the site, about the organizations, the overall process and needs.  What would make this more engaging?  How can I make the process easier? 

I am confident that you will see TooMuchToDo at some point in the future, I don’t know how quickly – but sooner or later I will come knocking on your door either asking for your help in some way or another.

Thank you again for giving along these 40 days and for spreading the word.

Here is to a healthy and prosperous 2010!

Danielle danielle@toomuchtodo.org

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Catastrophic illness doesn’t take a break during tough economic times.

For people with life-threatening illness, getting to New York City and finding a place to stay is the first step towards treatment – but exorbitant hotel costs can often present an insurmountable obstacle. When treatment is found, patients must travel to – and live – in New York City with a caregiver.  In a typical situation, a patient comes to New York City for a consultation with a medical expert. That appointment leads to additional tests and analysis, and a two-day trip turns into two weeks. A night in a New York City hotel averages $350. This can quickly turn into thousands of dollars in debt when days turn into weeks or even months.

Miracle House is the only non-profit in New York City providing any adult patient and their caregiver with a comfortable place to stay, warm meals, volunteer advocacy, group support and hope away from home.  They operate five three-bedroom apartments located in midtown Manhattan that have all the essential elements patients and caregivers require for a home away from home – a private bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, a pantry stocked with nutritious food, well-maintained beds, telephones, high-speed Internet access and a common area where patients can bond with one another.  Equally essential to patient and caregiver well being is their Meal Program.  Miracle House offers breakfast every weekday; dinner on Tuesday through Thursday; and brunch on Saturday.  New Yorkers are the heart of the organization with more than 100 volunteers that interact with clients; offering support and advocacy, hosting meals and referring patients and caregivers to additional resources. Miracle House clients come to them with a wide range of ailments at various stages of progression so to better understand and serve patience and caregivers, they have partnered with other organizations to more effectively serve the needs of clients. 54% of Miracle House guests earn less than $40,000 per year.  These statistics indicate the challenging position that many of their guests face. Your support will have a powerful and immediate impact on the lives of those seeking critical treatment for life-threatening conditions and illnesses. The indispensible nature of their services is reflected in the fact that, for the last two years, the number of requests we have received has exceeded our capacity by 20%.  Make sure to visit their site to learn about their wish list and additional ways to help these families in their times of need!

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Help youth avoid violence and substance abuse.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest, largest and most effective youth mentoring organization in the United States. They have been the leader in one-to-one youth service, developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors children, ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country.  Students involved are more confident in their schoolwork performance, able to get along better with their families, are 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52% less likely to skip school.  Mentors volunteering in BBBS share everyday activities like eating out, playing sports or attending sports events, going to movies, sightseeing, doing chores, and just hanging out together.  What matters to the child is not the activity, but the fact that they had a caring adult in their lives and that they had someone to confide in and to look up to, they were, in turn, doing better in school and at home.

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Help workers with low incomes to obtain, maintain and grow economic assets.

C.A.S.H. – Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope - is a community coalition established in 2002 to help low-income workers make the most of their money and build stronger financial futures. C.A.S.H. improves the financial well being of working families by: offering free income tax preparation to help eligible families take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit, free one-on-one financial coaching and education, maximizing financial assets through matched savings accounts, alternatives to predatory lending practices, credit repair, and asset building strategies.  In other words, C.A.S.H. helps working families get, keep and grow their money.

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Help men dress for success as they re-enter the work force.

The Million Dollar Man is dedicated to serving men who are in re-entry, recovery and recently employed.  The Million Dollar Man experience promotes personal and professional growth for their clients. The Millon Dollar Man program has two components: Clothing bank provides clothing for men in re-entry and recovery when they are job ready and for other needs such as court hearings, etc. The Blueprint is a twelve week program which provides men with a holistic approach to self-sustainability. This program provides men with the tools they need to be successful. Men can develop their own blueprint for success.   This organizations believes through job retention the rate of recidivism can be reduced because men deem themselves ready to become productive members of society. Men graduate from the Blueprint program after one year of success with their blueprint plan. Million Dollar Man also partners with local barbershops and grooming specialists in the area where men can receive free haircuts and grooming techniques.

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23% of all children in Tennesse live in food insecure households.

This means they do not always know where they will find their next meal.  More than half of Tennessee students — about 494,612 — qualified for a free or reduced-price program last year. 

Second Harvests’ Kids Cafe programs provide free meals and snacks to low-income children through a variety of community locations in Tennessee where children already congregate – such as schools and after school programs.  The program is designed to feed children at risk of going hungry and provide them the physical and emotional nourishment critical to healthy development.  A Kids Cafe meal is often the only nutritious meal that participating children receive all week outside of the school cafeteria.  Registered Dietitian provides nutrition education at each Kids Cafe, providing hands-on opportunities for children of all ages to see, feel, taste, and experience food and nutrition in a whole new way.  There is also a BackPack program that works to meet the needs of hungry children by providing nutritious and easy-to-prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.  The BackPack programs are located at schools and after school programs that have a high incidence of children in need. Each BackPack site distributes a pack of food to each participating child on Fridays that includes small pop top entrees, such as beans and franks and chili, cereal, applesauce, a fruit cup, 100% fruit juice, shelf stable chocolate milk, and snacks, such as peanut butter crackers.

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A person on Social Security has to spend 69% of his or her income on rent.

Half of all people over 85 need daily assistance performing activities like getting around, bathing, and preparing meals.

 Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) helps seniors remain independent and part of their community by offering opportunities for intergenerational living and by providing a variety of citywide support services.  H.O.M.E. has its own warehouse for furniture collection and redistribution, the only free moving and furniture donation services available to the elderly citywide, free shopping transportation services, free upkeep and repair services for elderly homeowners, and an extensive volunteer services program. Last year alone, H.O.M.E. provided intergenerational housing for 66 seniors, distributed furniture to 1,164 elderly households, conducted 263 relocations, provided over 10,000 shopping trips to seniors, supplied home repairs for 712 senior households and benefited from a pool of 300 volunteers.

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More than 400,000 New York City residents are currently unemployed.

Underemployment in the city has particularly affected women, and while it is not clear why women were hit so hard, studies show that it is most likely related to the mix of industries and occupations in the city.

NEW (Nontraditional Employment for Women) is a nonprofit organization that trains women and places them in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades.  NEW primarily serves low-income minority women from all five boroughs in New York City, helping women achieve economic independence and a secure future.  Graduates of NEW’s skills training programs are placed in careers as carpenters, painters, electricians, laborers, plumbers, elevator mechanics, public utilities and transportation careers and are changing their lives and the skyline of New York City.  NEW coordinates with labor unions, contractors, and government to change the climate for women in nontraditional work by providing advocacy and technical assistance services to labor unions and employers and has a commitment by these partners to place women in apprenticeship slots.   NEW programs include a mix of hands-on shop skills, classroom instruction, physical fitness assessment, job development and placement services, social service referrals, and case management.  Through its innovative training programs, NEW graduates successfully compete for skilled blue-collar careers that enable women to achieve economic self-sufficiency.  Since construction work starts very early, NEW also helps women find early morning childcare.

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1.2 million students leave school each year for good.

Minds Matter is not-for-profit organization in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, New York and Portland, whose mission is to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success.  Minds Matter’s created three separate programs to help the needs of youth.  In the Sophomore Program curriculum, each student is matched with two mentors with whom he/she meets weekly during the school year for 4-hour mentoring sessions. The unique curriculum focuses on writing and critical thinking, public speaking, debate and preparation for the PSAT exam.  Students in the Junior Program continue to work with their mentors to refine their writing, oral presentation, and interviewing skills. Juniors also attend an intensive, 15-week SAT prep course, which ensures they are able to realize their dream of pursuing higher education. Juniors who successfully complete the program are given the opportunity to attend domestic summer college preparation programs as well as programs abroad, in countries including Costa Rica, Japan, and Spain. The Senior Program guides students through the college application process, including school selection, interviews and financial aid. In addition the program provides workshops on how to adapt to college life. At the end of the year, Minds Matter provides seniors with a performance-based stipend of up to $2,000 to pay for tuition, books, and/or computers.  Your donation can help at the local or national level!

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28% of Americans are not filling their prescriptions because they can’t afford them.

28% of Americans have taken steps such as not filling prescriptions, skipping dosages and cutting pills in half without the approval of their doctor, and even sharing prescriptions with a friend. 

The HealthWell Foundation provides financial assistance to eligible individuals to cover coinsurance, copayments, healthcare premiums and deductibles for certain treatments. For individuals who have been prescribed a medication but can not afford it, the coinsurance or copayment required, Healthwell can  help by paying some or all of the costs associated with the medication. If individuals are eligible for health insurance, but cannot afford the insurance premium, Healthwell can help by paying some or all of the medical portion of your insurance premium.  The HealthWell Foundation makes every effort to assist all eligible patients – that is the heart of their mission.

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