COLUMNS

Ready: Two weird ways to do something good

Mary Ready

Before my husband’s death, in our more prosperous days, we were both very generous to a fault. We contributed to all sorts of charities, “gofundme’s,” and special collections for people in need.

Now, my retirement pension — like the alter ego “budget self” in the commercials — keeps telling me, “You have to stop writing those checks and trying to save the world.”

I still contribute to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Samaritan’s Purse, but that’s about it these days.

But I still want to help even in some small way to make life better for someone, somewhere. So, I’ll share two ways that cost practically nothing, but make a difference nonetheless.

The first way requires painting your ring fingernail with purple polish, a new campaign of Safe Horizon, the largest organization helping victims of domestic violence in the United States. As leading experts on domestic violence and victimization on a national and global level, the organization is raising awareness of the problem along with their outreach to people in need of their services. They offer shelters, counseling, legal representation, employment assistance, and childcare. Their free, anonymous hotline number is 800-621-HOPE (4673).

So why paint your ring fingernail purple? Because- when you’re asked, you can share the word about the hope available for victims of domestic violence. Whether you’re female or male, you can place a picture of your purple nail on social media and have the message travel far and wide. Someone out there needs to hear that there is help to escape the fear and darkness of a life lived in violence. Someone needs that phone number. The website at #putthenailinit depicts many respected celebrities showing off their purple nails, like Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev. Of course, the site also has an option to donate, but any small amount helps.

A second way to help make this world a better place involves empty prescription bottles.

Many people on prescription medicines find it uncomfortable to throw away so many empty medicine bottles, and our landfills don’t need them either. Putting them in the recycling bin is a good option, but a better one is to give them to a project that desperately needs them.

While first world nations throw away perfectly good medicine bottles, medical pharmacies and hospital facilities in Malawi, Africa often have nothing except torn pieces of paper in which to wrap medicine for their patients. This is especially seen in rural hospitals and villages where the poorest of the nation try to live and survive.

Save up a group of your empty containers. Place them in boiling water until you are able to easily remove the labels and the glue. Then box or bag them and send them to Malawi Project Inc. 3314 Van Tassel Drive Indianapolis, IN 46240.

It all began with a short post on the Malawi Project Facebook site with a simple request for readers to send empty prescription bottles so they could then be sent to hospitals in Africa. Expectations were for maybe a few thousand.

Then empty containers started pouring into the Indianapolis offices of the Project. In 30 days the total number of vials passed 20,000, with the volume increasing daily. Then came questions and project answers such as:

(1) How long will this program continue? (It will be going on for the foreseeable future).

(2) Do you still need more containers? (The Project sends medical supplies to over 700 medical facilities throughout Africa. We will never get too many of them).

(3) Do you take the three-month containers as well as the one-month ones? (Yes, we take both, as well as the ones with locking and non-locking caps. All colors are fine as well).

4) Do you take the large vitamin or aspirin bottles? (We prefer the traditional prescription bottles.)

(5) Do you take financial contributions? (By all means, we are constantly in need of funding. Even with no paid staff, no vehicles and no paid office space, it still takes funds to ship the bottles to Africa).

Again, any little amount helps. Like the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoe Box project, putting a small check in the box of prescription bottles helps insure they get shipped to medical providers to keep medicine clean and safe for the people they serve.

If you want to help, but can’t allocate a lot of money, these are two ways to do some good.

As for me, I’m wearing the purple polish while gathering up prescription bottles.

Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.