Hotdogs for the Homeless

As I warned you yesterday, I’ll be highlighting some charities in the coming weeks. Obviously, since we start our 24 hour game-a-thon tonight to benefit Hotdogs for the Homeless, they are the focus for today. Here’s a word from one of the founders of the Retro Gamers Society about the mission here.

A personal appeal from me, BCP, founding member of the Retro Gamers Society

In 2012 our little video game group adopted the Hotdogs for the Homeless organization as our charity of choice. In the first year, our 24-hour game-a-thon raised $350 for this important community organization. In our second year, we raised a whopping $1200 for this amazing charity. We followed it up with a charity silent auction at our video game convention, SUPER Bitcon, that raised another $1000 for HftH. For this year’s game-a-thon, we’ve already raised over $1800 and the stream hasn’t even gone live yet! That’s incredible. So unbelievably, amazingly, humblingly incredible.

But we’re not done.

It costs HftH an average of $300 per week to fund its operations. This means that at last year’s game-a-thon we funded a whole month of their work. This feeds the homeless, but also impoverished unwed mothers, hundreds of kids, veterans — many of the disadvantaged in our community.

We are on track to double last year’s fundraising. That would be a full two months out of the year that Rick and his volunteers don’t have to worry, wonder, and pray about where their funding will come from.

Many people depend on these meals. $3 feeds a family on a Sunday afternoon. Can you spare $3? What about $15? What about $60?

Most people have never heard about Hotdogs for the Homeless or their mission. But those who rely on this weekly meal (as well as the toiletries, socks, and even bike repair that HftH offers) will truly appreciate the small sacrifice you might make to give them the gift of food.

Please have a look at our page dedicated to this year’s fundraiser:http://retrogamersociety.com/hotdogs

And also look through the HftH website at:http://hotdogsforthehomeless.com

Aimee and I will be very grateful for your gift, as will the rest of our RGS friends. All proceeds donated will go directly to HftH. Donations can be made via Paypal (bank transfer or credit card) to: hotdogs@retrogamersociety.com

Any amount helps.

It’s not just about the hotdogs. Sure, they need a meal. But it’s really about hope. It’s telling these people they are not invisible. Someone cares. What makes this charity truly special is the human connection. Rick isn’t throwing money at some think tank to try and solve the problems. He and his volunteers are meeting people where they are and making a connection, even if just for a moment.

And hey, you can tune in tonight and watch a ragtag group of gamers do what we do and do it for a good cause. There will even be stupid human tricks for your dollars.

On Charity and Stupid Human Tricks

For better or worse, the viral ice bucket challenge has everyone talking. Sure, people are annoyed. It was a publicity stunt using a silly challenge and peer pressure to attempt to do some good. And regardless of how you feel about such things, it drove a lot of money to an organization that wasn’t getting much attention previously. Overall, I call it a win.

Will some of that money be mismanaged and wasted in administrative costs? Possibly. Non-profit corporations do have legitimate administrative costs, but they are most certainly not immune to greed and corruption. And yes, many of the charity behemoths are overseen by overpaid administrators. I don’t expect the CEO of a non-profit to live in abject poverty just because managing a charity is their full time job, but I also don’t believe they should be getting rich off the kindness of strangers either. It’s reasonable to expect that the majority of the dollars I give to a given charity actually go towards the stated goal of said charity. (The ALS Association is rated B+ by charity watch. It has also been evaluated by the BBB and Charity Navigator.)

I had never given to The ALS Association prior to the ice bucket event. I may or may not give to them again, but some of their new donors will likely be repeat donors. This is a good thing, and I hope they continue to manage their proceeds well. For them, this stunt is a wild success that should rightfully be celebrated.

But what does it mean for other charities? There are a few that are very near and dear to my heart that will be hurt by this stunt. Many people, including yours truly, only have so much that can be budgeted to charitable giving. Every dollar I give to charity ABC is a dollar I can’t give to charity XYZ. I wish I had more dollars to go around, but my mortgage company insists that they get a good chunk of the dollars I’ve got.

And then we run into charity fatigue. Sure, they are all good causes but I just get so tired of everyone asking for my hard-earned money. Heck, I’m about to ramp up to ask you for even more with this weekend’s game-a-thon to benefit Hotdogs for the Homeless. Then we will jump straight into Kilted to Kick Cancer (now a bonafide 501c3) for the month of September. Not to mention I’m doing a marathon for the Children’s Miracle Network (sponsor me?). All before the whole world turns pink and talks about boobs.

I get it. I’m tired too and dammit I want to spend some of my cash on ME. Because sometimes I’m selfish, and I have every right to be.

But I’m also a believer in these charities and what they are doing. Yeah, I want to feel like I can be a part of something great, something that makes the world a little brighter. There’s enough strife and misery to go around. The outlook may be bleak and depressing, but I simply must believe there is hope. The alternative is unbearable.

Yes, I and others like me will continue to do silly, crazy stunts for charity. I hope you get a laugh out of it. I hope it makes you smile. I’d love for you to contribute, but only because you want to be a part of it too and not because I’ve guilted you into it. Or give to win a prize. Or give to see me do something ridiculous (I lack shame and love attention, if I can channel that into something good, everyone wins). Or don’t. We can still be friends.

In the next few weeks, I’ll obviously be highlighting the charities linked above, but I’d like to hear from you. What charities or causes are near and dear to your heart and why? Or maybe it’s not a charity. I will always be proud of the way we’ve banded together to help out one of our own even without the fancy tax documents. Go ahead and give yourselves another pat on the back for that, by the way. But I’d love to hear about your passions. Do you make blankets for newborns? Pick up trash? Feed the hungry? Scoop poop at the animal shelter? Go ahead, toot your own horn in the comments.

Ice Bucket Challenge

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bandwagons and all of that. You know what? This is a bandwagon I don’t mind hopping aboard. The disease is my worst nightmare. Yes, we’re donating too. No, I’m not going to tell you how much because I think that’s a private matter best decided without additional pressure.
And so, without further ado

Hotdogs for the Homeless!

You guys, we are a quarter of the way there! Donations overall are going well. We are only $75 away from my humble goal and getting some long overdue justice against that snickering dog. Honestly, I’m kinda being smoked by the other members of the group, but it’s all for a good cause.

There’s a funny thing about gamers. In spite of what some writer at Tor thinks (link goes to Larry Correia’s excellent fisking of the Tor piece), we’re a pretty diverse and inclusive group. Just take a look at the Retro Gamers Society promotional video for our gameathon.

We didn’t hire any actors or make any special calls. These are just the regulars that show up to our monthly get togethers to hang out, play games, buy/sell/trade, and just generally have a good time. We aren’t spending our time lamenting any micro-aggressions. We’re having FUN. And hey, trying to do some good for our community while we’re at it.

Donation link is here. You’ll be able to access the Twitch stream from there too starting August 29th. If you want your donations counted towards snickering dog justice, please email me (jennifer AT injennifershead DOT com).

 

PSA: Don’t Set Yourself On Fire

According to the Blogess, there are kids setting themselves on fire for YouTube. And that source of all knowledge and term papers, Wikipedia confirms that is in fact a thing.

Um…

Don’t set yourself on fire.

Because apparently some people need to be told that.

Or maybe I should say, if you’re stupid enough to set yourself on fire, stay away from other flammable things and thank you for culling the gene pool.

Slow, Painful Death for Looters

No, I’m not talking about Ferguson. I’m talking about Liberia

Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including bloody sheets and mattresses.

Um, guys? I get that you’re angry that potentially infected people were brought into your community, but I’m thinking you didn’t really consider the ramifications of you actions. I mean, your stated goal of “No Ebola in West Point” was a rational one. Looting infectious materials and spreading them around the community seems rather contrary.

But then again, I never really understood how looting and rioting ever solved anything or got anyone closer to their goals. Regardless of whether or not the cause is just. I suppose if your goal was “Ebola for Everyone!” this would be an excellent way to achieve it. Personally, I think I’m staying the hell away from Liberia for the foreseeable future. Not that I was planning a trip anyway, but you never know. I could wake up tomorrow and decide that bleeding out my eyes would be an excellent experience to have.

*checks bucket list*

Nope, it’s not on there anywhere. In fact, it’s listed over there in the ‘Nope’ column. Right after ‘drowning’ and before ‘fire, death by’.

Is it just me, or is someone running through the streets trailing bedding infected with Ebola darn near close to a zombie problem?