A quick announcement: I'll be telling a story on the Porch this Saturday evening at 9:00 in Salt Lake City (link to the FB event and link to The Porch's site). I would love to see you there. And I promise to wear something extra low cut and revealing to make it worth your while. (NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, CATHIE).

That time of year is approaching. Pumpkins are being carved. Turkeys are being slaughtered. Christmas lights and music have been ubiquitous for about three months already. And your schedules are about to be bombarded with holiday madness.


A family friend introduced a unique and simple way to "give back" last year when she told us about a little project called Pioneers of Peace. At the behest of Cathie, my family participated in a small challenge and had a good experience doing so. It's a particularly good way to get children involved in giving and feeling like they are playing a role in doing good for the world.

Pioneers of Peace challenged us to designate a cup in our homes for spare change during the month of November. Any spare change found in the house or collected throughout the day would get dropped into the cup. By Thanksgiving, the cups are emptied, the contents counted, and the funds are donated to the World Food Program, which then uses them to buy lunch for children throughout the world who would otherwise go hungry for lack of resources.

The World Food Program states that it is able to provide a meal for a child for 25 cents.

My nieces and nephews excitedly began turning their homes over to find any spare change that may have fallen between the cracks. For the rest of us, it was simple to empty our pockets of change throughout the month to put into the cups.

On Thanksgiving, we had the kids count up what we had collected throughout the month. To our surprise, between my parents, siblings, spouses, Queen of Colors, nieces, and nephews, we had dropped nearly $100 of change into our cups throughout the month, meaning that our donation was able to provide roughly 400 meals.

We were then able to make the donation to the World Food Program. This year, the donations can be made at this link, and you can track the amount donated through the project there.

It took very little effort on our parts, and it made a difference for some children who really need a difference. Not to mention, my little nieces and nephews remember that experience and are excited to participate in it again this year.

I love the cause and wanted to share it with you. There are so many opportunities, large and small, to give a little or a lot, and I encourage you to take a look at the Pioneers of Peace page for information about this project.

I've never had to go hungry, and I can't imagine what that might be like. I've never been poor. Sure, I have had varying degrees of limited funds, but I've always had a safe place to sleep and plenty to eat.

Although having never struggled in that way, I have been helped by strangers throughout my life in ways that have impacted me and shaped me into the person I am. I will always be grateful for that. And I hope to always be looking for ways to do something with what I've been given to help other strangers along the way.

Last year I asked you to share stories about times when strangers stepped in to help you in some way. You guys came through with sweet and inspiring stories. So while we're on the topic of helping others, I thought it was time to update our repertoire of stories about times strangers have stepped up when we needed it.

So let's hear them!

Oh my gosh. I just asked you to do so much. Hashtag I guess this isn't even America anymore.

~It Just Gets Stranger