Today’s stop on the Women on Writing Book Tour is a novel that reads like a memoir. I had to look twice at the author’s information to make sure this wasn’t a true story. Author Nina Gilbeauu has graciously provided a guest post today on the subject of helping those in need, no matter what the time of year.
Would you like to WIN a copy of this book? Keep reading to find out how you can win!
Helping Those in Need All Year
by Nina Guilbeau
I started my volunteerism by mimicking Janine, a character in my novel God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same. She asked a homeless woman her story, something I had often thought about, but never did. After finishing my book, I went out in search of stories and ended up staying on at one of the volunteer centers. I give of my time, but I am in awe of those volunteers who have given more time for longer. There is always a natural ebb and flow of volunteers, but nothing like what happens right before, during and after the holidays.
At the lead up to our winter holidays, there is a flurry of articles written about how to help the needy. Although special help may be warranted due to the holidays, it also seems to imply that helping others is seasonal. Organizations receive an abundance of helping hands that trickle down to next to nothing as soon as a new year begins. However, the needs of those less fortunate do not dissipate, only the inclination of others to help. Often, for those who really want to help, the question is “What else can I do?” especially when time is limited. Well, here are a few ideas of what we can all do, even with limited time, in order to continue to help all year long:
1) Create a volunteer team
If you want to volunteer your time but have concerns about making long term commitments, chances are, you’re not alone. Find five friends, neighbors, church members or others who share the same desire to help and start a volunteer team. Once your charity organization has been selected, take turns volunteering. Many organizations have a great need for extra hands once a week, which translate to once every six weeks for each member of your team. Feel free to offer your time in other areas or on other volunteer teams. As long as you keep your scheduled team commitment(s) throughout the year, you will never leave the charity shorthanded.
2) Employer charity donations
Make the most of your volunteer time by checking to see if your employer has a charity matching program. Companies like WalMart will give donations to qualifying charities for which their employees volunteer. If your company does not offer this or any other type of program that gives back to the community, check to see if you can start one. It never hurts to ask.
3) Help in schools
Did you know there are homeless coordinators in many school systems? While the focus is often on test scores in our public schools, it is hard to imagine students doing their best when their basic needs of food and shelter aren’t being met. Contact the coordinator at nearby schools to find out the best way to help kids past the holiday season. Perhaps the gift of a daily lunch or sponsoring school supplies, shoes and personal hygiene products for individual children are simple things that may fit easily into your budget and go a long way in helping a child in need.
4) Donate public transportation passes
Many times getting to a place that can help those in need of food, lodging, counseling, job opportunities, domestic violence safe houses and healthcare means traveling across town. Unfortunately, women with children do not have such an option and must walk, often in unsafe areas. Donate bus or other transportation passes to outreach centers dedicated to identifying and engaging those in the most need within your community.
God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same is the touching story about Janine Harris who never really thought about homeless people. She barely even notices them as she passes them by on her way to work in downtown Washington D.C. All Janine can focus on is the shambles of her own young life, afraid that she will never be able to get past the painful mistakes she has made. However, all of that changes on a snowy evening in December when Janine unexpectedly finds herself alone with Vera, an old, homeless woman who seems to need her help. Now Janie wants to know what could have possibly happened to Vera to leave her so broken and alone.
As Vera shares her life story with Janine, the two women form an unusual bond and begin a journey that changes both of their lives forever. Reluctantly, they each confront their own past and, in the process, discover the true meaning of sacrifice, family and love. Although to truly move forward in their lives, they must fast the most difficult challenge of all – forgiving themselves.
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Juania Books LLC (May 5, 2014)
About the Author: Nina Guilbeau is the Siblings Editor for BellaOnline The Voice of Women and writes weekly family articles for online magazines. Her e-book, Birth Order and Parenting, is a popular pick with students studying the Alfred Adler birth order theory.
She is a member of the Florida Writer’s Association and the author of women’s fiction novels Too Many Sisters and Too Many Secrets. A winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award for her God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same manuscript, Nina’s work has been published in the short story anthologies From Our Family to Yours and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters. An excerpt from upcoming novel Being Non-Famous was published in the Orlando Sentinel as a Father’s Day tribute.
Follow Nina Guilbeau on Twitter
Visit Nina Guilbeau’s author http://ninaguilbeau.com/
Here’s how to WIN! Just leave a comment on this post sharing a way you can help those who are homeless or hungry–regardless of the time of year.
A winner will be chosen at random from all comments left before 6 PM EDT on Thursday, October 30. Winner will be notified by email and will have 2 days in which to claim the prize, or an alternate winner will be chosen.