Note: This is the do-gooder complement to our post on stuff to buy for moms.
“Mother’s Day–that’s such a Hallmark holiday,” skeptics have said. Well, listen up and listen good. Every other day is Children’s Day, or Husband’s Day. So you can suck it up for a day.
I kid (kind of). The sad part about Mother’s Day is that people should be appreciating mothers every day–having a designated day for tributes sort of belittles the other days. Let it be known here that my mother is the most amazing woman I know, but more on that another time. There couldn’t be enough tributes to her.
The Mother’s Day Movement was founded by six women who were surprised to learn that $14 billion was spent in the US alone in 2010 on Mother’s Day celebrations including flowers, cards, and meals. That’s a ton of cash.
“Given the number of women and children suffering globally, and here at home, it is time for everyone to rethink this holiday and donate a portion of Mother’s Day spending to those less fortunate,” the movement’s website reads.
I can get on board with that–note that it said “a portion.” I don’t need flowers or a card (unless crappily made by my kids–take that, Amy Chua!), but I’m not skipping a meal here. Though I will be honest and say that the idea of my gravity-impaired 6 and 7 year olds serving breakfast in bed has me mentally fast-forwarding to the vision of myself cleaning pulpy orange juice and coffee out of my duvet cover. We can skip that too, kids.
My jokey nature aside, there are mothers around the world who do not have the same chances as we do at a good and healthy life for themselves or providing for their children. This year, let’s take a moment to honor and pay tribute to them, giving a little tzedakah to make the world a better place for mothers and children.
A few ideas of where to turn to make a difference in mothers’ lives:
1. Google your local chapter of Jewish Family Services, which provides social services to out-of-work mothers, victims of abuse, and others with a wide range of support services.
2. The National Council for Jewish Women works in both the US and Israel on behalf of womens’ rights. In Israel, for example, they are supporters of coalitions that aim to ensure the rights and well-being of Israeli women, children, and families, including the Israel Forum of Foundations, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arabs, and the International Coalition on Agunot Rights (ICAR).
3. Vday.org is a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls, promoting creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.
4. The R Baby Foundation is the first and only not-for-profit foundation uniquely focused on saving babies lives through improving pediatric emergency care. R Baby Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that babies, including those in the first month of life suffering from viral infections and other infectious diseases, receive the highest quality of care and service through supporting life-saving pediatric training, education, research, treatment, and equipment.
5. The Fistula Foundation helps women in poor countries to have surgery to fix the damage done to their continence by obstructed labor. The foundation lets donors cover the cost for one woman’s free, safe fistula surgery–either as a one-time donation of $450 or a monthly donation of $37.50.
6. Half The Sky is an amazing book written by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. Their Half The Sky movement lays out an agenda for the world’s women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape, and maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute.