The 12 Days of Christmas

“DaySide” celebrates the holidays with a new segment — The 12 Days of Christmas.

Beginning December 8, we’re bringing you a twist on the old song by showing you ideas for giving to good causes this holiday season.

Day 12: Sending a video message to troops

Video View Productions owner Ed Deet started this service for a buddy who wanted to send a video to another buddy serving in Iraq (search). Deet's been helping people send holiday messages to our troops, but he says the project's been so successful that he'll keep videotaping messages throughout the coming year. If you would like to send a video to a loved one overseas, click here to visit the website.

And on the last day of DaySide’s "12 Days of Christmas" Chely Wright, a country music singer shared how she’s been visiting troops in Iraq and entertaining them with the organization Stars for Stripes. Her new single, "Bumper of My SUV" (search)is one of the fastest rising hits on the country charts and a portion of the sales of the single will be donated to Stars for Stripes. Click here to donate to Stars for Stripes.

Day 11: Offering comfort and support to the families of fallen soldiers

TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors charity offers “hope, healing, comfort and care” to the families of soldiers killed in the war zone.

In fact, TAPS has already reached out to those families affected by the Mosul attack, according to the group's founder Bonnie Carroll (search), who visited the “DaySide” studio. Also in the studio were Shelly Hall and her five children: Tyler, Tory, Tricia, Tony, and Tanner, who shared how TAPS has helped them cope with the loss of Shelly's husband and the children's father. To find out how you can help or donate to TAPS, click here.

Day 10: Helping care for soldiers after they're wounded in battle

“DaySide” featured two organizations that lend troops a helping hand. John Melia (search) founded the Wounded Warrior Project that helps injured soldiers. He even spent a week in Colorado helping amputees learn to ski. And Rich Lowe, a volunteer for Soldiers' Angels has adopted seven soldiers who are overseas in combat. To find out how you can help, click on the organization’s name below to visit their website.

Wounded Warrior Project

Soldier's Angels

Day 9: Helping a charity build homes for solidiers wounded in Iraq

John Gonsalves founded Homes for Our Troops a year ago and the organization, that builds “compatible new homes” for soldiers wounded in combat, just broke ground on his their first house on December 19. To find out more and contribute to Gonsalves’ cause, click here.

Day 8: Building goodwill between U.S. troops and Iraqis

Jim Hake is the founder and CEO of Spirit of America, a group that gives tools, books and camera to our troops overseas to help build better relationships with the Iraqi people. Find out how you can donate to Spirit of America by visiting their website.

Day 7: Buy two books that raise money for cancer research

“Why I Wore Lipstick”

Geralyn Lucas wrote “Why I Wore Lipstick” so that she could share her story of breast cancer survival and encourage women to get regular examinations. Visit her website to buy the book, lipstick and T-shirt with all of the proceeds going to breast cancer research.

“Robert’s Snow”

A children’s book written and illustrated by Grace Lin for her husband Robert Mercer after he was diagnosed with cancer. A portion of the book’s royalties are donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Day 6: Buying gifts with a purpose

Alayna Kassan founder of Presents for Purpose (search), joined “DaySide” to highlight some stocking stuffer ideas from her online gift store that donates 25 percent of its sales to several charities of the buyer’s choice. To date the organization has donated over $40,000 to charities. Click here to see the Presents for Purpose gift collections of apparel, jewelry and accessories.

Day 5: Supporting women rebuilding their lives in war-torn countries

Zainab Salbi (search) is the president and co-founder of Women for Women International, a group that helps women overcome the devastation of war by giving them tools to make a difference in their families and communities. The group’s mission is to empower these women with financial and emotional support, vocational training and advance women’s rights.

To offer your support to Women for Women International, click here.

Day 4: Helping the families of our fallen troops

Jonathan Durand, a freelance artist from Michigan has designed a print called “Home of the Free,” as tribute to our soldiers in Iraq. He’s donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of his print to military families who’ve had their loved ones killed or wounded in Iraq.

To order the “Home of the Brave” print, visit the Website or send $10.00 plus $3.00 for shipping to following address:

Home of the Brave LLC.
P.O. Box 12
Clawson, MI 48017

Plus, “DaySide” featured two calendars whose proceeds benefit the troops. The Liberty calendar highlights images of U.S. troops in action and supports the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund that provides college tuition for the children of soldiers killed in the War on Terror. The Defenders of Freedom calendar is filled with images taken by U.S. troops overseas and supports care package efforts and families of wounded soldiers.

Day 3: Giving gift baskets to seniors and toys to disabled children

Linda Dee, director of volunteer services for the Colorado branch of Volunteers of America (search), shared how hundreds of volunteers are assembling gift baskets for homebound seniors in the Denver area.

And Julie Jacono, a volunteer for Replay for Kids (search) explained how her organization collects toys and then repair and adapt toys for children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio.

To find out more about these projects, visit the websites below or send donations directly to the following addresses:

Volunteers of America
2660 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80205
For more information, call (303) 297-0408

RePlay for Kids
600 W. Sturbridge Drive
Medina, OH 44256
For more information, call (866) 973-7529

Day 2: Keeping troops connected to their families back home

Guy Gane, M-ONE Financial Services Director and John Kaczorowski, the president of the Buffalo AFL-CIO Council have organized a campaign to send phone cards to U.S. troops overseas.

To donate to the Connecting Our Troops Campaign — send checks payable to AT&T to the following address:

WNY AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation
295 Main Street, Room 832
Ellicott Square Building
Buffalo, NY 14203

For more information, call 716-852-0375.

Day 1: Sending care packages to troops overseas

Becky Mizener’s son Jesse was serving in Iraq and she often wrote and sent him care packages to share with his buddies in uniform. Sadly, Jesse was killed in Iraq, but his mother continued to send packages to the men and women serving overseas. Mizener is the founder of “Packed with Pride,” and shared the story of her care package campaign with “Dayside.”

To donate or send your own care package, check out these sites:

Packed with Pride

Operation Gratitude

Homefront Hugs

Operation AC

Operation Sandbox

About Dayside:

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