Giving Back

This page is devoted to collecting stories about how others are giving back to their local community.

Thistle Farms Believes Love Heals...

posted Dec 26, 2017, 2:11 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Dec 27, 2017, 12:41 PM ]

Thistle Farms sells some loved products for body and home. The reason for highlighting them on our website is because of their mission "to HEAL, EMPOWER, AND EMPLOY women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction," and they do this "by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners."  For more information about their mission and products, visit

The Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption

posted Nov 30, 2017, 5:26 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Nov 30, 2017, 5:29 PM ]

HomeoAnimal reached out to 200+ rescues and shelters and created content based on the experience of over 200 professionals in this field. With the best possible content comes the best possible help for animals that so desperately need the RIGHT person to take them home. Since learning which topics are in demand, they created a series of 12 blog posts that cover such topics including tips for taking care of a new pet, the most common adoption myths (and there are many), and things to consider before adopting. Click link to article:

Project Linus Spreads the Warmth

posted Dec 6, 2016, 5:45 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Nov 10, 2017, 4:22 AM ]

During a career break, I joined my local Project Linus ( chapter to meet like-minded individuals who love to make blankets and have a passion to help others. Every month my chapter contributes 300+ handmade blankets to local charities including Children's Hospital in Washington, DC. It's been a wonderful opportunity to expand outreach and contribution efforts. Pictured on right: Karen Huffman, Blanketing DC, and Melissa Wilson, Children's Hospital Volunteer Coordinator.

Opportunities with "Journey to Action" Tours

posted Jun 28, 2016, 1:03 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Jun 28, 2016, 1:06 PM ]

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) is an amazing organization that I've grown to care deeply about through two life intersections:
  • Refugee resettlement: In the mid-1970s as part of my church's outreach program, my family hosted and befriended a Vietnamese refugee family until housing could be provided. Only a pre-teen I didn't really understand all the ins and outs of refugee resettlement, but my time with the Quan family -- especially the first weeks with just Than Hsieh, the eldest daughter -- is one of those moments in life I reconnect with even as an adult as I realize now that we were an important step in helping a family find hope in a new country.

  • Blankets donations: My charity "Blanketing DC" has been donating blankets for the last eight years, offering comfort for the people LSS/NCA serve as well as other local DC-area charities. Last year December when I dropped off the blankets, there families waiting for assistance and immediately gravitated towards some warm and cozy for their homes. I realized how many people just want some of the essentials and so glad that a blanket can bring some comfort.

LSS/NCA has developed a one-hour program called Journey to Action Tour that features stories about the people they’ve served. The stories told by their new CEO Christine Connell, wonderful staff members, and dedicated volunteers illustrate the work LSS/NCA does to strengthen lives, create families, and engage communities.

I highly recommend inviting LSS/NCA to your church or organization to hear more about the services LSS/NCA provides including adoption and foster care; refugee and immigration services; youth haven camps and retreats; and caregiver support services. If interested, contact Meagan Chevalier, LSS/NCA's Philanthropy Manager | Phone: (703) 698-5026, ext. 105 | Email: ChevalierM (at)

Artlifting Provides Homeless & Disabled Individuals with Dignity

posted Jan 31, 2016, 6:44 AM by Karen Huffman

Artlifting ( is a benefit corporation that provides homeless and disabled artists the opportunity to earn their own income. It "empowers homeless and disabled artists through the celebration and sale of their artwork." After seeing a news blurb on the Today Show, I was in awe of the idea behind the development of this company that empowers homeless and disabled individuals. Visit their website to learn more about their founding / business model and to purchase some amazing pieces of art!

Pay It Forward: Baby's Bounty

posted Nov 16, 2014, 8:08 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Dec 13, 2014, 6:53 AM ]

"There are few things more daunting than becoming a new parent. Now imagine doing so without the ability to provide for your newborn's basic needs. That is the focus of this 'Pay It Forward.'"

"Do you remember at any point during those first few months of your child's life where you went: 'Oh my, what have I done?' To say having a new baby at home is overwhelming is an understatement."

"But if you are lucky, you had the people and the things to help get you through."

"Well, one mother we met was so grateful to her network that she decided to provide one for those who don't have one."

Read more about Baby's Bounty of Maryland's Montgomery County, follow them on Facebook, and/or contact them to make a donation.

Keeping Dreams Alive from the Inside Out

posted Oct 26, 2014, 5:03 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Oct 26, 2014, 5:18 PM ]
Fayette Coppock and Christian Winters started The Feltonville Dream Center in Philadelphia for children in the area to experience the joy of dance who otherwise might not have the opportunity. The video on the left offers an overview of the Dream Center. The video on the left was featured on the Meredith Vieira Show. W
ith the help of CapezioLeon in the "Pick Me Up Truck" made a special surprised delivery with dance essentials and donation of $5,000. Heartwarming story of people doing what they love to provide an opportunity and build a community from inside out.

Feltonville Dream Center

Pick Me Up Truck's Special Surprise!

It's About Making Connections

posted Jan 12, 2014, 3:47 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Jan 12, 2014, 4:26 PM ]
A few year's back, I featured Cherine Whitney in an article "Why the Crazy Hats?" The Rhode Island newspaper The Chariho Times featured a story about her efforts on Thursday, April 26, 2012, that I thought was worth a re-post on local stories and people's compassion. So when asked why care / make connections with others, Cherine said... 
  • "Just to be able to really help someone in need, when most people seem to run away from situations like that," she continued, "and being a source of love and compassion, it’s my gift that I can offer."
  • "Just a gentle presence, which means being absolutely quiet and still," she said. "I will hold hands and whisper in patients’ ears, just to let them know that somebody is there with them."

Martin Luther King Day of Service (MLK365)

posted Apr 22, 2012, 3:12 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Feb 17, 2013, 4:51 AM ]

Life's persistent and most urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 16, 2012, many local area groups planned ways to give back during the 17th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King (MLK) Day of Service. 

My friend Christine has organized the MLK Day of Service effort for the last 10 years at the French International School of Philadelphia. The school organizes a wide range of activities for students in the upper and lower schools to give back to others (including making blankets for "Blanketing DC with Love"). It's an amazing effort that involves all age groups -- students, teachers, parents, and extended and/or adopted family members such as myself! 

Resource links:

3,000 Shoes Collected for the Needy

posted Dec 5, 2011, 6:26 PM by Karen Huffman   [ updated Apr 23, 2012, 3:50 PM ]

There are so many ways to give back/make an impact. My niece, Laura, who was “crowned” Miss Vineland in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Vineland, New Jersey, created a way to give back by collecting 3,000 pairs of shoes from her community which were donated to the Salvation Army to help people in need.

The following was noted in Vineland’s on September 3, 2011:

With support from the community, Miss Vineland 2011 Laura Huffman collected more than 3,000 pairs of shoes, which were donated to the Salvation Army to help people in need. “I was so grateful for all the contributions and how the community of Vineland really came together and made a difference in the lives of the less fortunate,” she said. Above, Huffman has some fun as her father, Tim Huffman, uses a tractor to load some of the donations into a truck for transport to the Salvation Army.

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