Throughout the year, we try to give back to any community we are in—but even more so during the holidays. Knowing how rough it can be to not have enough for even one good meal, we have a special empathy for everyone in a less-than-fortunate position… And try our best to do for them what we’d wish someone to do for us.
As we traveled this past year and our family’s eyes were opened to many different cultures and people groups around the world, we had several points of realization about just how bad it can get. We saw much extreme poverty—the kind you don’t experience in America.
I acutely remember my husband retelling one scenario in Istanbul where he was able to help a young man and his son, so desperate they were digging in the trash bins by the road for scraps of food. My husband was returning from the ATM and grocery store, and had about 10 extra Turkish Lira he was able to give the man (roughly 3 USD). The man started to refuse out of pride—but my husband, knowing the culture, kept offering until the man gratefully took it, tears in his eyes. My husband regretted he didn’t have more to give the man, as did I—but was sure by the time he could go to the ATM and return again, the man would be gone.
The hardest thing is to see the children begging with their parents. Knowing this is their life, and how hard it will be for them to have a better future without help. Knowing there are many, many children who have it so much worse than these.
This holiday season we are giving back in a new way, through the Johnson & Johnson Donate a Photo app. Through this method, it is possible for us to raise funds and awareness for causes we care about simply by sharing a photo—and inspire others to give, too. Since it’s launch in 2013, 1.75 MILLION photos have been donated and 179,750 people have contributed! That’s a lot of lives changed.
Another wonderful way to share holiday cheer this season is through the Save the Children “Gifts of Joy” catalogue. When you purchase any gift from this catalogue, Johnson & Johnson will match each donation, up to $450,000—building on a three-year, $10 million commitment. We especially love this program because it not only supports basic health and hygiene needs for families, but also urges policy makers in the national and global stage to prioritize investments in newborn and maternal health—something we think is extremely important.
As you’re going about your last-minute preparations for this holiday season, please, please think about the holiday preparations (or rather, lack thereof) for those less fortunate. It only takes a few minutes to use the Donate a Photo app or purchase a gift in the Save the Children “Gifts of Joy” catalogue, and could change a child’s life forever. Let’s spread that holiday cheer as far as it can reach.
Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.