2016 #HolidayServiceProject Plan

We Are Small But Mighty

This year my heart just wants to split open and help the world.

And I’m sure you’re all feeling the same!

There are so, so many who need love from other humans.

Last year, it was humbling to join with you all to help the orphanage in Ecuador.

This year, we want to help 500+ refugees with vital needs at the Serres Refugee Camp in northern Greece. They need us. They need all of us. And I can’t wait to do something MEANINGFUL with you all.

Our numbers here at ABAL are small but mighty. So we want to see if we can push ourselves far as a small group to do something extraordinary between now and December 25th.

(This is the load of vegetables the camp buys twice weekly, which provides a bare minimum diet.)

(A LHI volunteer massages the hands of one of the most loving and sweet ladies at the camp, 
who is skilled in agriculture and plant life.)

Here’s The Plan:

Let’s see if 100 of us can commit to $100. 

Yes, I just said that. Because why not. That would be $10,000 – and that would be insanely awesome to send to a refugee camp, right? That would really move the needle and I know we can do it!

We want to send the funds to Lifting Hands International, as the Director there is small but mighty, too. Haley Smith is one of us – a woman out giving her best to the world. And she literally started a refugee camp in Greece, which is pretty much as awesome as it gets. Read all about Lifting Hands HERE (the organization is top notch and efficient and Haley is a dear friend of a friend. She spoke at the Refugee Crisis Discussion in Brooklyn recently.)

Write “A Blog About Love” on the donation so we 
can feel some togetherness in this effort.

$100 Ideas:

Now I know full well that $100 is not a small number for a family or individual to contribute. So here are some ideas:

  • See if there’s anything desirable you could donate to sell – like items you might sell at fundraiser. You could set a price and I can feature any of your items on the blog each day. You would ship the items to the buyer directly, but I would be the hub to try and get sales.
  • Tell your family that in lieu of gifts this year, you’re raising $100 for refugees and perhaps they could help you do that.  
  • Set up a sale of some kind with your kids. Perhaps they could make ornaments, Christmas cards, or baked goods and sell them to neighbors and family in exchange for money. They could make calls to everyone in the neighborhood and collect orders. 
  • Organize a family book-a-thon. Have the kids call grandparents, aunts, and uncles and say they’re raising money for refugees and see if they could send $1-$5 for every book read. 
  • Decide against that new pair of shoes this year – and decide you’ll go without and send in the funds instead.
  • Offer some services to raise $100 (for example: offer any professional skills you have or offer to make stuff/babysit/cook/clean/shovel snow. )
  • Instead of buying fancy gifts for your significant other, decide you’ll go simple this year with gifts.
Go forth!! We’ve got this!! We are small but mighty!!

Our Commitment:

1. Between now and Dec. 25th, Danny and I will donate 100% of the income from the next TEN Mentoring Sessions to Lifting Hands International! So if you’d like to see what this mentoring is all about, now is the time. BOOK A SESSION HERE. You’ll love it!

2. We’ll be posting a few things for sale, too. These will be our favorite items from Cuenca. The first items will be in a post immediately following this one. I’ll have two handmade wool sweaters for sale. Stay tuned for the rest!!

3. Instead of exchanging gifts this year, we’ll be donating money to this project.

Let us know in the comments if you’re in! 

And if you have ideas for how you or others could raise the funds, write it in so we can inspire each other. Of course, if raising or giving $100 is not in the cards this year, I understand completely. Please share this post and let your friends/family know of this great way to support refugees.

Write “A Blog About Love” on the donation so we
can feel some togetherness in this effort.

With Holiday Excitement & Love,

Mara & Danny

P.S. All the photos are from the Serres Camp except for this one, below. This is Linsey and Jo, from our blog audience. They attended the Refugee Crisis Discussion in Brooklyn. So happy to know these women.


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  1. Nora November 15, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    This is so rad. What a blessed idea. If we can't swim a full $100, can we donate less, like $20 or $50? JO!! how fun to see your lovely face. Hugs.

    • mara November 15, 2016 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      yes, yes!!! Of course!!! Any amount is HUGELY appreciated and goes FAAAR in buying more potatoes and vegetables for the camp. Thank you, Nora!!! XOXO

  2. Peggy November 15, 2016 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    I am in! What a wonderful way to direct the energy and excitement of advent and Christmas. I have been encouraging our Ward leadership and Primary to think on ways to serve our local refugee population. (We have Congolese and Sierra Leonese finding the gospel and joining our inner-city DC ward. The life that they have escaped…) Lifting Hands International is making service tangible and simple. Thank you for the challenge, Mara and Danny. We can truly lift where we stand! I will write you more privately to tell you another idea…

    • mara November 15, 2016 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      Peggy – you're simply the best. THANK YOU for so quickly jumping on board. And yes, I feel the energy of giving this year more than ever. Love that your ward may get involved in stuff, too. And yes, Lifting Hands makes this soooo dang easy to help as they're already on the ground giving their lives to this. And yes, this will be a challenge for many of us. But it's better for the soul to push ourselves. Love you!

  3. Wondering Helen November 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    I'm in! My husband and I will make our donation as part of our Christmas present for my parents, brother, and sister-in-law. Last year, we gave money to Heifer International (for a flock of geese in a village!); this year, my heart is with you guys and the refugees. Thank you for organizing; thank you for mobilizing; thank you for loving. xx

    • mara November 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Helen, you are a DEAR!! Thank you for this note and for your unbelievable generosity! And I'll just say again that this group is doing hard core work on the ground and your money will be used properly for those truly in need. Love you!

    • Wondering Helen December 15, 2016 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      I just made our donation, Mara! It feels so, so good to know that I can help in even a small (but mighty!) way. Thank you for this opportunity and for your huge heart. Love you, too. xx

  4. lindsay kjar December 4, 2016 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    We're in too! I want our donation to be very tangible for our kids, so we are going to sell artisan bread, and have them help with the advertising, baking, and distributing. Thank you for the opportunity to have fun pushing ourselves to serve!

    • mara December 4, 2016 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      Oh my gosh – – that is the best idea yet. So perfect. Thank you SO much!! And, I'm sure your kids will remember this always. I hear you on pushing ourselves to serve. I'm doing the same, thanks to this community. It's been SO good for my soul to make something happen. This week we have a few more "projects" that I hope turn into more pop-ups. Because business runs differently here, each "pop-up" requires about 5 or 6 meet ups with the vendors – even to get one or two sweaters. So…it's keeping us busy. But it feels good to do something.

  5. E&K December 20, 2016 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Mara, this is amazing! I have been thinking of how I can help with the refugee crisis going on right now. I want to much to go and help, and its just not possible right now. However, I have seen the online community of crafters and artisans and small business owners come together to support those going through trials by hosting auctions for donated items and goods. This is something I think I can handle! And since LHI is local to Phoenix, we are close enough to help in person, without traveling to Greece. Thank you so much for being so awesome and sharing this- I am SO happy I landed on your blog today at work! 🙂

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