The Big O

Happy Inaugural Day! Isn't it exciting?

One of the things I love about Obama is his message of change and how that change is up to us. That means you and me.

Can you think of a better way to celebrate our new president than by heeding his call to service? I don't mean "someday", I mean RIGHT NOW? 

(Wait! Don't go away! I promise it's easy and you can make a big difference by doing something borderline ridiculous.)

Quaker is kicking off an anti-hunger initiative called Start with Substance. Their goal: To donate 1 million bowls of oatmeal to people who need it.

In honor of this program, the lovely people at Quaker are donating a case of oatmeal to the charity of my choice. Awesome, right? Just wait - it can get better, and it all depends on you.

My case of oatmeal is going to the Elizabeth Stone House - an organization here in Boston that empowers women and children who take that courageous first step to escape domestic violence. Sometimes women stay in abusive homes because they and their children have nowhere else to go - and that's where ESH steps in. They do everything from providing emergency housing and meals (oatmeal!), to teaching life skills that help these families break the cycle of violence. In their words:

The Elizabeth Stone House is committed to doing more than simply
providing a safe space for women and children in need. If for example,
a woman comes to us fleeing a batterer, it isn't enough for us to
provide her with emergency shelter. We have to help her regain her
sense of self, support her in her efforts to remain sober if she is
struggling with substance abuse, provide help with her children, and
guide her as she tries to straighten out her finances.

Talk about change you can believe in. These are good people doing good work.

Here's where it gets real good: In addition to giving away oatmeal, Quaker has challenged 25 bloggers to get as many people as possible to post pictures of themselves with the Quaker Oats Man on Quaker's Facebook page. If we (that's you and I) win the challenge, Quaker will write a $5,000 check to the Elizabeth Stone House.

Just think of how much good that money will do. And all you have to do is post a picture on Facebook - one like this:

Photo 31

Easy, right? I KNOW you've done sillier things on Facebook. And you've got to admit this totally beats Zombies.

Care to join me?

Here's how you can help:

1. Visit Start with Substance to get to Quaker's Facebook page and become a fan. (Don't forget to read the official rules!)

2. Download a picture of the Quaker Man, print it out, and take a picture of yourself and/or your family with it. (You can have fun, but keep it wholesome please! We're talking oatmeal here.)

3. Upload your picture to the fan photo page, grab the link (Send me an email if you need help) and leave a comment here with the link to your picture. (That's a lot of steps, I know. But look at all the wonderful people that have done their part already. JOIN US.)

4. Pictures and links must be posted in the next 24 hours so that Elizabeth Stone House gets credit. That means we have until 9 AM CST tomorrow, but why wait? Do it now! 

In addition, Quaker will send a $1.00 coupon to two of you as a thank you (I'll do a random drawing), but I suspect that's not why you're doing this. Let's get that $5,000 check to those women and children so they can have a safer tomorrow.