5 Ways to Make the World a Better Place This Holiday Season
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Stimulus funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program expired on Nov. 1, leaving 47 million Americans to mark the beginning of the holiday season with smaller grocery budgets and increased food insecurity. Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court refused to issue an emergency injunction against Texas’ sweeping new abortion law. As a result, a third of Texas’ clinics were forced to close their doors and women were left scrambling to find enough money to travel out of state just to access basic medical care. Around the same time in California, a coalition of well-funded anti-LGBTQ groups kicked off a legislative campaign that would limit the rights of transgender students across the state by repealing a law guaranteeing transgender young people the right to safely use school bathrooms and other facilities.
The holiday season is a time of celebration, but it is also a season of struggle.
With this in mind, Salon has rounded up a handful of ways you can help others, support a cause or otherwise make a little change in the world. Whether you’d like to support the millions of families driven deeper into poverty by recent austerity cuts or give a boost to little girls who want to grow up to become the next Joan Jett, we hope you’ll find an issue you can connect with and take part in this year.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
Help fight food insecurity
The expiration of recession-era funding levels for SNAP benefits has left millions of families, already struggling with unemployment and underemployment, facing reductions to their food budgets. As Angie Mogaka, a mother of two living in Denver, explained recently, even cuts that may seem insignificant to many can really hurt. “Twenty dollars is very — it’s a lot,” she told PBS’ News Hour. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a lot. It’s a meal. It’s milk. It’s vegetables. It’s meat. It’s something. It — and it helps. Everything helps. Every little bit helps.”
Salon is partially based in New York, and we know that 1.8 million New Yorkers are facing food insecurity this Thanksgiving, so we are partial to Food Bank NYC. But for our readers elsewhere in the country, you can look up the best local food assistance program in your area here.
Give what you can, or maybe call your representatives and let them know that cuts to food aid — of which more may be coming — are not bipartisan pragmatism, they are bad policy.
Help women access basic medical care
States passed more than 43 laws to restrict abortion access and 106 provisions related to reproductive rights during the first half of the 2013. But even in this draconian national landscape, Texas managed to emerge as one of the country’s worst offenders on these issues. Wendy Davis’ historic filibuster put Texas’ struggle on the map and galvanized millions across the country to take a stand for women’s health, but in the months since, conservative victories in the Texas state Legislature and in the courts have left thousands of Texas women without meaningful access to abortion care or other reproductive health services, like cancer screenings and low-cost birth control.
These barriers come at a cost. Women are forced to take time off work, buy bus or airplane tickets, and secure other expensive accommodations just to reach a clinic that can provide the services they need. It is in this context that the work done by the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity becomes ever more vital. The Lilith Fund helps women from Texas and elsewhere in the country offset the costs of accessing abortion care, and their services quite literally save women’s lives.