No doubt 2009 was a tough year.  That said, we are so beyond lucky and blessed in so many ways there is no better time to give back than during the holidays.  

TheBPlot reader, Heather Jensen of Asbury Park, sent in a few super-fantastic socially conscious charity gift suggestions…  


Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.  Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.  Click here for more. 


Donors Choose – an Asbury Park classroom 

Donors Choose helps us help Asbury Park – or other city’s – teachers.  You can browse project requests posted by teachers and give any amount to the one that makes your eye twinkle.  Once a project reaches its funding goal, Donors Choose delivers the specific materials to the school.  You get photos of your project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent.  If you give over $100, you’ll also receive hand-written thank-you letters from the students. 

As of deadline, there were five requests from teachers in Asbury Park.  Mrs. N says, “My students need three sets of High Interest Books for Reluctant Readers, levels 5-7.”  Mrs. K says, “I was hired as the school’s first basic skills teacher to support students who cannot be offered classified educational services.  My students need stamps, charts, music CDs, phonics and other materials that can be used for hands-on instruction.”  Click here for Asbury Park teacher requests. 

Lend For Peace 

Founded by two Jews and two Palestinians, LendforPeace was created to enable people of all faiths and backgrounds to make a tangible difference in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Using this site, you can make a loan directly to a vetted micro-entrepreneur in the West Bank. Click here for more.  

Best Friends Animal Society 

For more than 25 years, Best Friends Animal Society has been guided by a simple philosophy: kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us.  As the flagship of a grassroots network of people and organizations that care about animals, Best Friends continues to place dogs and cats who were considered “unadoptable” into good homes, and to reduce the number of unwanted pets through effective spay and neuter programs.  A better world through kindness to animals.  

Best Friends is the organization that rehabilitated some of Michael Vick’s dogs when other companion animal organizations said they should be euthanized.  Click here for more.  

While we are on the topic of benevolance, Asbury Bark [photo left] is hosting its annual Pet Photos with Santa, Saturday (Dec. 12) from noon until 4 pm.  A portion of the proceeds benefit the Greyhound Friends of New Jersey.  Call to reserve a time or for more info:  732.775.4801.