Anderson-Messeder 12 Days of Christmas

This year in honor of the holiday season, as a family we are focusing whole-heartedly on those less fortunate than us. We are cutting back on overall presents, cards and cookies. With the heavier wallet and extra time, each of the 6 of us picked 2 charities to focus on this holiday season. In honor of the 12 days of Christmas, each day we are donating to the charities of our choice in rotating order.

Today marks Day Six of our 12 Days of Christmas Giving journey –

  • Saturday afternoon our family (except Thomas who is still away at school) went to Target to purchase toys, clothes, pajamas, and shoes for two little boys who are in a domestic violence shelter in Middletown. We really had a fun time picking out items from the heart. At times I had tears in my eyes thinking about the these two little children we were shopping for and how we are making Santa come true for them and their mother.
  • Sunday we honored the Connecticut Virtual Food Drive that we are running. If you haven’t already donated and would like to help us reach our goal, please do! We are 31% of the way there so far. The website is:
  • Additionally, over the past few weeks I have been ordering extra non-perishable items on sale through Peapod and putting them aside for the Cheshire Food Pantry. On Tuesday evening after work, Devin and I drove over to the food pantry to drop off several bags of items. We have decided that this is so important, so each week we will continue to look for non-perishable items on sale and put them aside for a monthly drop off on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
  • Tuesday evening Kieran and Gabby gave us a presentation of their two charities and their donations were made on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Gabby’s presentation can be seen here:
  • Gabby chose the ALS foundation. Her father’s cousin passed away fairly young from the disease, and now his mother is also suffering from ALS.
  • Kieran chose to donate to The New Haven/León Sister City Project. Last February Daren and I went to Nicaragua and learned about the vast number of ways we can help this country. It touched our hearts and the most profound message I took away from this visit to the Third World is that I’m lucky. We sort of both have a soft spot in our hearts for this country ever since we saw a House Hunters International episode where a young couple was moving down there to help their economy.
  • Hailing from a Domestic Violence home as a child, Tuesday evening we also watched a Ted Talk about Domestic Violence with Gabby, Kieran and Devin. Tonight we also made a donation to the Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury to help victims in our own area.
  • Lastly, yesterday our daily donation went to World Vision.

A little more information about our charities can be found below. I was inspired by a similar blog not too long ago, perhaps we too can be an inspiration for others. Cheers! Love! Hugs & Kisses, xoxo



One in four women are victims of domestic violence and many women are seriously injured or even killed by their violent partners. When there is nowhere to turn, domestic violence support services like New Horizons provide secret, secure housing for the short term while a dedicated team works with each woman/family to find them a more permanent solution. The legal team helps ensure that they are represented in the courts and makes sure that they are safe and protected.Last year New Horizons helped over 1,000 women in Middlesex County.

Here is a paragraph from their website describing what they do:

For over 30 years, Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) has operated New Horizons Domestic Violence Shelter, a 24/7 emergency shelter for women and children fleeing domestic abuse. On an annual basis New Horizons provides services and shelter to over 1,300 women, children and male victims. The shelter itself one element of a comprehensive approach to intimate partner violence (IPV) that also includes community education, support groups, individual counseling, court advocacy and consultation to CHC’s clinical provider teams. New Horizons’ staff members are part of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence where they advocate for ongoing advancement of legislation and policy that protect the health and interests of women. A 24/7 confidential hotline service is also available through the program.



The New Haven/León Sister City Project is a bi-national organization working in Greater New Haven, Connecticut and León, Nicaragua to promote social justice and support education and sustainable development. Through delegations and other exchanges, we strive to understand and celebrate our respective cultures. We also educate about the impact of US government and individual choices on Nicaragua and other parts of the world


The New Haven/León Sister City Project was founded in 1984, at the front end of a movement of sister-city relationships that sprung up between Nicaraguan cities and North American or European cities throughout the 1980’s. The fundamental vision of the NH/LSCP in the 1980’s was to create healthy ties between US and Nicaraguan citizens as at a time when the government of the US was engaged in an illegal war against the government of Nicaragua and its people. Our alternative citizens’ foreign policy had the goals of raising awareness among US citizens about the effects of US-funded war on the people of Nicaragua, and supporting Nicaraguans in their vision of creating a more just society. The NH/LSCP determined that its commitment was to solidarity with Nicaraguan people, and to relationship-building between US citizens and Nicaraguans, no matter who was running either government.


Many Nicaraguans continue to have hope in the social gains that the Sandinistas may be able to make during their governance; and many find themselves increasingly disillusioned with the party. The NH/LSCP continues to prioritize healthy relationship between US and Nicaraguan citizens, continues to educate US citizens on the impacts of US policy in Nicaragua, and continues to support programs designed to empower poor Nicaraguans.

Our Work in León

The primary work of the NH/LSCP in León is to support community organization initiatives in the rural community of Goyena, and to facilitate programs and projects that supplement the efforts of the formal education system.

This work includes:

Support for the community preschool with capacity-building efforts for the local teachers, and facilitation of an after-school program for first to fourth graders. Developing public health projects including clean cook stoves, clean water, nutrition, etc.Organizing Women’s Rights program and use of Forum Theater to explore conflicts and develop leadership. Organizing Environmental Youth Brigade (see article) and other sustainable development efforts. Organizational support for the parents’ council at the preschool, as well as for the community board of directors of the community. Support long term movement by community towards self-sufficiency and sustainability. NH/LSCP’s New Haven office is located 2nd floor of the First Unitarian Universalist of New Haven building at 608 Whitney Avenue where we’ve been for 17 years.



Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.

As the preeminent ALS organization, The Association leads the way in research, care services, public education, and public policy — giving help and hope to those facing the disease. The Association’s nationwide network of chapters provides comprehensive patient services and support to the ALS community. The mission of The ALS Association is to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy, while also empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.


 World Vision is a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.

Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, we serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. We believe in a full solution to poverty and injustice. We provide emergency assistance to children and families affected by disasters and conflict, partner with communities for long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor.


Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury

Our Services: Safe Haven provides emergency shelter and free comprehensive support services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Safe Haven is committed to ending violence and sexual assault by changing the social conditions and beliefs that perpetuate violence against women and children.

Towns We Serve: Safe Haven serves the towns of Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Prospect, Southbury, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, and Woodbury for domestic violence.

A donation of:

$600 provides one week of shelter for a mother and her children, including food, clothing, personal items, counseling, advocacy and support groups

$400 provides one hour of art therapy for 18 children

$100 provides three weeks of support group for 10 women

$75 pays for an advocate to support a rape victim in the hospital

$50 provides court advocacy for three victims whose partners have been arrested or pays for three presentations to 2nd graders to stop bullying

$25 pays for dinner for 8 women and 7 children at the shelter or a birthday party for a shelter child.


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