The Gift of Giving

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Deck the halls with gifts of giving this season by simply doing the things you and your family love to do the most. It’s that simple!

Gifts come in many shapes and sizes, and there are so many different ways to give back this season. Go to a light show, run or walk a 5K or take your family to a musical performance to help those in need. Sounds simple enough right? Some of the plans you already have marked on your calendar might just go toward a good cause.

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance – Ohio Chapter, a national 501(c)(3) organization works closely with people and families living with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). In 1974, four moms who shared the common bond of TSC came together to generate awareness, find answers and give hope to each other. TS Alliance has different methods of giving back to families fighting TSC, finding a cure, and helping improve the life of those affected.

“On a national level, we have annual walks which are our biggest fundraising activity,” says Donnie Bilbrey, co-chair for the TS Alliance – Ohio Chapter. “These walks are held in cities all over the country and teams raise money by participating in the walks and 5Ks.”

In Ohio, TS Alliance hold two walks – one in Cincinnati, new in 2018, and another in Cleveland. A third walk in Columbus is currently underway. Of course if people can not participate in a fun run or walk, donating online is always a good option (tsalliance.org) or in-kind donations for events and activities at their programs, according to Bilbrey.

What is TSC?

TSC is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs, primarily in the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs. Thousands of Americans suffer from TSC each year, and TS Alliance’s mission is to provide care and support to families who are suffering from this disease.

According to Bilbrey, the current estimates place TSC affected births at one in 6,000. Nearly 1 million people worldwide are estimated to have TSC, with approximately 50,000 of those being in the United States.

TS Alliance not only hold events that raise money for TSC families in need, they provide a well-rounded community support program to help lift them up.

“We have had local BBQs, potlucks, parties, field trips to the Air Force Museum, Disney on Ice, Monster Jam and even Marvel Live,” says Bilbrey. “This provides the family with the much need breaks from the daily grind while bringing the community and our families together for fun and smiles.”

There are many more programs and events out there like TS Alliance that can use help and support from the community to help provide warm meals, support, funding and smiling faces to those in need.

Giving Back 

You can help children, families and other individuals have a happier holiday by simply buying a gift that gifts back, taking your family to see a light show or visiting your favorite restaurant. Mark these charitable events on your calendar this season and give the gift of giving. Be sure to check out our fun Holiday Guide for more details on these festive events!

Christmas Nights of Lights
6201 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati; coneyislandpark.com/event/christmas-light-show/
Take your family to a light show and even better knowing it is going toward a good a cause. When you pay to get in, a portion of the proceeds goes towards the following local charities:

  • Salvation Army
  • The Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund
  • St. Vincent DePaul
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Starshine Hospice
  • Toys for Tots

Land of Illusion Christmas Glow
8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, Ohio; glow.landofillusion.com
Go through your cupboards, grab some canned goods, gather up the kiddos to donate to a good cause! Bring a canned good to Land of Illusion Christmas Glow and get $2 off park admission. They will donate your item to The Hope House Mission of Middletown. New this year, Land of Illusion is partnering up with Toys for Tots and will be one of the charity’s sponsored drop-off locations.

Sharon Woods Holiday in Lights
11450 Lebanon Road, Route 42; holidayinlights.com
Already have this traditional light show marked on your calendar? Great! Get your neighbors to go, too and let them know a portion of proceeds goes to Hands Against Hunger. All you have to do is pay to get in, enjoy the show, and feel great knowing that you did your good deed for the day.

Rose and Rex Gifts
Rose and Rex; roseandrex.com
An online toy boutique for little ones that promotes imaginative play! Rose and Rex’s mission is to give every child a chance to play while donating toys to those in need when you purchase a toy. For the first time, Rose and Rex is recently released its Calm Mind Kit. This calming kit teaches mindfulness and meditation to children. It consist of Calm Mind activity cards, maple wood stacking blocks and natural play dough all made in the U.S. from sustainable materials. The purpose? To provide children with a variety of tools for emotional development and well being to help them learn how to focus, self regulate and build confidence. Better yet, every time you buy one of the Calm Mind Kits, eight toys are donated to children in need through Second Chance Toys. See their website for more details.

Playhouse in the Park’s Annual Cratchit Family Food Drive
962 Mt. Adams Circle, Cincinnati; cincyplay.com/productions/achristmascarol
Help our your neighbors by helping support the Freestore Foodbank. Bring a nonperishable food or personal care item to the Playhouse when you come see one of their amazing performances anytime in November or December. Simply place your item/s on one of the barrels located near the Box Office and you just supported a good cause! Now sit back and enjoy the show. Food items in high demand include: canned meat products, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned soups, peanut butter and macaroni and cheese. Personal care items include: soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products and disposable diapers. For more way to give to Playhouse in the Park, visit cincyplay.com/donate/ways-to-give.

The Rusty Bucket
5035 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513-339-0150; and Dayton, 2812 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, 937-436-2426; myrustybucket.com/
Kids grow out of their winter coats quick! So give the gift of warm and toasty this season by donating a gently-used coat you no longer need! The Rusty Bucket’s Annual Coat Drive benefits the Salvation Army. Coats can be donated to any Rusty Bucket location. From there, the Rusty Bucket will distribute coats to those in need for the winter. This is the eighth year for the annual coat drive, and so far, it’s been quite a success – a total of 8,669 coats have been donated since it began in 2011! The coat drive goes on through Feb 1.

Amanda Hayward is editor of this publication. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio, a military wife and mom of two. If you don't see her writing for Cincinnati Family, you'll find her running, juggling kids, teaching group fitness classes and cooking up healthy recipes.

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