Giveaway: Live On. Give On.

During the holidays, it is easy to get caught up in the to-do lists, travel, and frenetic schedules that can come with the season. However, some of the best and most memorable moments can be the simplest: spending time with family, untangling the bundle of Christmas lights, and trying to keep that perfect gift a secret. For many people, a huge part of the joy of the holidays is celebrating the people we are closest to, and focusing on giving – time, effort, maybe a thoughtful gift, and love.


What if we expanded that circle, and used the holidays as motivation to give back to a wider community? I recently heard about the Bakken Invitation Program, in which 10 honorees who have been given another chance at life after overcoming a medical challenge and have gone on to give back to their community are awarded a $20,000 grant to direct to a charity of their choice. Some of their stories are so amazing. I was especially touched by Lucilla Bossi, an Italian woman who started exhibiting the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease at only 36 years old. Deep brain stimulation now helps to control her symptoms, and she revels in being able to use the simple gestures of everyday life again. For more than 10 years now she has served as the president of the Italian Parkinson’s disease organization, advocating and representing those affected by PD. Her tip to savor a regular, busy day really resonates with me, and the way she is using her time to help others enjoy more regular, busy days in spite of the challenges of Parkinson’s is inspiring. You can read about all of the honorees and their life tips here.


Even for those of us lucky enough never to have experienced a life-altering illness, there are so many little ways to give back. To help you do something nice for others, learn more about the Bakken Invitation here and then comment on this post for a chance to win a prepaid $100 Visa card, which you can use to give back in your own community! The card could be used to stock food pantry shelves, buy holiday gifts for less privileged children, organize an event at a local nursing home, or donate to a local organization you feel strongly about. Even using it to perform a random act of kindness, like paying for everyone’s coffee in the Starbucks line, could have huge ripple effects. Share how you give back below before December 30 for a chance to win!

Thank you to Medtronic for sponsoring today’s post on giving back.

Update: The winner has been chosen – congrats, Marie! Thanks to everyone who commented – these were all such great ideas. You are an inspiring bunch! Thanks for reading The Boston Day Book. :)

  1. Thanks for hosting this contest!

    I’d donate it to Interfaith Social Services for them to use for their toy drive.

  2. Elena says:

    I donate toys and clothes.

  3. christina says:

    I’d stock the food shelves at the Women’s Center in Danbury CT :)

  4. Joyce says:

    What a great giveaway! There are so many great nonprofits and caused to give to right here in Boston. If I could use this for a random (or non- random) act of kindness- I would use this to brighten up the day for my colleague who spends all day as a social worker helping cancer patients. She is spending all her free time helping an aging parent who has experienced challenges due to illness. I would love to surprise her and brighten her day!

  5. HS says:

    We’re going to adopt a family to help with holiday wishes and donate to food shelves,

  6. Mami2jcn says:

    I would donate to the toys for tots program.

  7. Lisa Brown says:

    i would give to my local food bank and donate to charities that care for the elderly in hospices in our area.

  8. Jessica Beard says:

    Wow, all of these amazing people inspire me to go after my goals and do good for others. I love to do things for people who are least expecting it. I like to make care packages for people in my grandma’s nursing home. I buy nice cards, treats, and bring pictures drawn by my sons. It would brighten their day.

  9. Kelly D says:

    I found the stories inspiring. I think I would purchase items for my local food pantry.

  10. Melissa M says:

    I would use it toget food for a local food pantry.

  11. Sonya Morris says:

    I give back by donating item to our church pantry and baby corner. This is something that means a lot to me because we struggled in the beginning of our marriage raising a child partially paralyzed with Transverse Myelitis. By donating to food to people in need or even baby items for struggling families, we feel we are giving back.

  12. Amy Orvin says:

    I give back by helping to feed the neighborhood cats everyday.

  13. Kristen says:

    We contribute regularly to a few local organization, and this sure would help!

  14. Laura says:

    I love hearing all of these great ideas!

  15. Sarah Hayes says:

    i would use the gc to help out some small businesses in this area

  16. Ann says:

    I dedicate much of my time towards helping keep kids in my community active. I teach tennis to underprivileged kids in my community and would use the money to buy additional teaching materials and racquets.

  17. Donna says:

    Clent Benson’s story was one of my favorites. I thought everyone’s story was beautiful and really love how each individual faced their obstacles with strength and courage. I love that he is living life to it’s fullest and also helping our younger generation discover their passions.
    I volunteer at a shelter close to my home and love and appreciate the relationships that I have built there. I love hosting small events for them and would use the money towards creating more care packages for families in need.

  18. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I donate food and clothing each year. Our local supermarket always has bins for food donations.

  19. Marie says:

    I have known a lot of people close to me that have been diagnosed with diabetes. Krystal’s story really touched me because I do feel like diabetes is one of those “hidden” diseases. You can’t physically spot it but it’s one that can be very deadly if not treated properly. I love that Krystal has become a voice for people with the disease and is really putting her efforts into one location and doing as much as she can there.
    The people that I surround myself with constantly inspire me to give back. I’ve always been involved in community service activities and I have found my passion in working with underprivileged Hispanic children. I participated in the immersion program in my elementary school and I love the language and am thrilled to be able to help with translations and providing tutoring services etc. I would use the $100 to purchase teaching materials for the kids! – Marie (mijulin[at]cox[dot]net)

  20. Thomas Murphy says:

    I donate food, clothes, and money to my local shelter.

  21. Molly says:

    Great idea!

    My neighbor has a son with autism. She and her husband are very involved in raising awareness for autism through different events each year. I would donate this money to their next fundraiser!

  22. Linda says:

    I enjoyed reading IGOR CHAMILLA’s story because I do feel like education and knowledge are powerful tools. Everyone’s story was great but I really connected with Igor’s story.

    I’m studying to be a nurse so I love volunteering in my field. I’ve been working with the Red Cross and have learned so much from the people that I have interacted with. I really love helping and working with the little ones. I love surprising them with little gifts to brighten their day or by having little educational parties like trivia days. I would use the money towards the kids.