News / Edmonton

Blogger asks Edmonton to #makejensday by giving to charity

One Edmonton blogger has taken to social media to ask the city to give to organizations in need for her birthday Sunday.

Jen Banks, wrote a blog post late Wednesday night after she noticed a tweet from youth advocate Mark Cherrington asking for a crib or bassinet for a young mother whose not-quite three-week-old baby was sleeping on the floor.

Within 30 minutes, Cherrington was at Banks’ door, picking up the bassinet that her youngest daughter just grew out of.

“Once he told me a little bit more of the story … it reminded me a lot of my past; I came from a not very happy childhood, and those were (similar) situations I was in,” she said.

“It really touched me. As he was taking everything out, I sat in my kitchen and cried for a while, then tried to figure out what I could do to help this, because it’s happening so often.”

In Bank’s post, she asked friends, family and social media followers to give to charity to coincide with her birthday, and to post a photo to Twitter, Facebook or email of them doing their good deed with the tag #makejensday.

“For me, it’s a special way to say thank you to the people who gave gifts to me as a child. For example, my grade six teachers sent me to camp because they knew my family couldn’t afford it. And that is a little beacon of hope that keeps a person going,” she said.

“People think we have to make grandiose things to make a difference in people lives, but it’s little things. It’s a used bassinet, it’s a kid’s snow boots, it’s a couple onesies, it’s a pack of diapers or it’s a meal.”

Already, Edmontonians have been stepping up to help #makejensday grow.

Dana DiTomaso  was the first participant in the campaign after she donated to the Edmonton Food Bank. While she often gives to charity without announcing it, she chose to be part of #makejensday to bring awareness to the year-round need for many organizations.

“The summer is a very low time for charities in general. I think that this is a good way to encourage people to give at times we don’t normally think about. Thanksgiving and Christmas are always time people thing about it, but summer is always really slow,” she said.

While DiTomaso was the first to donate, Banks said she is already blown away by the over 300 comments, tweets and encouraging words for the campaign from people in Edmonton and around the world.

“I’m just a little overwhelmed,” she said.

“This place has the biggest heart. If anyone asks me what I love about Edmonton, the first thing I will always say is that we have the biggest hearts. We open our hearts and do what we can to protect our community,” she said.

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