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What is the 2013 Holiday Helper?

As some of you may know, every year around the holidays we have had a little something here at Mothering known as the Holiday Helper thread. It started in 2003 with a simple post by Tracy and grew quickly into something quite magical-Mothering moms helping Mothering moms. We really appreciate the huge efforts of Tracy, Gemini, SpatulaGirl, JustVanessa, DreamsInDigital, and Maluhia and many others to make things work in past years.

This year, the need throughout the community here on Mothering is greater than ever. Many more families are hurting financially. We feel so blessed to be surrounded by members who care so deeply for each other and are glad to provide a forum where you can help one another.

Much love and peace to everyone throughout the holiday season and into the new year.

What are the Rules & Guidelines for the HH Forum?
This forum will be moderated and only threads started by the facilitators will be approved. Please do not start new threads in this forum or they will be deleted without notice.

We do ask that you remember the Mothering User Agreement when posting here, and please note that we cannot allow:
* Auctions
* Raffles
* Sales or solicitations

Please DO NOT spam forums to spread the word. There will be one moving thread that will float randomly from forum to forum. See if you can find it. Bump it up! Please DO use your signature to advertise that the Holiday Helper is up and running again this year.

How do I put Holiday Helper in my signature?
To get the word out about the Holiday Helper, you may 'advertise it' by directing members to the HH forum in your signature (example: Please Help A Family in Need: Check out the Holiday Helper Forum). Feel free to put the non-linking but very fun Holiday Helper smile into your signature:
You can select this smiley from the smiley menu.

Please do not post or advertise the Holiday Helper in posts/threads on the boards. Those posts will be removed without notice. Please do not LINK to the HH Thread as links are no longer allowed in signatures without a business signature.

Why Isn't My Thread Showing Up?
As stated in the intro, only threads started by HH organizers will be approved. You can reply to an ongoing thread with your question or PM one of this year's coordinators or facilitators.

Am I eligible to be a family in need (FIN)?
* FIN must have "significant financial need"
* FIN must have 250 posts as of October 21, 2013 *and* 6 months of consistently active membership from April 21, 2013 to October 21, 2013.
* FIN sign up will begin Noon Pacific Daylight Time October 21, 2013, and the first 50 complete, and eligible, applications will be chosen with the next 50 held aside for round two if we have enough families with needs met.
* Fully completed forms, including first and last name will be given priority.

How can I sign up to be a Family In Need (FIN)?
FIN sign up will begin at Noon Pacific Daylight Time October 21, 2013 and must be received by November 29, 2013, 5 pm Pacific Daylight Time. You can sign up by PM'ing AdinaL, with the filled out 2013 HOLIDAY HELPER APPLICATION form; please copy and paste the form which can be found here into your PM). Applications will be dealt with on a first come first-served basis. Please be sure to list both first and last name and physical mailing address. Completed forms with specific information will be given priority.

What can I request as a Family In Need (FIN)?
Requests can include gently used or new items including clothing, toys; books, music, or other media; diapers; kitchen items or other housewares; body care items; arts and crafts supplies; maternity, birth, and breastfeeding supplies; babywearing items; and carseats, strollers, or other gear. Gift cards might be requested for your family as a whole, but cannot be included as requests for an individual member of your family.

All requests must be specific. If you are asking for books for a person in your family, include with some subjects or authors that you or the member of your family are interested in. If you are asking for a clothing outfit for yourself or a member of your family, sizes must be included. Please note that a request such as "books, legos, computer game, baby doll" would not be considered one request or be considered specific. Requests must be narrowed down to something like: a lego set or the name of a specific lego set.

For requests for your family as a whole, if you'd like to request a gift card, please list a couple of options of places from which a gift card would be helpful. We are most able to meet needs from stores that are nation-wide companies (in your country) or have online stores.

Please limit your overall list to 3 items/person in your family and 2 requests for your family as a whole to allow for Mothering to have the best possible chance of meeting everyone's needs.

What can I expect to receive as a FIN in 2013?
The HH program will do its best to help out with gently used toys, clothing, coats, diapers, and other items, especially for children. If you need adult clothing or coats, please let us know; however much more children's clothing is available than adult clothing. In previous years we have been able to provide gift cards to about half of the FINs. Gift cards are not always readily available, however, and we will be moving families to "needs met" when we have met the other requests to the best of our ability.

Can you help me with my mortgage, tuition, heating bill, etc.?
No, because our helpers are also struggling we've removed this portion from Holiday Helper. Please leave these requests out of your family statement and needs listed. We have a sticky listing other sources of assistance.

Who will see my FIN information?
For privacy and security, your username will only be available to two Mothering Administrators (Cynthia Mosher & AdinaL), the Mothering Holiday Helper Moderator (HappyHappyMommy), and the Holiday Helper Facilitator coordinating the I Have Available list (QueenoftheMeadow). In an effort to keep usernames private, we ask that you communicate to these central coordinators for HH. Your list of needs and family statement will be posted in the HH forum for everyone to see, along with your FIN number and state or province of residence. Your name (not your Mothering username) and address will be released to helpers who offer to send items to you.

What about Thank Yous?
As in the past, thanking Helpers is not required but it is a much appreciated step that our FINs can take to warm the hearts of Helper Mamas. This year we will be emailing a "Thank You" login to the FINs and they will be able to post their own Thank You notes.

Who do I contact if I need to update or change my profile information?
We will be using central contact people this year in order to keep user names private. You may PM HappyHappyMommy if you have questions or concerns related to your profile information (or the HH coordinator (AdinaL) if it is urgent).

How can I be a helper?
First, make a list of what you have available. A gently used outgrown children's coat? Gently used toys or books? Are you willing to go shopping to pick out a special gift for a young child? Starting on or about November 6th, check the "Master Needs List", or PM one of the facilitators in the list below. Any facilitator can take care of your entire list, for example, if you have items for more than one family, you can PM just one facilitator if you like.

2013 Coordinators and Facilitators:


AdinaL- Coordinator
HappyHappyMommy - Assistant Coordinator


QueenoftheMeadow - I Have Available Coordinator





If you have items to offer that don't appear on the "Master Needs List," please a make a post listing the items to the "I Have Available" thread.

We are pleased to be able to offer something for our helpers this year! Anyone who provides an item or items--including gift cards--in response to a FIN's requests (check the family profiles here or the Master Needs List here) or who posts to offer something on the I Have Available thread will be entered into a raffle to win a supporting membership at Mothering (supporter package #1). At the end of Holiday Helper, we will draw names to select three helpers to receive supporting membership at Mothering.

How can I be a facilitator?
Want to help match Families in Need to our Holiday Helpers? We're looking for some folks to help us fulfill holiday wishes for our families in need. Contact HappyHappyMommy as soon as possible and before November 2, 2013 if you are interested!!

What does gently used mean?

Items provided may be new or used, but must match the request made by the FIN. If the items are used, they must be in good condition (e.g for clothing or other linens, no holes or stains; for toys, all parts working and including; for books, no tears or marks). In other words, all items must be in condition that you would feel comfortable receiving as gift from a family member/close friend or giving as a gift to a family member/close friend. If you have any questions, please read this post for further details or contact a HH coordinator or facilitator.

When will Holiday Helper 2013 end?

January 15, 2014.

Other questions?
If you have any further questions regarding eligibility or rules please PM AdinaL. When PMing offerings to our Coordinators and Facilitators please give 24-48 hours to update FIN profile information and to reply to questions you may have; we hope to be very busy spreading the joy!
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