The holidays can be a stressful time of year—parties to attend, gifts to buy, food to cook. Not to mention the dilemma hitting gamers across the country: XBox One or PS4? Or the anxiety Tolkien fans are feeling about this mysterious Tauriel character. Yes, the stress levels are astronomical. The one thing that shouldn’t be stressful is giving back to those who maybe don’t have the luxury to worry about how quickly your Doctor Who: Series 1-7 limited-edition Blu-Ray gift set (complete with sonic screwdriver) will arrive. So in honor of the holiday shopping season, we present Seattle’s giving geeks and the charities they support.
Child’s Play Founded in 2003 by the creators of web comic Penny Arcade, Child’s Play aims to improve the lives of children in hospitals all over the world with the gift of toys and games. Gamers help raise money for Child’s Play through per-hour pledges for gaming marathons of more than 24 hours. Click on the link above to find gamers, or to find a hospital with a wish list of items you can gift directly. You can also donate cash. As Child’s Play notes “Studies have shown that children able to play games while undergoing painful procedures request less pain medication.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters and Wizards of the Coast Last month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and Wizards of the Coast launched their first Beyond School Walls project, an amazing program that connects youth with Wizards employees, providing mentoring and an environment where they can play games, make art, or just talk. Twice a month, students visit to learn about gaming directly from the masters. In the new year, we hope more Northwest nerds will volunteer to participate, or become a Big Brother or Big Sister and help foster the next generation of geeks.
Seattle Browncoats Charities This is kind of a super-charity, and it needs your help. Named after the Firefly fan base known as Browncoats, SB Charities raises money for other charities through the power of nerds. The big annual fundraiser, “Can’t Stop the Serenity,” is held each summer (date TBD), but they also host events year-round, including monthly Geek Bingo at Greenwood’s Wayward Coffeehouse and Otherworlds in Edmonds. If you can’t make it to bingo, you can donate online in exchange for a Jayne hat, which has become an iconic symbol of Firefly. SB Charities has been busy raising money for Equality Now and Northwest Harvest, but they are currently in danger of closing! The non-profit desperately needs more volunteers (including knitters to make Jayne hats) and board members. Please help keep them flying and consider donating your time (yarn and cash are helpful too). With your help, no power in the ’verse can stop their good deeds.
Give a Goat Founded by CoinLab, a local startup that focuses on the digital currency bitcoins, Give a Goat lets volunteers donate their idle Graphic Cards’ computational power to generate bitcoins (i.e., raises money). CoinLab then donates 100 percent of the proceeds to Heifer International to purchase goats, which are given to needy families in more than 40 countries, including the U.S. The goats provide not only milk and fertilizer, but also a source of income through selling the extra milk and any goats that are bred. All you need to do is download their beta version and turn it on (the program requires Windows XP or greater, and one or more up-to-date Graphics Cards). You know that kickass gaming computer you have? Yeah, think of all the goats you could donate! (It also gives you a reason to update your Graphic Cards.)