The weather this past December not only played havoc on retail sales, but ruined many holiday celebrations by causing electrical outages, undelivered packages and relatives unable to travel to be with family. CBN news reports that December brought the coldest weather some areas have seen in decades. I don’t think global warming was a factor this December. In fact this year a reading of 135.8 degrees below zero was measured in Antarctica, which is the lowest temperature ever recorded on earth, so even though the cold ruined the holidays for many retailers and families, in comparison to other places on earth, the USA made it through—but wait until January which is set to look much like December’s weather.
With this extreme weather we are having, I just can’t imagine what it would be like to be homeless during this time. USA Today reported on a financial advisor, Isaac Simon, who on Tuesday evenings for the last six years in Manhattan, packs his white van with soup, bagels, milk and oranges and drives into areas where the homeless gather. He also has clothes to help those less fortunate. When you think that New York City, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, has a census in their homeless shelters of 51,000 which happens to be the entire population of Charleston, the capital of West Virginia, you know America has a problem that we can’t just sweep under the rug. With that many people in need, we need hundreds of Isaac Simons to help just in Manhattan alone.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the US Conference of Mayors survey of 25 large and midsize cities indicates that homelessness and hunger have increased and are expected to continue to rise in 2014. The poverty rate in the US of 15% is still near the Great Recession’s high of 15.1%. In Los Angeles, 20,000 people sleep on the streets every night and 2,000 of them are families or children living on their own. Homelessness has increased by 26% in LA since last year. Chicago reported an 11.4% increase in the number of homeless families since last year. This survey also reported that 21% of people needing emergency food assistance could not get help.
In my city of Phoenix, nonprofit organizations and government are acutely aware of the issues facing the poor. We have St. Vincent De Paul serving over 3,600 meals a day to the homeless and families in need. We have the city helping homeless vets to find places to live off the streets. Two years ago, the city identified 222 chronically homeless veterans, of which more than half served in Vietnam. Our mayor, Greg Stanton announced right before Christmas that the final 56 veterans were placed in housing. This happened because the city council allocated an additional $100,000 in November to accelerate the efforts to help homeless vets.
President Obama’s administration has pledged to eliminate homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015, but it looks like time is running short unless cities and states get involved like Phoenix has. The Washington Post talks about the state of Massachusetts and the Department of Veteran Affairs have put aside dollars to hire veterans, some formerly homeless themselves, to help get veterans off the streets in Boston. They spend one day a week roaming the city’s storefronts, alleys and shelters seeking out these homeless veterans. The rest of the week is spent making sure those put into housing stay the course.
Now that the holidays are over, we as a society begin to focus back on our own needs in January. Whether it is finding a gym to get back in shape, or a diet to lose the holiday pounds, our attention naturally shifts away from those who need our help 365 days a year. Homelessness is not just the responsibility of our government; it is all of our communal responsibility whether it is in the dead of winter or the heat of summer. Obviously volunteering is the best way to get involved, but if you don’t have the gumption of Isaac Simon or the political prowess of Mayor Stanton, then helping out with donated money is a high priority. There are several organizations to support. The National Homeless Coalition, The Salvation Army and The Gospel Rescue Mission all make homelessness their priorities. And at DollarDays on our Facebook page, we are giving away blankets to help those in need, so make sure you nominate a worthy organization.
Maybe what we should all do is what the Lakewood Congregational Church Youth Foundation in northern Ohio does and has been doing for years. On a night in January, they sleep in cardboard boxes outside in the bitter cold and spend the evening seeking donations from community member passing by to help less fortunate families. If that does not wake up the younger generation to the needs of the homeless, then nothing will. Can you imagine if in every city in every state, we all give up the comforts of our homes for one night to experience the immorality of homelessness, what that would do for the psyche of America? I am sure that if we addressed this issue on a grass roots level and all woke up the next morning freezing cold and hungry, our ineffective congress would hear our collective voices saying enough is enough, and Congress would reverse the recent cuts in food stamps, show compassion with the new congressional budget deal and help those who need unemployment benefits. Wouldn’t that be a way to start off 2014…
December 31, 2013 No Comments
Reprinted from FeedFront Magazine
By Jackie Eldridge, Affiliate Manager, DollarDays
Google DOES rule the world. If you don’t keep up with Google’s algorithm changes related to content, you may be traveling in reverse. The freshness and quality of your content are more important than ever before. Post as often as you can and update trending topics related to your business if you want to make Google happy and ultimately obtain better search engine rankings. The most effective search engine content appeals both to readers and search engines.
Nine tips to help create successful content:
1. Create your “Own Voice”
- Write in a manner that is memorable and credible. Fresh, well written content will make you the authority in your vertical and ultimately successful.
2. Choosing the Right Keywords
- Search engines identify your website content with the help of keywords. These are usually closely related to the search terms that are entered by the users in search engines. Use keyword research tools like Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner for help.
3. Relevant Content
- Remember you are writing for your readers, not search engines. It may be difficult to use some of the popular keywords grammatically, but try. Although search engines look for the keywords in particular, they want quality, relevant content. Make sure the content is interesting and adds value for the readers.
4. Keyword Placement
- DO NOT to overuse (stuff) keywords! The best way to use them is in the beginning of paragraphs and subheads.
5. Keep it short
- Readers want short, succinct information blocks that can help them learn something, solve a problem or make a buying decision. Four to five lines in a paragraph is plenty.
6. Subheads, Bullets and Numbering
- Each complements short paragraphs and provides a visual break for the reader. People don’t have time to read everything they see. It’s up to you to make it as simple as possible for them to grasp your message by using subheads, bullets and numbering so they can get the gist of your content in a quick scan. Since most readers are “skimmers,” subheads can be a terrific tool to engage readers and keep them moving through your content.
7. The final check
- Read through it again only looking at the subheads, numbers and bulleted lists. Do you get the gist of your content by only reading these? If so, you have done well.
- If you’re like most, you are bound to make a typo or two. Make sure you proofread your content for typos, clarity and grammatical agreement.
- Never underestimate the value of a professional copywriter on your team.
Eldridge is a marketing professional and currently Affiliate Manager for DollarDays.com (Alexa: 3,913).
December 31, 2013 No Comments
Here’s a lovely letter that made our day from a teacher who won in one of DollarDays’ monthly Facebook contests, and has kept in touch with us ever since. In fact, Virginia Heraz, our Director of Marketing, visited the classroom in Waukegan, IL last fall! Really, this is what life is all about—caring about others and giving without expectation. Teacher Julie Ahern and her second grade students have a huge place in our hearts. Thank you to them for caring and remembering us during the holidays. From all of us at DollarDays, we wish you a happy holiday season! You make us smile!
Here’s the letter:
My students asked if I would send Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday greetings to you! They also wanted to say thank you again for the blankets that you gave them. Last week they completed a series of writing challenges and then very proudly received the blankets to take home for the holidays. I am including a picture of your friend (seen at the restaurant!) Ezekiel holding two of the ever so soft blankets. Miss Savannah also asked if I would take her picture (I thought I would include it as there is a child sprinting down the hallway, lol).
Thank you again for your incredible kindnesses towards my students -you are a Christmas angel to them. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and happy New Year. It is sub-zero weather here in Waukegan so I hope you are enjoying much warmer weather!
Mrs. Julie Ahern
2nd Grade Teacher
Andrew Cooke Magnet Elementary School
December 24, 2013 1 Comment
I love finding simple old world recipes and bringing them back to life. And this old world egg nog recipe is so delicious, after one sip, even egg nog nay sayers will have a glass! Or two!
This recipe is a delicious trip back in time. There are several origins of the word “nog.” One is a block of wood or a cup carved from a block of wood. I like to use a handmade palm wood cup from Thailand to sip my egg nog. An alternate definition is “a strong beer” from Norfolk, England.
For this recipe I prefer using an Oatmeal Stout. The history of Oatmeal Stout dates back to the mid to late 1800s, with the discovery that adding oats to beer made it healthier. This new creation was often considered a table beer and prescribed to nursing mothers and ailing children and believed to be a remedy for sickness in general.
Now that you know a little egg nog history, are you ready to try the best egg nog on the planet?
10 oz of oatmeal stout
4 oz bourbon (optional)
4 large organic farm fresh eggs separated
2/3 cup pure organic cane sugar
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another.
Hand beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
In the other bowl, beat the yolks, sugar and vanilla until light in color and creamy.
Add the milk, cream, nutmeg and cinnamon, mix until well combined.
Gently fold the egg whites back into mixture with the beer and bourbon.
Enjoy your egg nog! Happy holidays from Josh Froelich, DollarDays’ resident purveyor of fine food, drink and other random finds (he even makes his own wine). And of course, happy holidays, merry egg nog and good health from all of us at DollarDays.
December 14, 2013 No Comments
Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping DollarDays help even more families in need this holiday season. The response to help these families was tremendous. We randomly selected fifty people who entered their names. We will post the first name, city and state below so that you can anticipate getting the check in the mail. The checks were mailed in the evening of December 13.
It is our hope that the fifty dollars you give to a familiy, a person or a shelter will be a heartfelt exchange in the true sense of giving.
Look for your name below!
|Janet||Havre de Grace||MD|
|Kim||Port Saint Lucie||FL|
December 14, 2013 1 Comment
December 3, 2013 No Comments
Winners for our “Help a Family in Need” contest have been selected.
All winners have been sent an email. Please check your spam filters.
And congratulations for selflessly helping a family in need have a magical holiday, thanks to your thoughtfulness.
The winners are:
First place $2,000, Jeanie G.
Second place $1,000, Jef W.
Third Place $500, Jessica W.
And 15 people each received $100: Denise V., Elzabeth N., Patrick I., Faye D., Kimberly V., Carol S., Matt S., Kimberly D., Claudia D., Marilyn M., William S., Jennifer J., Amber G., Diane H., Donna C.
Thank you for participating in DollarDays’ November “Help a Family in Need” $5,000 in merchandise giveaway. You have made a difference!
December 3, 2013 No Comments
DollarDays’s heart is with small businesses. Our mission is to supply small businesses with quality goods at competitive prices so they can fulfill dreams of building their own businesses.
That’s why we have dedicated this month’s $5,000 merchandise giveaway to small businesses. Please nominate a small business in your community or familiy that makes a difference. Go to http://bit.ly/1c1lek1 to nominate your favorite small business! Share this with friends, family, neighbors! You can enter as many times as you’d like! Good luck and GO SMALL BUSINESS!
Winners will receive the following merchandise amounts: First Place $2,000, Secone Place $1,000, Third Place $500 and 15 winners will each receive $100. With 18 winners, you’ve got a good chance of winning!
December 2, 2013 No Comments
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and started in 2010 Small Business Saturday. November and December sales represent as much as 40% of yearly retail stores sales according to the National Retail Federation. Because Thanksgiving is falling so late in the calendar, there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This squeeze in shopping days has not happened to retailers since 2002. On top of that, you have Chanukah falling on Thanksgiving which last happened in 1888 and won’t happen again during our lifetime. This leaves only 26 shopping days left to buy stuff and Chanukah in the rear view mirror, so you can’t count on those sales, either. Can small businesses, who many are teetering on survival with the lackluster retail year, that saw bumps along the way like sequestration and a 16 day government shutdown, actually survive into 2014?
Who are these small business owners that may not be around next year? One section is immigrants who since the beginning of America have been the backbone of small business retailers. In Europe for centuries there has been a merchant class that had a long history of selling products into established clientele. Many laws in Europe protect these small retailers against bigger competitors. In America, the desire to throw yourself whole heartedly into your business by putting in long hours and becoming a beacon where relatives follow you and work for you to have room and board, is part of the price of entry into retailing for many of our immigrants. Much like the family farm over the last 150 years on the American frontier, it has become the family store for the immigrant classes to start their life in the New World.
Another section of small business retailers who have emerged are entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dream. Some may have worked for big stores and felt they could do it better. Others may be following an idea they have been honing since they first started shopping. These entrepreneurs are disciplined and are focused on making their business work. These individuals are confident and don’t ask questions about whether they can succeed or are even worthy of success, because they know their business will succeed. They are open minded knowing that every situation is a business opportunity. These entrepreneurs are self-starters, knowing that if something needs to be done, they have the ability to start it themselves. They are competitive, knowing they can do it better than anyone else. They are creative and can make a connection between seemingly unrelated events. But most of all they are passionate and genuinely love the products they sell in their stores
We know we have to support small businesses. The government has an important division known as the US Small Business Administration. Retired successful business people know that our small businesses must survive so they have formed SCORE (service core of retired executives) whose mission is to mentor and grow small businesses across America, one business at a time. At DollarDays on our Facebook page, we are giving away $5,000 in products to small businesses across the country, so make sure you nominate your favorite local business.
Americans have tried to not forget about their neighbors running the small businesses in their towns. In 2012 when Small Business Saturday fell on November 24, $5.5 Billion was spent at small businesses. 100 Million People participated in Small Business Saturday last year, but obviously this number is surpassed by the 247 million who shopped on Black Friday. Retailers know that an increase in sales cures most problems and evidently a decrease in sales creates most problems. None of us want to see more and more of these small businesses going out of business. But unless all of us step up and buy locally rather than have these local dollars go to an unknown chain corporate office outside of our city, we will see more and more of our neighbors’ businesses disappear. Local retailers give a city its character. When you think America is the true melting pot of characters, we have to support small businesses.
December 2, 2013 No Comments
Your employees love to be recognized during the holiday season (actually any time of the year!). How ever you reward your employees—bonuses, gift cards or gifts—they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.
But what do you do when you have 24 employees and have a small budget? If you bought 24 $25 gift cards, you’d spend $600. That’s too much for a small business! Here is how to save lots of money AND give a qaulity gift that will put a smile on each employee’s face.
Do it on the cheap at DollarDays.com. Order a case (24) of high quality travel mugs at wholesale pricing, pick up 24 $5 Starbucks gift cards and put them in festive gift bags (sold by the case of 24)! No one but you will know you only spent $253 ($10.55 per employee) on 24 high quality coffee travel mugs, each with a $5 gift card to Starbucks inside, all in festive holiday bags. It’s a clever way to save money and it’s a gift that will be appreciated.
See the high quality coffee travel mugs here.
See the festive gift bags here.
Easy, right? You don’t have waste precious time driving all over town for the perfect gift. Order it wholesale and online at DollarDays.com. We’ll ship it to your door! Plus, you’ll save a ton of money! Who knows…once you start browsing at all we have to offer, you might come up with a different gift idea!
November 25, 2013 No Comments