The Giving Season

I re-read A Christmas Carol every year for three reasons: (1) I adore the descriptions of the food and merrymakers in the market near the beginning of the story; (2) I cannot get enough of the Ghost of Christmas Present; and (3) there is no denying the lovely reminders throughout that giving is the best part of the holiday season. (Yes, “giving” wins, despite stiff competition from Russian Teacakes in our household.)

My pal Matt Madeiro is a really good egg and the author of  Three New Leaves, as well as Make Every Day Count, and he’s come up with a brilliant way to celebrate giving, his birthday, and the holidays this year. It’s a do-a-good-deed-three-fer!

On December 25, Matt’s turning 25, but instead of collecting birthday/Christmas gifts, he’s asking all of us to make a donation to help raise $25,000 to buy a school bus for kids in Kopila Valley in Nepal. He was inspired by Maggie Doyne. Here, I’ll let him tell you…

On a journey through remote Nepal, Maggie met hundreds of children. Many were orphans. Each lived in poverty, and each spent hours every day trying to eke out a living in the remnants of warn-torn Nepal. Despite this, they greeted her with with warmth and a smile.

Pulling every penny of her life savings, she returned to Nepal. Over the next sleepless months, she did what few expected she could do, building a home for 40 of those children who had changed her and following with a primary school just a few years later. In just a few years, the Kopila Valley primary school has become a highly-ranked (and colorful) educational center, a second home to over 300 students from Surkhet and surrounding regions of Nepal.

The Kopila Valley Primary School is built on the dream of providing a safe, sustainable, and community-oriented home for the underprivileged of Nepal.

Matt’s trying to raise the funds to get the kids a school bus. So they can stop walking upwards of 5 hours a day to get to school — and can start taking field trips.

Here’s the deal: If you make a donation this week, the amount will be double because another generous donor has offered to match the money raised this week. So if you give $10, the kids get $20. How awesome is that?!

Read more about Maggie, Matt, the bus, the school, the whole shebang, and maybe make a donation right here.

May your holidays be filled with the joy of both giving and receiving. And Russian Teacakes. Definitely Russian Teacakes. (And if you want to read A Christmas Carol, get this  version; it’s a reproduction of the original manuscript complete with original title page and illustrations.)

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  • Carol says:

    Such a beautiful cause to donate to.

  • Janine says:

    If only more people would do something this (animal causes, the elderly, kids, etc) instead of camping out in front of Walmart on Black Friday…. It’s painful to even think how great the world could be for those who can’t protect or support themselves.

  • Tracy Lee says:

    This may not be the correct place for this but i couldnt find out any other place to contact you. Just have a comment on one of your recipes from Well fed. Tonight i made Bora Bora Fireballs. I substituted beef for pork as i dont eat pork. i used fresh pineapple instead of canned. They turned out very interesting, the texture was like a liver pate, no hamburger texture at all, just smooth texture. My husband wouldnt even eat it cause it was to much like liver lol. Any ideas why this happened. The only thing i can think may have happened is the enzymes in the fresh pineapple started digesting the meat. What do you think?

    • Mel says:

      For future reference, my email address is at the top of every page, under my photo.

      I’m not surprised you didn’t care for the meatballs — the flavors don’t mesh well with beef… and yes, the fresh pineapple is a problem. Lots of moisture and enzymes in fresh, that’s why the recipe calls for canned. I tested those meatballs A LOT to get them right because the fails are not pretty.

  • Matt Madeiro says:


    Seriously, thank you so much for the mention. These last few days have been incredible for lots of reasons, but I know none of it would have been possible without the kindness from you and your readers here (hello, Janine and Carol!).

  • Mel says:

    Matt! It’s such a gift to know you — I’m glad to help and you get a standing ovation for your spirit and generosity.

  • Apelila says:

    I sponsor a child through Compassion International and donate to help when disasters occur instead of gift giving but am happy to donate to this cause as well. Thanks for sharing the story here.

  • Jaime Urban says:

    Thanks for sharing…I was happy to give to a great cause. I also had to order a copy of A Christmas Carol. I can’t wait to get it.

  • Linda says:

    So want to donate but the site doesn’t seem to accept my Canadian address…any suggestions?