World AIDS Day. It also happens to not be new comics day because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Now, we may not be Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake or Alicia Keys foregoing all Internet activity until one million dollars is raised for Keep A Child Alive, but we can do something. Here’s a thought: donate the cost of one comic or graphic novel you would have purchased today towards AIDS awareness and finding a cure.Sounds easy, right? Most people don’t realize this, but charity usually is. Whether it takes the form of giving money, donating goods or your own time to help a particular cause, charity is not only easy, it’s rewarding. Comic book fans are a powerful crowd. I’ve witnessed it first hand. Sure we may have immensely strong buying power but we also have strong giving power. The last few years I’ve gotten a team together for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Muscle Walk (formerly Stride & Ride). I posted about it on my blog, Twitter and Facebook and was overwhelmed with the generosity of my friends and total strangers alike. This past March, geeks helped me raise $2,470 of the event’s $142,000 total. If you’d like to help my team, “The Nerdy Birds,” beat last year’s total you can donate here from now until the day of the walk, March 12, 2011. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization that was created to preserve the First Amendment rights for members of the comic community. CBLDF has helped support numerous creators, publishers and retailers in times of need. The Hero Initiative is a similar organization that raises funds for creators who need medical or financial assistance in desperate times. They’ve raised over $400,000 for those in need and even lend a helping hand for creators to find new work if called for. They have a quote from comic superstar Stan Lee on their website that says it all: “When you give whatever you can spare to HERO, you mustn’t think of it as just a donation. Think of it, instead, as a small payback to talented and deserving comic book creators, now down on their luck, who have brought all of us so much reading pleasure for so many years. It’s far more than charity. It’s a way for all of us to say — ‘Thanks.’” Movember, the movement to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. To show their support, men start clean-shaven November 1 and grow a mustache all month. Hill solicited donations to keep him going and even gave away his graphic novels and the keys from his famous series to people who donated a certain amount. He was able to raise close to $6,000 and all of the proceeds will go to the LiveStrong Foundation. Publicity Coordinator for Dark Horse Comics, Jim Gibbons also joined in on the 'stache-growing fun. I just recently found out that Saint Barnabas Healthcare System, right here in my home state of New Jersey, has an organization featuring comics. Superheroes for Hospice is a fundraising project for the Saint Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center (SBHPCC). They accept volunteers and donations of comic books themselves along with monetary contributions. There’s a comic book show and sale coming up on December 11 to benefit the cause and creators can attend to give their autographs or sketches to fans to help out as well. It’s important to note, you don’t have to be well-known name to make a difference through charity work. He may not have a million followers on Twitter but blogger Matt Bergin is ready to do some good. Bergin has created something called Comics Cure, a movement to encourage and inspire those of us in the comics world to use comic books for something other than reading and boxing away. “Our mission is simple,” writes Bergin, “Our goal is to leverage the power, compassion, and creativity of the comic book community to support hospitals and care centers across the country through monetary and comic-related material donations (graphic novels, motion comics, DVDs, toys, etc), fundraising events (in-store creator signings, sponsored movie screenings, collector auctions, etc), and charity publications.” Bergin is also encouraging those on Twitter to spread the word: “Geeks! Use the #comicscure tag to tell the world how and where you are giving back. You have followers, now be a leader.” Even if you aren’t going to take part in World AIDS Day today, take this occasion to think about the money you spend on comics or geek-related items and what you could do with just a small portion of that. Consider helping out one of the charities I’ve listed here today or another that’s close to your heart. Click here for previous editions of Hey, That's My Cape! Have you donated to any comics charities?
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