Because you can read this

In the early days of November 2007, someone hanging around Rockefeller Center in NYC might have seen a woman in a tomato costume dancing around the place while people watched, took pictures, and in at least one case – video.

One might wonder just WHY a woman would do this, so I shall point them here: Tomato Nation.

That’s the website of one Ms. Sarah D. Bunting, co-founder of Television Without Pity and snarkstress extraordinaire. I’ve had a wee fangirly crush on her for YEARS, but that’s not why I’m talking about her today.

Sars and her tomato costume want to go to Washington D.C. To get her there, We The Readers need to throw a whole bunch of cash at the Donors Choose challenge she has set up. Last year, there was some puny initial goal, and as We The Readers crushed it handily, she kept raising the bar, insisting that if we managed to donate enough money, she’d dress as a tomato and do a dance outside Rockefeller Center. Not just any dance, mind you – the Angela Chase post-Jordan-kiss dance from My So-Called Life (which, incidentally, is the reason I dyed my hair that wacky shade of red in the summer of 2003. I’d been watching episodes online. Now you know).

We The Readers made that happen last year. So she set the bar REALLY high this year – $100,000. In one month. If We The Readers hit that $100K mark, Sars and her tomato costume will go to Washington D.C. and see the sights. This must happen! Extra bonus? She gives stuff away! Prizes! Who doesn’t like prizes?

The happy side-effect of making an otherwise sane-seeming woman do these things is because Donors Choose benefits schoolchildren all over the country. Teachers can write in asking for money for specific projects – they tell you what they need and why. Most, if not all, of the teachers who write in to Donors Choose are from schools that are in high-poverty areas, and these kids are in need of basic things like PENCILS. Can you imagine going to school and not even having something to write with? My mom used to get pencils with my name on them for me every year, which was nice since Stanley Calhoun stole them one time in fourth grade and denied doing it. The proof was right there! Pencil! With my name on it! Thanks, mom!

But there are thousands of kids whose parents can’t afford the crappy embossed pencils out of the Lillian Vernon catalog and their teachers can’t afford to be supplying them, either. That’s where We The Readers come in. We The Readers go to Tomato Nation. We click on the link for the Fall Contest, which takes us to the Donors Choose page. We choose a project we would like to throw money at. We then apologize for ending a sentence with ‘at’ even though it is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, despite what you may have heard (that prohibition comes from some jackasses attempting to impose the grammatical rules of Latin onto English which is Germanic and perfectly happy to have sentences end in prepositions. Still, some habits die hard). We donate. The total rises. Sars gets closer to Washington D.C. Kids get books! And pencils! And stuff!

Last year, I bought a clarinet for a school in Neptune, NJ, and they sent me a thank-you package with hand-written notes and photos that made me all weepy. And you know how much of a blackhearted bitch I am!! I know some kid is going to make horrendous noises with that clarinet I bought, and that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. I spent many years making horrendous noises with a saxophone (and then an oboe), so I know what that’s like.

I know the economy sucks and that your 401(k) is more like a 201(k) right now, but if you have $10 to spare, think about clicking over to Tomato Nation to find out how you can help some kids who need it. Kids who will need it more than ever if things keep going the way they’re going now. If you are reading these words, it’s because someone taught you how to do that. Now is your chance to help another kid get the same opportunity.



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