Playing a video game can sometimes be the most selfish thing that someone can do with their time. I know, from personal experience, that shutting yourself in a dark room, with plenty of drinks and snacks, on a cold rainy day, could be one of the best video game sessions of your life. Spending long hours in front of a TV can seem like a huge waste of time, but it can also be pretty relaxing. We all need a way to unwind, and instead of doing drugs and robbing liquor stores, I have chosen to play video games.
There is nothing better than playing some games on a weekend morning after a long week of work, but what if you could game and help others in need? Well, that’s where some amazing organizations come into play. I wanted to just take some time and highlight some amazing charities that allow gamers to do something with their personal time.
1. Extra Life
I know that I have seen some of my fellow bloggers talk about this charity in particular, but I never actually took a deep dive into what they actually do.
Extra Life is a charity that focuses on raising money for hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network. The main draw to this charity is the 24-hour gaming sessions in which gamers will stream themselves playing various games for 24-hours in hopes of getting donations. Since launching back int 2008, Extra Life has been able to raise over $40 million for sick and injured kids from the selfish act of people playing games.
I wish that I had the determination to actually stay up for 24 hours in order to play a game. I have stayed up for more than 24 hours while working, but the thought of staying engaged with a video game for that long does seem pretty extreme. My hat comes off to anyone that can actually accomplish this. For me, I think I would have to stay away from video games for a while.
2. Games Done Quick
This organization is focused on speedrunning as its source of views, and instead of only giving their money to a children’s hospital, they will actually choose different organizations each time. They have been able to raise $16.5 million to charity and have had up to 2000 people in attendance for one of their events.
I actually spend way too much time watching speed run videos. I love watching someone beat a game in 15 minutes, when it took me a summer. Something about a well executed speed run makes me both motivated and sad for someone who would spend that much time perfecting the same game over and over. Again, this is probably something that I would never be able to do.
3. Humble Bundle
Now this is something that is more for me. I have actually used Humble Bundle in the past and the premise is pretty cool. Essentially, you are donating your money to charity, and in return are given video games. What’s better than that? I used this service to get a couple of games for my computer a year or so ago and everything worked as it should have. I gave them some money, and they gave me a code to a game. No scam. No extra money a month later. For someone who doesn’t have the stamina to play a game for 24-hours, or the patients to learn a speed run for a game, this seems like the best option for someone that likes to game and also likes to give to charity.
By the way, I got this list, as well as some useful links from Mashable. The internet makes things way too easy sometimes.
Now, since you have hopefully taken the time to look at these different charities, and maybe you are in the charitable mood, there is one more piece of information that I would like to share with you about a different charity. This one is not necessarily in reference to gaming, but it is for a good cause. And who knows? Maybe one day we will try to do something around the gaming community.
Not long ago, I was approached by a close friend of mine about joining up with an organization called 5th Squad. This is a non-profit, veteran focused, charity located in Mississippi. They are driven and focused on helping veterans in need, whether its help during financial hardships, or simply helping the community.
Now I had seen posts on my Facebook page of veterans doing good works around my community for some time, but I wasn’t really sure exactly what they were doing. They have been working behind the scenes for some time now and have actually helped to make a big difference in the lives of many who have fallen on hard times.
Many veterans who have served their country and are now back in the civilian life, want to have some type of mission. For me, it was getting back to work as soon as possible. I will always be the first to say that my deployment was defiantly not as hard as some others, but I can understand how some people would find it difficult to cope with getting back to a normal life. Reducing the amount of down time in my life was the best way for me to get out of shape and back to a normal life, but some are not able to adjust. Some are not able to hold down a normal job, or keep a normal relationship. Many fall onto hard times and can’t find a way back.
Before I joined 5th Squad, my friend sent me a letter that he received from a veteran that they helped out. Apparently this man was a Vietnam vet and he was having trouble keeping his lights on. He was desperate and turned to 5th Squad after reading about some of the good things that they had done for others. Within a day of messaging us, we contacted him, got some information, and later had his bill paid in full. We didn’t ask for anything. He had already given us enough.
That was the reason I joined. It was obvious to me that they were looking to help.
Next month, 5th Squad will be performing a 7 mile ruck march called Ruck-For-Rugrats. We will load up ruck sacks full of toys, wear Santa Hats, and march to Blair E. Batson’s Children’s Hospital in order to give them just a little motivation to get better. I have done my fair share of ruck marches in the past, each one more grueling than the last, but I feel like this one is going to be a whole lot easier.
Of course, all of these are worthwhile charities and they all deserve your attention, but if you want to donate to a bunch of vets that are just looking out for others in need, then send some love our way. We are planning a bunch of events all next year and we are hoping to continue to do some good for our fellow brothers and sisters.
Side note* I am not sure how the tax law works in different parts of the world, but if you would rather give your money to a charity instead of corrupt politicians, how about giving your money to charity and claiming it as a tax write off? At least you would know exactly where your tax money went.
As always…Thanks for reading!