Members of the U.S.S. Thagard enjoy participating in a variety of social service activities, including volunteer work and raising funds for charities. Some of the projects and organizations supported by club members over the years are:
PROJECT H.O.M.E. (http://www.projecthome.org)
The Thagard's primary charity for the last several years has been Project H.O.M.E., an organization that supports the homeless community in the Philadelphia area by providing food, shelter, clothing, and social services such as health care, education, and employment opportunities to those in need. Through these programs Project H.O.M.E. assists people in breaking the cycle of homelessness and strives to help homeless persons attain their fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society.
Over the years, the Thagard has raised over $3,000 for Project H.O.M.E. through such activities as bowl-a-thons, yard sales, raffles and sales of the Norman fanzine. Members of the Thagard have contributed many hours of their time to Project H.O.M.E. including volunteering at the Down Home Café and holding an 'unbirthday' party for children at the shelter. We occasionally hold meetings and events in Project H.O.M.E.'s meeting room and an ongoing project is the collection of non-perishable food items, toiletries and other items needed by Project H.O.M.E.'s clients, for their use both in the residential program and once they are established in new homes.
Thagard members have participated in many charity walks over the years and are pleased to have raised over $1,000 during that time for the following organizations:
THE MS SOCIETY (http://www.nmss.org), which provides funding for research, as well as financial and emotional support for people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. This organization is very close to our hearts as one of our members had a parent die from MS, and we have had a team participate, sometimes in costume, in the MS Walk at the Philadelphia Art Museum since the early 1990's.
THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION (http://www.diabetes.org),which provides funding for research and supports the many millions of diabetic people in the United States, including the over 1.1 million Pennsylvanians affected by the disease.
THE AIDS FUND (http://www.aidsfundphilly.org), which is the largest private funder of AIDS education, prevention, and direct care services in the Delaware Valley, providing funding to over 60 agencies in the Philadelphia region.
ST. CHRISTOPHER'S HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN (http://www.stchristophershospital.com)
Thagard members have visited the sick children at St. Christopher's many times over the years. The children greatly enjoy seeing our members in their Starfleet uniforms and alien costumes, and have enjoyed participating in activities, such as arts and crafts and a puppet show, with us.
ELWYN, INC. (http://www.elwyn.org)
Elwyn, Inc. is a nonprofit human services organization serving children and adults with a wide range of physical, developmental, sensory, and emotional disabilities, by providing them opportunities to build independent, meaningful lives within their communities. Elwyn provides educational programs, rehabilitation, vocational/employment services, residential and other supports for living at several central campuses, as well as at local schools, community sites, workplaces and individual homes.
Thagard members were pleased to be invited to assist with Elwyn's outer space themed "2001: A Festival Odyssey" festivities, and over a dozen members attended in costume to help out at food and game booths. We look forward to supporting Elwyn's programs in the future.
SPECIAL OLYMPICS (http://somd.org)
Special Olympics is a year-round sports program for children and adults with mental retardation and/or closely related developmental disabilities. Several members of the Thagard are planning to join with other members of Starfleet's Region 7 to participate in the Polar Bear Plunge being held in January, 2002, to benefit Special Olympics Maryland. Our crewmembers will be braving 40 degree or colder waters in order to raise money for this worthy cause, and we look forward to supporting this organization in the future.
ST. JUDE'S RANCH FOR CHILDREN (http://stjudesranch.org)
St. Jude's Ranch for Children is a non-profit, non-sectarian home for abused, abandoned and neglected children of all races and faiths. St. Jude's is dedicated to breaking the vicious cycles of abuse and welfare dependency by providing a safe, home-like environment that ensures healing so that each child may achieve his or her full potential. St. Jude's encourages it's young charges to become independent by teaching them a variety of skills, including the creation of handmade greeting cards from used cards. Last year Thagard members contributed over 100 card fronts to this program and we are hoping to at least double that number this year.
DELAWARE VALLEY OPERA COMPANY (http://www.libertynet.org/~dvoc/)
The Delaware Valley Opera Company was founded in 1979 with the intention of conveying the love and language of opera to contemporary audiences and providing production and performance opportunities to Philadelphia area singers. The Company performs at the Hermitage Mansion in the Wissahickon section of Fairmount Park.
The Thagard was pleased to learn of the Opera Company's existence through two of our members who are also members of the Company, and we have been happy to lend monetary and volunteer support to this local treasure.
STARFLEET OVERSEAS COUPON PROJECT (http://members.aol.com/~beckythane/Home.html)
The Overseas Coupon Project exists to provide manufacturer's cents-off (grocery) coupons to American military bases overseas for use by needy American families stationed in these locations. Due to their income and family size, many American military families qualify for State-based direct assistance relief programs, but these programs are not available to American military families stationed overseas. This project helps narrow the gap between income and need for these families by providing them with coupons (which can be used for 6 months past their printed expiration dates) to be redeemed at the military base store.
Over the past few years, Thagard members have contributed almost $10,000 in coupons to this program, and the ship has received several commendations from Starfleet for its enthusiastic participation in the program.
STARFLEET STAMPEDE (http://www.serve.com/usspowhatan/stampede.html)
The Stampede program, initiated by the U.S.S. Powhatan in Virginia, collects cancelled stamps from letters and postcards to be sold to a dealer. Proceeds of the sales are split between four charities: the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNESCO, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief.
Thagard members have only recently begun participating in this project, which involves bringing stamps (either still on the envelope or trimmed with a quarter to half inch margin all the way around) to meetings to be forwarded to the U.S.S. Powhatan to be sold along with the rest of the stamps contributed by Starfleet members around the world, and we hope to increase our participation to the same level as the Overseas Coupon Program in the future.
KILOMETER OF PENNIES
The "Kilometer of Pennies" concept was originated in order to raise funds for the STARFLEET Scholarship Fund, but the U.S.S. Thagard has adapted this tradition to support other charities and projects as well. At each monthly meeting, the Thagard collects pennies and other loose change, which is then donated to a charity or designated for a specific ship project. In addition to the STARFLEET scholarship fund, funds have been donated to, among other things, support Project H.O.M.E., purchase school supplies for needy children at the school where one of our members teaches, support the Delaware Valley Opera Company and help finance the Starfleet Region 7 and International conferences.