Make a plan to be prepared, give more

One of the best things about a new year is the clean slate it represents. It’s a great time to evaluate priorities, reflect on what went right and what didn’t in the year that’s just passed and decide what new strategies may yield better results.  It’s also a good time of year to look at what didn’t get checked off that to-do list. By this time in January, many of those who make New Year’s resolutions have already been defeated by their good intentions. But we’re not ready to give up on the hope a new year brings with it. With that in mind, we have two resolutions for us all:

• Resolve to be prepared. That resolution comes at the urging of the American Red Cross of Alaska, who in the first few days of 2013 saw a 24-unit apartment complex fire in Anchorage and a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that shook Southeast Alaska, followed by the threat of a tsunami.

No matter where you live in Alaska, there’s a need to be prepared. Severe weather conditions, flooding, tsunamis, volcanoes and wildfire should all provide plenty of incentive to be prepared before disaster strikes.

“Get a kit. Make a plan. Be prepared. Those are three important and lifesaving steps that should be followed by everyone, as emergencies can strike anywhere, anytime,” says Tanguy Libbrecht, CEO the American Red Cross of Alaska.

To learn how your family can better prepare for emergencies, visit The web site also has helpful information for how to prepare for a disaster.

• Resolve to give more this year than last. In this economy, it’s still tough to think about giving since so many people are struggling just to make ends meet. But each year Alaskans receive something their friends and relatives who live in other places don’t get: an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend check. The Pick. Click. Give program makes sharing your dividend with a variety of nonprofits, including several on the Kenai Peninsula, easy. The application period for the 2013 dividend has opened. If you haven’t donated through Pick. Click. Give. in previous years, maybe you can this year. If you’ve ever wanted to be a philanthropist, here’s a good way to start. 

Southern Kenai Peninsula organizations that participate in the program include: the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the Anchor Point Public Library, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula, Bunnell Street Arts Center, Cook Inletkeeper, Friends of the Homer Public Library, Kenai Peninsula United Way, Homer Animal Friends, Homer Council on the Arts, Homer Food Pantry, The Homer Foundation, Homer Senior Citizens Inc., Hospice of Homer, NAMI Alaska, Pier One Theatre, Pratt Museum, The Salvation Army, South Peninsula Haven House and the Village of Razdolna Inc.

As important as money is to helping area nonprofits survive, there are other ways you can help. Your time and talents are needed by a variety of agencies. Let 2013 be the year others benefit from the gifts that are uniquely yours.

It’s no secret: Resolutions without a plan are just wishful thinking. This year, make a plan so you and your loved ones will be prepared if and when disaster strikes and make a plan that allows you to give more to others. It’s likely to make you appreciate what you have a whole lot more.