What is charity? What does giving do? Who does it help? What is its real role in society?
“Getting is important, too, but giving comes first. We can scarcely open our mail, answer the telephone, or walk down a city street without encountering opportunities to give. In addition to tangible things, we give- or withhold- love, trust, friendship, encouragement, sympathy, help, and advice. What we give to alleviate the need, suffering and sorrow of others, whether we know them or not, is charity. What we give to prevent and correct social and environmental problems and improve life and living conditions of people and creatures we don’t know and who have no claim on us is philanthropy…” (Robert Bremmer).
At every stage of human development, we have always had the inclination to give. Who knows where this innate drive comes from, but it always comes back to the fact that giving to others continues to be one of the greatest factors of success. Giving can be done in many ways and sometimes we are not even aware of it. We give intellectually, economically, culturally, socially and even biologically. Few of us can actually say we have never been given anything in our lifetimes.
We don’t need to be wealthy to give back as there are many ways to make a charitable contribution that really counts. Little adjustments to your routine can make great impact on your community. I have chosen to be involved in adult literacy as I believe a lack of education can hamper a person’s life in many ways. It can increase the chances of living in poverty, vulnerability to abuse, becoming incarcerated and also hinder our ability to make and negotiate life changing decisions.
Here are some ways you can be generous and help others without stretching your budget or taking up too much of your precious free time:
- Volunteer at a local organisation – from animal shelters to fundraising committees. You can volunteer your skills to a cause you are passionate about.
- Give gift donations in honor of family and friends – there comes a time when finding novel gift can be hard (and really, do we always need more stuff?). Instead, consider giving a donation to a friend or family member’s favorite charity in his or her name. It will be of more value.
- Donate things you don’t need – toys, Christmas decorations, apparel, books, furniture, and so on. Partner with trustworthy organisations and individuals who will distribute your donations wisely and honestly. I stay away from larger corporations as I just can’t track (or trust) where my donations end up.
- Shop your local farmer’s and craft markets – Here in T&T we have many. There are even more internationally.
- Mentor someone – mentor someone in your family, community, office or as part of an organisation like the YWCA.
- Shop local – This can be difficult sometimes and quite expensive, but it will lend to local business and strengthen the local economy.
- Coach a youth sports team – community centers always need volunteers to help keep their programs running at low cost to participants.
- Cook food for those in need – and if cooking isn’t your thing, you can always assemble meal kits and deliver them.
- Give blood – there is always a call for donors.
- Assist seniors in need – we tend to forget the elderly. It can mean working in some way with an elderly care home or simply helping out a neighbour or family member with things like grocery shopping, clinic visits, gardening.
- Help build a house – there are many organisations, even locally, that assist people in need through building a home. It doesn’t have to be physically, but can be through other services or donating financially.
- Adopt a pet – forget about the pet stores and puppy mills. There are thousands of animals waiting for a home.
- Become an organ donor (I’m sure to be one when I die). Find out how to do so from your Department/Ministry of Health.
- Light up a child’s life – there are non-profit organisations that provide free programs to children living with medical challenges and their families.
- Support brands that are socially responsible.
- Get a haircut – if you live somewhere with organisations such as Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids, they will really appreciate your donations to make hair pieces for patients who lost theirs due to a medical condition or treatment.
- Ask you employer to give – some companies match your contribution to charity, doubling your donations. It’s great to encourage your company to be socially responsible as well. If you are a business owner, motivate your employees to give back.
- Visit a retirement home and offer to teach a craft, play music or organise something special.
- Serve on a community board.
- Host a garage sale and give proceeds to charity.
Do you give back? How? Did I miss anything that you’d like to add?
Thanks for stopping by!
Published: June 12, 2017 9:30 AM