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Giving a little, when You Don't Have alot!
How to give or be charitable on a budget.
The Golden Rule... something most live by regardless of their beliefs. Doing unto others what we would have them do unto us teaches charity, giving, loving, sharing and caring; resulting in gratitude and humility...not to mention it makes for good karma.
There are many ways in which we can be charitable but our lifestyles may not allow giving to a grand extent. For example, being a student means cash is 'tight' and strict budgeting becomes pivotal to student life. For the rest of the world, during the credit crunch/money pinching season, sometimes giving is put on the back burner because you find, you don't have any extra to give.
However there is more to charity/helping others than donating money. Here are my fun and simple ways of doing just that.
Donate Your Time...
This covers everything. Giving to others always takes time.
Make sure you set aside a specific time/day/date in which you'd spend, showing your fellow man some love. So as long as you're prepared to give some quality time, you've got nothing to lose but much to gain.
More than often just spending time with someone will suffice.
My grandparents, two of the world's best human beings...yeah I'm biased but they are truly amazing...have taught me the knack of giving to others and the joy it brings. The are both pensioners and in they're early 70's and for as long as I've known them (23 years) they've done all they can to help the elderly or less fortunate.
They prepare lunch for a few elderly persons that live near them, who are either much older than they are or 'shut ins' (unable to leave home). Most of them get care during the week from relatives or professionals, some don't. My grandmother will cook lunch and bake bread for our family, with my mom's help if we're around but she'll prepare extra, just enough for 5 more meals and a loaf of bread each. These meals are for the weekend.
I know what you're thinking...surely this is a money coster. Well it isn't not entirely. She usually prepares meals for 4 people...unless the rest of the clan's visiting. Then the extra 5 meals take the total to nine. The food she prepares, is what I would call 'ample foods'. That is food when preparing would be enough for more than one serving per person, like pasta, rice, cous cous. My granddad buys in bulk disposable containers for the food she prepares, they package it and drive around handing them out. I'm not sure how much longer they'd be able to keep it going but, I'm sure it's a factor in keeping them young at heart and happy.
So this is one way you can help. Find the elderly in your area/street in need of help and perhaps form your own version of 'meals on wheels' or offer your 'handy' skills. This includes changing light bulbs, fixing a leaky tap, helping hang pictures, repairing shelves...anything in your repertoire.
Another form of charity I got into from my grandparents is de-cluttering and giving away items that we no longer use. This consists of anything from toys, clothes, shoes, games and so on. They must still be in the condition is which others can get some use out of them. We give them to The Red Cross, Salvation Army, churches and even schools or people we know are in need of some help.
Books can be given away as well, or even odd n' ends like ornaments, lamps you don't want. These can go to non profit shops like Cancer Research, Oxfam and Hospice Charity Shops.
It's a win-win, you de-clutter your home, and those in need are able to have some of the things they need. You'll be putting a smile on a small child's face with a new toy, bicycle or pair of shoes. Some charities like The Red Cross will even come to you, for your unwanted items.
Reading. This suits the avid book lover. In some hospitals you can volunteer to read to children and or the elderly, even those in intensive care. Or you can get in touch with your local nursing home or orphanages and volunteer your reading services/companionship. It may require you having background check, but that merely safety precautions.
At GOSH, Great Ormond Street Hospital, many are encourage to volunteer in play sessions. Where you assist children, making it as trouble free and as fun as possible. This is obviously in the UK, so check your local hospitals for further information, there are many ways to help.
I have even volunteered my services to local schools, where I helped stack books in the school library. This can be something fun for teenagers as well.
When I much younger I made little gifts too and simply handed them out to people. Some may look at you funnily, but it boosts your confidence and even engenders some cheeriness within the unsuspecting recipients.
Animal Shelters. You can volunteer to work at animal shelters in your area, at times that best suit you. There are many small jobs- keeping the are clean, feeding animal. Call your local animal shelter for more details.
Homeless shelters. This is a very well known means of giving back, courtesy films, TV shows with many feeding the homeless. You volunteer to do any little jobs necessary and even donate unwanted pots, pans and cooking utensils.
Loving Your neighbour...literally
So look to your own doorsteps there maybe many in some need around your very home. That elderly man/woman who could use some help getting his paper, taking trash out. New baby nearby, why not give home of your old baby things away-crib, baby clothes, toys. This links in with my grandparents' chosen methods- make a meal for someone. This is rewarding, in many ways you'd build a rapport with those around you.
This is for the art lover and your inner artist. I'm not amazing at it, but thought practice would make me better and I had a severe case of boredom at the time.
I painted my windows depending on my mood or pending special occasions/holidays. I eventually stopped because I found myself busy with other things. Before long I had incoming requests for me to start painting again. I didn't realise it would have such an effect on others, I was doing it for me. So now when I have the time, I paint windows free of charge to the old folks in my area. I can only do it when I have the time but it's nice knowing it brings a smile to others. I've been told the painted windows is like going on holiday.
Just recently I've started writing poems for those going through a bad patch. I was first asked my by neighbour and fried, now I'll write for anyone needing it.
Use your talents to spread some joy.
If you're hobbies involve making crafts of any kind- greeting cards, knitting etc. Why not make crafts for charity. There are many organisations that would accept them. Your creations can be used to get many the help they need. I'm currently looking into this, I love making greeting cards and other nick knacks.
Home and Away Banks. For those penny collectors why not evenly divide the spoils in two, one for your rainy days and another for poor weather others are facing. Then you can take the money in the Away pan/bottle/jar to a charity of your choice.
A Couple of My Window Paintings
Start your own charity. This can be quite a task, but with good organisation it can become successful. Be sure to start on a smaller scale and with a group of trustworthy friends. It can be anything like selling things you make and using some or all of the money to donate to charity or helping underprivileged children with their school work for free.
Whatever method you choose, remember there are many ways to do it even when you don't have spare cash of your own. Be Creative there are so many ways to give...
Here are some Places to get started...
- British Red Cross homepage | British Red Cross
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
- Haiti Earthquake Appeal
- HowStuffWorks "How to Volunteer at a Hospital"
It's a simple process to volunteer at a hospital. Learn about requirements and options for volunteering at hospitals.
- Crafting for Charity - Donating Craft Projects and Supplies
Find organizations you can donate completed crafts and/or supplies to. A great ideas for families!
- Cancer Research UK: Items you can donate