Small contributions add up/Ask H.O.W.
“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow,” Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, 1734.
Today I sit at my computer and contemplate what small part I can do to help my friend, Billybuc, with H.O.W., his endeavor to help the deprived people of the world. I applaud the efforts of Billybuc and other writers who can be generous with their time to start this movement. I cannot jump in with both feet, as much as I would like to because we are beginning our busy season at work at the state legislature. This will go on until at least next June, and I probably will be taking a hiatus from writing for Hubpages. I hope I have time during the few breaks I get just to read and comment on the wonderful hubs I know the participants in this movement will write.
I am getting a small taste of deprivation because my telephone line is down, and I have no Internet. Whatever I write will have to be cut and pasted into a hub later. It is a small inconvenience for me, but it serves as a big reminder of all the people who can’t afford a telephone, let alone a computer and the Internet. Then I think of all the people who can’t afford enough food or decent housing and I feel really blessed. My problem ain’t so bad, after all!
I agree that the more fortunate of us need to share our bounty with the less fortunate, and I believe that charity begins at home. We can look around for small things that don’t cost a lot of time and money to do in our own communities. I think if we each become an acorn, a forest can sprout and grow. Many people will ask, “But what can I do for my small part?” I could run through a list of things, but that has been done already, so I want to share with you the small things that I do. But first I want to tell you the big things I cannot do.
I am partially disabled from a city bus rollover that occurred 2006, but not so disabled that I can’t drive to work and sit at a computer with a roomful of lawbooks all day. Therefore, I can’t do anything that requires standing on my feet for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I also have macular degeneration that has not yet progressed to the point I can’t drive or work, but I fear that day is approaching. Therefore:
- I don’t run marathons to raise money for causes.
- I don’t burn bras or join marches for hunger or for injustice.
- I don't help Jimmy Carter build a Habitat for Humanity house.
- I don’t drive other people to appointments unless a friend is really in need.
- I don't write big checks to big charities because my budget won't allow it.
Despite my disabilities and limited income, I have found a few little contributions I can make that don’t impoverish my own family or endanger myself or others. Except for donations I make for major disasters like Hurricane Katrina, I prefer to keep my interests local. I don’t think there is a better time and place to start than by giving a helping hand to hungry people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Salvation Army kettles appeared the day after Thanksgiving, so I put my change and sometimes a small bill in a Salvation Army kettle. I don’t miss the money, and by the time Christmas is over, my pathetic little donations may have added up to more than if I had chosen to write them a check.
It is given from my heart, too, because there are no receipts to deduct on my tax returns. The local television stations cover these celebrations, and my reward is seeing the pleasure on the faces of people dining on holiday turkey and dressing and ham they otherwise could not afford.
There are other local organizations and churches that provide this same wonderful service, but the Salvation Army is Mr. B’s favorite charity. The donations stay in the county and we see the results. Our money doesn’t go to pay big salaries of overpaid CEOs.
Okay, that takes care of the holiday season, so how do we participate the rest of the year. Sometimes we donate to the local FoodBank. It doesn’t take much effort or money to buy an extra couple of cans of corn or bag of flour or sugar to drop in their donation box at the supermarket. Occasionally the Post Office has a drive that allows donors to hang nonperishable food items onto their mailboxes, and the mail carrier picks them up. It doesn’t get any easier. Sometimes I write a small check. These moneys are used to buy perishable foods that can't be donated.
The Dorcas House is a shelter for battered women and their children. The Dorcas House solicits donations of good clothing and anything else they can use in the shelter and to set up women victims and their children in new permanent homes. They take opened bottles of shampoo and other cosmetics, too. If I buy a bodywash or hand lotion and can’t use it, instead of discarding it in the trash, I set it aside to take to the Dorcas House, along with items of good clothing I am ready to give up.
An organization called CareLink provides many services to people who are housebound, including the wonderful “Meals on Wheels” program. This is a food program for shut-ins who have problems acquiring and even preparing their own food. A volunteer takes one hot meal a day to each recipient on his or her list. The recipient is charged on a sliding scale depending on his or her ability to pay, and meals are provided free to those who can’t afford to pay. A Meals on Wheels volunteer may be the only human contact a lonely person receives during the day. I became acquainted with this wonderful program when my mother, who lived 100 miles from me, had hospice home care. She received a hot meal each day at the price of $1.50 each, and it was so generous that she rarely ever finished one. Anyway, I have a soft spot in my heart for this program and donate several times a year. Who knows, I may need their services someday.
Sometimes we get so concerned about people in need that we forget their little four-legged family members that pay such an important role in their lives. People should not be forced to lose the love of a pet when they lose their income and are at their most vulnerable. The elderly should not be deprived of a cat or dog companion just because they can’t afford to feed them or spay or neuter the animal. An occasional donation to a pet clinic that provides free or greatly reduced prices to poor people would help keep these services going. When a customer uses a credit or debit card at our local Petsmart there is an option to add an extra dollar or two onto the purchase. This helps to keep the no-kill shelters going and to enable them to take in more animals that people are being forced to give up. I hope it comforts these distraught people to know that their beloved family member is not going to be deliberately killed. I try to add an extra dollar at least once a month.
I did not write this hub to toot my own horn. I wrote it to illustrate that it is possible for people who do not have a lot of money or who are partially disabled, or both, can plant their own acorns. You have similar worthy organizations in your area to which you can contribute your time or money. If 100 people dropped fifty cents into a Salvation Army bucket or wrote even a $5.00 or $10.00 check to a local charity to feed hunger in each city in this country, see how those acorns could grow into a big forest!
Adding a P.S.
As you can see the telephone line has been fixed, and my computer is back up and running. Yesterday in the mail I received solicitations from the FoodBank and Meals on Wheels (what a coincidence!). I am going to figure out my Christmas budget and split a donation between the two of them.