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Supporting Charities and Saving Lives - Donations to Charities
At an early stage of human development, most children are very self centered. This is normal. Fortunately and with the gentile guidance of loving adults in their lives, most children get beyond this stage and readily start sharing their things with others. It starts with simple things. Perhaps the sharing of food at the breakfast or dinner table with their siblings is a start. As a child gets older perhaps they take it upon themselves to rake some leaves for an elderly neighbor lady.
Charity is akin to love and brotherly love towards others whether it be in one's own family, the neighbors or a cause held near and dear is all important.
Supporting charities and saving lives is a worthy undertaking and many people do it as a matter of course. Those early lessons of sharing and caring are absorbed first at home and then gradually taught by others as children are exposed to more of the world.
I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore,that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.— Etienne de Grellet (1773 - 1855)
The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule would have us treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated.
Practically all of the world's major religions teach the importance of giving to charity and following the Golden Rule. While the wording may be a bit different in each case it pretty much boils down to the same meaning of sharing and caring about our fellow man and all of God's creatures and giving of ourselves towards that effort.
A man's true wealth is the good he does in this world.— Muhammad
Lending a Helping Hand
Whether one has a large bank account and can easily write out checks to the numerous wonderful charities that serve good causes, it is nice to know that there are numerous other ways in which one can help.
Most charities can exist solely because of the many volunteers that work with them giving of their time and effort. Without volunteers most would have to close their doors because there would be no way to pay for all of that manpower.
For over a decade I worked as a volunteer counselor at an assistance ministry here in Houston. My mother and niece both volunteered and worked in the food pantry. Upon proof of a documented crisis we could assist people in many different ways. Some of them included the following:
- Help towards paying rents
- Help in paying utilities
- Furnishing clothing and other supplies out of our thrift shop
- Help with furnishing food
- Help in paying other bills such as the cost of prescriptions
We had other programs where volunteers worked on house repairs of indigent people. Some delivered bags of food once a month to elderly people who could not drive and get to the ministry. Holiday meals as well as school supplies were furnished to those needing help. This is not an inclusive listing as we helped in these and other ways. Little of it and in some cases none of it would have been accomplished without the hundreds of volunteer hours accomplishing those things.
It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
Many people think only of money or the volunteering of time when it comes to charitable contributions. But most charities count on other items as well. Donations of clothing, household items and goods and services are vital in order to keep their doors open and operating to best effect.
Were it not for people donating their outgrown or no longer worn clothing, we could not have given out clothing to those who needed it at the assistance ministry.
Items like pots and pans and even basic furniture items could be given to people who had fled abusive situations with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Some people who had survived a tragedy such as a fire or flood which consumed their belongings could not have been helped if others had not donated their items.
Sadly many people discard usable belongings at the curb on garbage pickup days which could be donated to the many charities happy to receive them. In addition to redirecting them towards people who need such items, other items are sold in the thrift shops which helps to raise money in order that rents and prescriptions can be paid as an example. So before tossing out that perfectly good basket or article of clothing or glass vase that you got with your last bouquet of flowers and that you no longer want or need please consider giving it to a charity!
Do you give your clothing and other items to charities?
Whatever a man has in superabundance is owed, of natural right, to the poor for their sustenance.— St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Types of Charities
There are many notable charities. International charities include such well known ones such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army both of which reach across all borders helping people through disasters and all types of need.
There are animal charities (near and dear to my heart!) as well as people charities, children's charities, environmental protection charities, medical research charities, charities that support the arts and others too numerous to mention.
Because most people have good hearts and truly wish to help others, some dishonest people create charities where most of the hard earned donated dollars go to pad their bank accounts and little of it actually benefits the named cause. So one must be smart about which charities one chooses to support.
It is pretty easy to tell if the charity is local and you are spending volunteer hours there. One can see results first hand like I did when carrying groceries to a car one day. The small child holding his mother's hand was so excited to see the top of a box of cereal in the bag. He could not have been anymore excited had it been a new toy given to him. At least he would not go to bed hungry that night!
When sending checks to most charities, if you wish to find out that the majority of your money is truly serving the cause instead of overhead expenses of the charity, you might be happy to learn of CharityNavigator.org which rates the different charities as to how the money is allocated.
I would hardily recommend that you do this simple online search before writing checks.
The value of supporting charities is tremendous for not only the recipient but also the donor. For in the giving of ourselves to others we are enriched by the process and often get back much more from the experience than we even bargained.
"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver."— Maya Angelou
Is that not reason enough to start giving and sharing with others? Donations to charities will be saving lives and one of them just might be that of the giver!
© 2012 Peggy Woods