No money to give, but my time and mostly my kindness are what I have for those around me. By giving what patience, understanding, and help we can during each interaction each day, the whole 'pay it forward' phenomenon occurs. Each kindness we donate moves on with the person we give it to, and so it spreads. So hugs and smiles and pats on the back all round!
I give monthly automatic donations to Save the Children, and recently increased the amount I give (after reading an article that said most people are decreasing ther contributions in these tough economic times. I was lucky enough to be in a position where I could give a little bit more without suffering, so I did). If monetary donations are not feasible, there are lots of places that are happy to accept time -- I volunteer at a community garden, and I have a friend who works for the United Way who tells me when their fundraisers are so I can collect donations with them. It just makes you feel good. 'Tis better to give than to receive!
What great suggestions. My church has a lot of unemployed and underemployed. Last summer, some of them volunteered to care for the grounds, etc. My community also has a lot of options that serves the youth.
Linda - North East Indiana, USA `Goal to build myself up to reach 1,000 fitness minutes per month.
For those without enough money to donate, there are always volunteer opportunities. The local homeless shelter, clothing and food drives, charity thriftshops, animal welfare places always need help. I like to teach gardening to mentally ill at the local arboretum.
For the financially strapped like me, on SSI, these places also offer services, food and clothes to help out so while you're volunteering you can get help yourself.
The giver is blessed by letting go of what he/she perceives as "his/hers". For me and my DH as Christians, we know that all that we have ultimately comes from the provision of Almighty God. Therefore, giving back, or tithing, is just one very small way to thank Him and bring Him glory for what He has done in our lives.
It takes a long time to grow young. Pablo Picasso
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I've just blogged on my page about tithing so I won't repeat the same things here, I just wanted to say that by committing a fixed amount of my income to a charity via automatic monthly charge to my credit card (or this could be a standing debit order from a bank account for those who don't use plastic) I cannot waste it on frivolous purchases, so I hope to become more responsible about money. I don't have a large income but I'm obviously much better off than many other people on this planet, and I feel guilty about this. Whether we call it tithing in the JudaeoChristian tradition, or Islamic zakat, or Hindi daan, or Buddhist amisa dana, the giving of charity is an injunction on the followers of all the major religions, and they all promise divine blessings in return. Even without this religious carrot dangling before us, the altruistic desire to help others less fortunate than ourselves is what sets humans apart as a species. I've realised that I've become too materialistic, and worse yet, my young son has learnt from my example, constantly clamouring 'I want'. So I've decided to put a human face on my tithing by sponsoring a child and a community in Ecuador (I chose http://www.mashifoundation.org/blog/ because they are a new, very small foundation and I decided they are in far greater need of help than the large well-established charities with millions of dollars at their disposal). I have also started a new piggy-bank for "our" child, and when my son collected some money by carolling in the neighbourhood (a Greek tradition for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve) I encouraged him to tithe his windfall. He was rather sullen about it at first, gave just one coin, but the little seed I planted grew in his heart because some hours later he gave much more than 10%. I explained I would use this money to buy "our" child new shoes, and this made sense to him. I will also put all my small change (any coin below a Euro, apart from the non-Greek ones which go into another piggy bank for my son) into this piggy bank, so by the end of the year I will be able to make an additional donation for the entire community in Loma Grande, or perhaps buy another cow for an Indian farmer as I did yesterday via http://www.rudraksha-ratna.com/dispProduct .php?cow-donation-(gau-dan)&prodId=4911
I am not saying these things to boast, I simply hope I am offering some food for thought. Please see my blog for the website which inspired me.
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