Words can’t describe how absolutely blessed I have been in my life. I’ve never had to want for anything other than the continued health and happiness for my family (and the occasional Barbie Motor-home which, apparently my dad had to drive to a shady place in LA and pay cash for).
Since I have been alive, my parents have set the best example when it comes to sharing with those who have less. They dutifully put 20 dollars in the collection tray at church every Sunday. We always stockpiled cans to donate. They sent me to schools that required community service and so, though as a shy fifth grader I may have dreaded going to soup kitchen, now my heart is so full when I can spend three hours sorting cans and packaged goods at out counties food bank. My mom took on nonprofit clients to expose me to the arts, and both my parents encouraged me to intern at a music education foundation. I didn’t always realize what a great example they were setting.
It’s during this season that we think so much about those who have less—and my heart is so happy that there are so many ways and charities we can give back to when we have a few hours or dollars (or cans) to spare.
However, seeing so many good charities doing good can also pose a difficult dilemma. You may not always know who to donate to… do I give my spare change to the salvation army? Do I foster a puppy in need of a home? Do I buy a piece of memorabilia to support arts in the classroom?
My only piece of advice (after bouncing from charity to charity) is the obvious—pick something that resonates with you. Maybe you once struggled with having enough to eat, and now you have plenty. Maybe music changed your life and you want to give that opportunity to a child.
Whatever you pick, stick with one charity for the year, or the next five years, or the rest of your life. Tell everyone you know about that charity. Say why you chose them. Your word of mouth is as good as gold and, speaking of money, give your time if you don’t have any—and know how truly grateful they will be for that.
If you’re interested in some of my favorite charities, let me know. I love talking with other people who are eager to get involved but may not know where to start.
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