We have all seen the commercials. The sad ones that feature starving children or neglected pets. We are familiar with the different organizations. Red Cross. The Humane Society. We know the feeling of watching these commercials and feeling horrible. And this is usually the time where we actually start to appreciate everything in our lives instead of complaining about not having enough.
Society has programmed us to being in the habit of giving around the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what would happen if we started giving all the time instead of at certain times? And why do we have to wait until holidays to be generous? Doesn’t someone need our help all the times of the year?
I will admit. For awhile I didn’t appreciate how good my life was compared to other people. I have everything that I need and want and I’m never without anything. I have food on the table every night. I have clothes on my back and I have a place to stay. Like many people, I got caught up in materialistic things like wanting this thing or that thing that I forgot what would life be like if it was a struggle just to get a meal on the table. What would a life be like if I had to fight to survive on a daily basis because I didn’t have my basic needs.
I think people don’t realize the magnitude of how widespread poverty is and they believe that just because they don’t see homeless people on a daily basis means that poverty doesn’t exist. But that’s wrong. Poverty exists everywhere not just in places in far off countries. It can exist right in your own community. The kid that you see wearing ragged clothes or the person that eats like it’s their last meal is no joke. It’s a harsh reality.
So as I came to this realization, I realized that I needed to look at the bigger picture instead of thinking about myself all the time. And it’s okay to be a little selfish. I’m a huge fan of getting my wants, but you can’t be selfish all the time. That’s why I started to donate to charity as I reminder to myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me. I realized that some things are more important than buying the newest shoes or having the newest outfit, and once I realized these things are ultimately meaningless, I wanted to do something that was actually important. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that donating to charity isn’t important because it is. Helping someone who can’t afford to help themselves is probably one of the most meaningful things a person could do.
So for almost a year, I’ve been donating whatever I can. I used to think that I had to be a millionaire to donate to charity, but that’s not true at all. Anything is helpful. Whether you think it’s a small act or not, you’re saving someone’s life and that’s a big deal.
Starting last year, I chose to donate something once a month whether it’s donating money or clothes or supplies. This month I chose to donate some old clothes to my local salvation army, and last month I sent off a package of supplies to a children’s home. I find a way to give back to society and this has given me a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning that I didn’t have before.
You might ask yourself, why should I donate? Does the man that lost everything or the struggling woman down the street with ten kids really deserve my help? Well, I’ll ask you this, put yourself in their situation and ask yourself wouldn’t you like help if you suddenly was down on your luck? I think the answer is a no brainer.
People also doubt if when they do decide to donate, does it really help them? Yes, it does. You can’t think like that. It not only gets in the way of what you could be blessing another person with, but it gets in the way of the blessing that can happen to you from this. For me, donating to charity gave me a purpose when I needed one.
When I begin to doubt if my little donation helped anyone at all, I imagine myself in the other person’s shoes and realize that any little help means everything to a person in need. So I challenge you to try at least once to give ten dollars to an organization or to give away some old clothes or shoes to a local goodwill or a local salvation army. You’ll feel the sense of purpose and satisfaction that I feel when I donate and I promise you’re going to want to do it again.
Photo Image by Nathan Anderson