A few years ago, I started thinking about my life. I have a good job, I own my own house and car, and I have a family who loves and supports me. Yeah, I might like some things to be different, but I’m really lucky to have such a comfortable life. A lot of people aren’t so fortunate; there are millions who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, where they can get clean water to drink, or where they will find a place to sleep each night. I decided it was time to stop thinking so much about myself and start doing something to help others, so now I choose a charity to focus on for every year.
The first year, I donated to the Gifts That Give More program at GreaterGood.com. What I like about the program is that they don’t just give people a handout; they give people the tools to sustain themselves for the long term. One month, I gave money to help women in India learn how to drive minicabs. Once the women learn to drive them, they can get low-interest loans to buy their own minicabs, so they can help support their families. Another donation provided women in Guatemala with a dozen chicks. Once the chicks grew up and started laying eggs, the women could supplement their families’ diets and sell the extra eggs. Every month, I picked a program that appealed to me.
This coming year, I plan to donate to Heifer International. They give livestock such as goats, sheep, chicks, and even fish to families, who can sell the extra milk, eggs, wool, etc. to provide a source of income.
Through it all, I have also been sending clothes, school supplies, and other items to the folks on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The members of the Oglala Sioux tribe who live there are desperately poor, and I know anything I can send will help someone there. They’re also an outlet for my hat and afghan knitting. 🙂
I didn’t tell you all this to brag or tell you what a wonderful person I am. I did it to encourage you to take a look at your life and think about how fortunate we are to live in the richest country in the world. Even though times are tough, if you can spare even ten dollars a month, you can help improve the life of someone who can only dream of a life like the ones we enjoy. Find a cause that has some meaning for you and see how you can help. You’ll be glad you did.