Charitable giving is something many associate with the holiday season, but as the holidays grow smaller in the rearview mirror, we are getting more caught up in our everyday lives. It’s admirable that many people in this current economic climate share what little they have, but after the holidays the giving slows to a trickle, despite the fact that many people and organizations’ needs last throughout the year. This blog is written in the hopes that it will remind each of us to try to keep that giving spirit alive just a little longer.
There are many ways to give back. Perhaps you leave your pennies at the register for someone who may be without needed change. You could send an extra check to your favorite charity, or maybe go down to your local heating fuel provider and put some money towards a stranger’s past due bill. It would be a great relief to them to not have to worry about their heat shutting off or wondering how they will manage to pay for that next barrel of oil to keep their family warm. This has been a cold winter for most of the country, and the cold didn’t stop with the holidays. And maybe those who run charitable organizations could bend the rules one more time beyond the holiday season.
Charitable giving doesn’t have to be large sums of money, or even be financial in nature at all. Sending a little extra donation to the charitable organization of your choice is grea,t and your money surely could be put to good use, but there are other, smaller ways to give as well. For instance, you could surprise the person behind you in line at the coffee shop and pay for their morning coffee. A two dollar coffee may not mean much to your bottom line, but you more than likely just made the recipient’s day. It goes beyond the moment. They will surely tell their co-workers about your generosity and maybe even post about the gesture on their Facebook page. Your two dollars just brought someone a little extra joy in what has been a very dreary winter, a tough day, or even a negative moment that could have taken their day in another direction. That small gesture may even spark their giving spirit and they may pay it forward.
Other ways you can give back without giving financially include donating old clothing or volunteering at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. This costs nothing but a little bit of your time and would go a long way towards assisting those who are in need. There are many of these facilities across the country that are understaffed and would greatly benefit from a couple of hours of your time. Someday it may be you who is in need of that cup of coffee, bag of groceries from a food pantry, or even the pennies at the register. Trust me, paying it forward is something you’ll never regret.
The holidays themselves are not the reason we feel charitable. It’s what we give during the holidays that brings on that feeling. Doing a little extra giving beyond the holidays may just bring a touch of that good feeling back into our hearts for a little longer.