I am an emerging writer from Vancouver with numerous children's books available and several books in my new "A Better You" series.
Do you give to charities? Do you buy the dream home lottery tickets? Do you give in church? Donate to the food bank? Sponsor a child in Africa?
I've done all of these in my lifetime. Like most of us, I want to give a little to help people. The churches tell you to give 10%. Other charities ask for your daily coffee money. Some ask for monthly, ongoing gifts.
I don't feel like I'm truly giving when I'm trying to win a million dollar home. It's not giving to help someone. The motivation is trying to win something.
I don't believe in tithing. I'm not a member of a church so I don't feel pressured to give 10% according to the Old Testament Levitical law of supporting the priesthood. I don't like the idea of the funds going towards building fancy stained glass worship centres when there are schools that sit empty on Sundays and most evenings.
I also don't want my money going overseas to help starving kids. Sure there are people around the world that need help but what about in our own back yard? What about the fact that a lot of the money is eaten up in administration costs for many charities. And what about our countries foreign aid? In Canada it's over 5 billion per year. We are tripping over ourselves to help other people thousands of miles away while stepping over the homeless on our own streets.
I want to give my time, treasure and talent to a local cause that I can see up close.
I believe we should all put our efforts and money into our local communities. Wherever you live there are people who are hungry. There are people who are homeless. Some people addicted to drugs or struggle with mental illness.
We should take care of people around us instead of sending money across the globe. I know it doesn't have that charitable ring to it. It isn't as glamorous as supporting World Vision. You won't get a card with a picture of a starving child, but you will get to impact the people around you.
There needs to be a new movement. I don't want to start a charity, that takes too much paperwork. I do want to motivate people to get involved locally on their own or with friends and family to help the needy in their own city.
We can make a huge impact locally. It's something we can see. We don't have to send off our check in the mail. We can get our hands dirty. You decide what to do.
Here are some ideas...
- Put back packs together with basic supplies and give them out to some local homeless people.
- Pick up some burgers and hand them out to people that are hungry on your city streets.
- Drop off some cans of food at the local food bank.
- Go mow an elderly neighbor's lawn.
- Go for a walk with your kids and clean up garbage on the streets around your home.
- Spend one night at a local soup kitchen.
- Volunteer at your local SPCA and walk some dogs.
- Go through your house and collect some blankets and jackets and drop them off at a shelter.
- Buy a bag of apples and go hand them out.
- Spend an afternoon at a seniors centre and read to someone.
- Go out and buy a cart full of groceries and drop it off at a single parents house.
I'm sure you could come up with some more ideas. Did you notice I didn't suggest you just give money? I think if we use money to buy things and give them out or donate our time, then we become personally involved. These actions will stick in our hearts. They will change you. You also will get a huge rush from it. I have personally done several of these things before and it feels like a positivity drug. It makes you excited and happy. Money doesn't seem to matter. You are in the moment, actually helping with your own bare hands. You are seeing the effects of your giving in real time!
I challenge everyone to tell all your family and friends about this powerful way of giving.
Take action on your own or with others and just go do something. Go to McDonalds and buy 20 cheese burgers. Go hand them out. It'll change your life. Don't have any extra cash? Show up at a shelter and ask if you can help serve food that night. I bet they will say yes. Everything doesn't have to cost money. You don't need cash to donate. Do you play an instrument? Go and play for a senior's home or on the busiest street in your city (you may need a busking license). Don't put out a hat, just go and entertain the people as they walk by. If you do get some money, go buy a hot meal for the closest homeless person you see.
Give of your Time, Talent and Treasure. It will make you feel so much better than supporting a far off cause.
Give with a selfless heart. I guarantee you will get something amazing back that you didn't expect.