Saturday, January 20, 2018

Giving Throughout the Year

Beautiful flowers in the midst of winter.   : )

I saw a commercial on the television that I'm so glad they aired (usually commercials are a frustration to me).  This commercial showed a mother and child in the food line at a shelter and the caption read - "The holidays are over, but the need is still great."

We forget don't we?  Once Christmas is over and our holiday giving is done, we kind of pack the Christmas spirit away with all the rest of the things.  But the needs of others never goes away.  People are still hungry, people are still cold, people are still without shelter, people are still without the basic needs of this life - men, women, and children alike.

I think we become so overwhelmed by this thought that we feel like there isn't possibly anything we could do to fill the need, but if all of us helped just one person each month, that would be significant.  Whether we live in cities or suburbs or small communities or out in the country somewhere, we can be of help to someone.  I grew up in a small town and we were constantly aware of those who could use some help (as a matter of fact, WE were one of those families).  I live in the suburb of a large city now and still am constantly aware of those who could use some help.

So, let's unpack the Christmas spirit that we may have put away until next Christmas and begin to look around and see the need.  Here are some possible ways to do that:

*one of the best ways to help is financially - just writing a check every month is of great help.  That way they can decide how they want/need to use the money.  (One thing you never want to do is give money to the person on the street - instead a good idea is to buy gift cards ahead of time for fast food places and give them one of those.)
*select one charitable organization and stick with it - call them and ask what their needs are.  Some need very tangible items like food, clothing, toiletries, toys, etc. and then set some money aside for that and then go shopping!  I don't know about you but shopping for myself is a chore, shopping for others is a joy!!  : )
*make things to bless others - in February I love to make a Valentine basket filled with all kinds of things a woman would like - shampoo/conditioner, soaps, chocolates, stuffed animal, tea, a good book, blanket, etc. and then drop it off at Valentine's Day to a local woman's shelter.  These women need our love and kindness.
*go through your local church and give to the various things they might be collecting for - this month our church gathers items for the local pro-life organization - asking for diapers, wipes, baby clothes, gift cards, etc. - at Christmas we give shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, etc.  - If your church doesn't have this kind of giving set up, maybe you could be the one to head it up!  Every month could be something different - ask people to donate Bibles to send to prisons, ask people to donate socks for the local shelters (did you know that socks happen to be the biggest need for shelters?), ask people to bring pillowcases and blankets for the local hospitals and nursing homes, ask people to bring canned goods for the local food shelf (or if your community doesn't have a food shelf, start one!!), ask people to bring hats, mittens, and scarves for another shelter, ask people to bring umbrellas for the upcoming rainy Spring months to hand out to those waiting for buses - the list of charitable giving could go on and on and on ............ and with many hearts and hands to give, a lot of people can be helped.  : )
*donate your time - can you serve food, or help cook the food?

And this is just a short list of some things we all can do throughout the year.  All we need to do is put our thinking caps on and look around and maybe make a few calls and then get busy and do them.  I tend to do some of these things on my own, but how about getting your neighborhood involved?  How about getting your lady friends together once a month?  Maybe your small group at church?  I think we all want to do something to help our fellow man, but not sure where to begin so getting a group together you would be able to accomplish much.  

Just something to think about as we go into a new year.  A reminder that it's not just about us.  It's not only the right thing to do but it also is a great help to the giver.  It gets our minds off our problems and worries and woes and is a positive way to bring joy to others.  Like I always say........I hope you can give it a try!!!!  : )

God bless your day and weekend.

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