Be the Change T-Shirt Design from Sevenly
Hello friends. Did you catch yesterday’s introduction to The Week of Thanks? Awesome! Today I’m back to encourage a second day of gratitude inspired action. Today’s challenge: Giving Back!
Before I get on to sharing my list of favorite charities and organizations, I thought I would share a little background on why I believe that paying if forward is so important…even when money is tight and/or life is overwhelming.
Over the span of my lifetime I’ve been the fortunate recipient of several generous acts of charity. Back when I was a wee thing, and my mom was a struggling single parent raising my younger sister and me, she often worked three jobs at a time to provide for us. Even still, it was often difficult for her to make ends meet. Other than the clothing given to us by our grandparents, we wore only secondhand clothing, or pieces that my mom sewed for us (back in the day when it was affordable to sew your own clothing). I didn’t think anything of wearing donated clothing…I just knew that I was warm and loved, but I am certain that my mom’s burden was lightened because of the opportunity she was given to dress us with little or no expense.
Over the years as a single mom myself there have been some challenging times. Back in my daughter’s earliest years we had to visit the food bank twice. The first time that we went in to pick up a bag of groceries I was nervous and embarrassed. A couple of weeks later our cupboard was empty again, and I regretfully decided that we’d have to return to the food bank. Little did I know that at our local center you could only receive one bag of groceries per month. The shame burned crimson on my cheeks when I was told of the one bag policy, but then with a warm smile, one of the volunteers filled a bag full and asked me to please take it anyhow. I will never forget her kindness. The experience was incredibly humbling and left a lasting impression on me. So it is especially during this time of year when the focus is on family feasts and the gifting of the latest and greatest products…that I find my thoughts turn to those who are struggling just to get by.
My mom has a saying that has stuck with me over the years, and that is: “There will always be somebody who is better off than you, and somebody who is worse off than you.” It’s not artistically stated perhaps, but it has helped me remember to be thankful for the position I’m in (even the times when I’ve just barely scraped by) and that giving back matters…no matter how small. And so, regardless of the level to which you can give…whether it be by volunteerism or donation of money or physical goods, I want to encourage each of us this season to give back.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite charities and organizations that are doing great things. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list…just a starting place, so by all means I encourage you to find a cause that speaks to you personally, and give what you are able.
I also recommend searching for local organizations that are helping people within your community. Many organizations need both volunteers and physical donations. Be sure to check with each one for their individual needs (the list below is just for example):
- Women’s Shelters | Diapers, clothing, toiletries, etc.
- Homeless Shelters | Toiletries, non-perishable food items, etc.
- Pet Shelters | Pet food and supplies
- Food Banks / Kitchens | Non-perishable food items
- Coat / Clothing / Food Drives | New or like new clothing
- Toy Drives | New gifts for children
- Nursery Homes | Visits with the elderly / small gifts
If you have a personal story about giving back, and / or what it means to you, I would be honored for you to share it with us below. Thank you for making our world a better place friends! xo Ez