Many people think about giving to charity around the holidays, but realistically, people need assistance year round, whether it is help with bills, medical expenses, groceries, or whatever other needs come up. Help your family to learn to give year round. I know too that we have a tendency these days to question if the person in need is genuine and really needs help, because of all the counterfeits out there. Many of us want to help, but we don't want to be taken advantage of or to be labeled a fool. A person approaches us for money for gas and we tend to question if we should help or not.
On way to avoid that, is to give to places that have a proven track record of assisting people. Obviously some charities have been around for a long time, like: Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, American Red Cross, etc. There are some more recent ones too, like Matt Redhawk, Miriam's Kitchen, Canine Partners for Life, and others. Each of these charities assists people in different ways and with varying needs. There are several organizations online that do your research for you regarding the validity of many charities. Most of them can give you generalized information regarding the charity, how long they have been established and the type of work they accomplish.
When you are considering giving to charities you will need to decide if you will only give funds to one specific charity or if you prefer to divide it up among two or more. An option would be to give a different charity each year. Perhaps you could give as a family and all of you support the same charity for a specific time period and then choose another charity to support.
It is always good to start our children early on giving to others, so use this as a time to teach them. Let them help decide what type of organization to give to. Change it up once in awhile so they understand different needs. If you can put up a picture on their dresser or perhaps on the refrigerator where they have a visual reminder about who they are helping. If you can purchase a special container to put their funds in. They can help go through old clothing and toys to donate to a local shelter or other ministry for those in need. You can use this as a time to teach them to accept others and not look down on someone who does not have the same type of clothing or who is physically handicapped. All this plays into giving.
Remember, giving does not just have to be money, you can also donate your time and skills. Find out what local charities there are and see if your skills could assist them in some way. Maybe cooking a meal, helping with child care, designing a website for the charity, running errands, whatever they might need done. Participate in the local fundraisers when possible.
Another thing I like to do when it comes to people on the street or who approach you for a meal or money for gas is go with them and actually make the purchase. Go to the gas station and fill a gas can. Take them to a restaurant and get them a burger, pizza or a couple of tacos. My husband did this in a town we were visiting and took a gentleman into a pizza shop and bought him a pizza, large enough for two meals as well as purchased him a beverage. I came up with the idea of purchasing a few $5 food gift cards to McDonalds, Wendy's or Taco Bell and carrying them with me for the times we see someone holding a sign or looking for assistance with a meal. Try to come up with ideas like this that will work in your area.
I know some people prefer to give to local shelters and ministries so the funds help people in their own community. Sometimes there is a local fundraiser for a family who has medical expenses or has lost their home. Whichever route you decide to take with your giving, just jump in and get started.
Thanks for stopping by today to chat. Please share your own ideas in the comments.