Is there really an answer to that question? Doesn’t it only count if you give money? If you give money – does it only count as ‘really giving’ if you match or exceed a certain amount? Maybe $45.00 from each paycheck. Or 20% of what you get back in taxes. Or a goal of $5,000.00 a year?
If you’ve been reading this blog for even a little while, you’ll know what my answer to those questions is. No. No. No. To every question, No. Giving money is great! Giving what you can afford and not what you think you’re “supposed” to give is important. You may begin to hate the charity if you feel it’s sucking away all your cash. $10 is taken out of each of my husband’s checks and donated to Defenders of Wildlife. We sometimes have a hard time getting through check to check, but we can afford that small amount. It makes us feel good to know that we’re helping and not going broke doing it. Also, throughout the years we generally donate two or three additional times for specific Defender’s causes.
But there are so many ways to help! To donate! Such as your time. You can volunteer for most charitable/non-profit groups. The library, the animal shelter, Goodwill, a soup kitchen, the hospital or the VA – the list is almost endless. Try checking out Volunteer Match where they will help you find an opportunity by location, age and interest.
What about items? Almost everyone has stuff they don’t want, need or both. Stuff that has just been sitting around and collecting dust. Or maybe packed up since you moved to your new place four years ago (guilty!). Clothes, kitchenware, decor, tools, sheets and blankets, books, cds, stuffed animals… and on and on. The animal shelter is almost always looking for blankets and toys and pet beds… Here is a list of some of the stuff my local shelter is looking for. I bet your shelter’s website has a similar list! Most recently I grabbed a set of two large jars of peanut butter from Sam’s and brought them in for the shelter dogs. A small thing – but it will be much appreciated! Goodwill will take almost anything. When I’ve been in there they had board games and kitchen supplies and books and children’s toys and of course clothes. And a lot more!
Another thing you can do is choose a charity that really speaks to you. Such as us with Defenders of Wildlife. I also give to the Audubon society when I’m able. Whether it’s something focused on children, animals, an illness or disease you or a loved one is or has struggled with (to include mental health), your religious preference, or military veterans – there’s something out there. Charity Navigator has a lot of information on which charities are available, which are most popular, which you can trust and so much more.
Even doing your part from home to be helpful is an amazing thing. If you’re into paper crafts Operation Write Home exists for the purpose of making handmade, blank on the inside cards for soldiers to send home to their families. (Trust me, the BX in a normal location doesn’t offer much for cards. I can’t imagine what they have to choose from over there. If anything). Project Feeder Watch is as simple as putting up a bird feeder and watching them indulge! You take a count of how many birds stopped by, send it via computer to the Cornell Ornithology Lab. Got old Cds or DVDs? Check out Discs for Dogs – a charity that will take them and in return help save dogs and cats.
There are so many ways to help – and most don’t cost a dime. Take to Google for more examples (for instance). Do what you can to help out those who want to but can’t.