It’s that time of year again, where charities start popping out of the woodwork and asking for your consideration. With the increasing prevalence of GoFundMe pages, and constant social media bombardment from those who would have our money, it becomes easier and easier to just pull back and pocket what we have. Giving when pressured takes the joy out of it, and news reports of fake charities can make one overly cautious, even to the point of not giving to established groups with proven track records.
With all that being said, I would like to encourage you to find a charity that you can get behind during the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Volunteering is a great way to help others without it affecting your pocketbook, and you can see first hand the results of your efforts. This can take the form of something as simple as nursing home visits or ringing a bell for the Salvation Army, or it can be as demanding as you choose, with programs available for mentoring, big brother / big sister arrangements, or meal delivery for shut-ins. Google your area for opportunities that suit you. Get your family involved, and make a difference while making memories. The moment when kids realize how badly some folks have it can be life changing.
For those of you who prefer to give from the pocketbook, there are a number of legitimate charities that make real differences in the lives of those who are hurting. For the past 3 years, we have partnered with Kansas City Rescue Mission (KCRM), collecting funds for them during our Christmas light display. KCRM has kicked off this year’s fund drive for their Thanksgiving programs, which will provide over 11,000 meals during the week of Thanksgiving. Many of these will be at their men’s and women’s facilities, while others will go to elderly and shut-in people. Gift baskets containing larger amounts of food will be given to hundreds of low-income families. The size and scope of the operation is impressive, and allows KCRM to provide these meals at a cost of $2.07 each. $27 provides meals for 13 people, and gives them a glimmer of hope during this season.
You can donate to the cause online by visiting KCRM.org and clicking the Donate link in the upper right corner, or by clicking HERE to go directly to the donations page. If you would rather give physical goods, they have an Immediate Needs list HERE. If you choose to purchase items on the list, I have found that the Dollar Store and similar retailers are a great place to stock up. Dollar razors, soaps and shampoos are perfect to stock the shelves.
Helping others is a great way to build community, and helps us focus on something outside of our day-to-day routines. It can truly be one of the most rewarding things that a person can do.