the joy of giving + heifer international.

| Wednesday, December 22, 2010
EDIT: What the heck. I had already planned a charity post for today (just that time of year, I guess!), but I'm going to turn it into a comment pledge entry a la Nathan Bransford's post. Please visit his blog entry, comment there, and comment on the other entries from people who have pledged to do similar posts!

I will donate $1 from every comment on this entry to Heifer International, up to $50. All you have to do is comment, and a charity will get some funding! Can't argue with that!

I want to talk about something sort of serious today. But not too serious, don't go away!!!! Woo, rhymes. Anyway, this post is not about writing or books or being author-ly or anything like that.

This is a post about charity.

Seriously, don't go away or I will be VERY PUT OUT.

Charity, philanthropy, giving, donation... these are all words that people have weird reactions to. Some jump on them, some balk from them. All sorts of images pop into our minds. Images of orphans, shelter animals, empty promises, throwing money away, tax deductions, postulating celebrities we suspect are really full of Le Crap. A lot of people get some sort of Good Intention Bug in their head, where they think, "Oh, that sounds like a very nice cause. How nice that someone cares about AIDS/world hunger/water for African kids/protecting the penguins/education for impoverished disaster orphans/whatever. I wish I could do something like that for something I care about. Maybe I'll throw them a bone. We'll see."

And I'm not trying to be a jerk and act like people don't care about things that matter. There's more to it than that. We're in a rough economic time, we have to worry about our own well-being, we can't possibly care about everything that needs to be cared about. Many people have their hearts and intentions in the right place. We just sometimes have trouble taking that last little step into actually doing something.

It doesn't have to be money. Sometimes we're uncomfortable giving money, and that's okay. But we CAN and SHOULD *do* something. We are people of privilege, and we inherently have power. There's no reason why we can't use that power for good. Money, time, clothing, food, love... these are all things we can give. Good intentions are all well and... good... but they don't *do* anything. Sometimes the excuses get stale. It's hard not to be selfish. It's hard to let go of our wants and time and emotional investment. But it's necessary. The human condition demands it of us.

There must be something you're passionate about. A person. A cause. An organization. How can you support it with your time, money, or other input? Do it. This year, do it. Don't put it off anymore. Find a way.

We get so insular. It's only natural. You're not a bad person for worrying about yourself and your loved ones first; none of us are. Even so, we can try to make a conscious effort to branch out. Something as small as being kind to the homeless person who asks you for change is a start. Following people who do good works and supporting them is another start.

Try kindness. Try joy. Try love. Try giving.

What are you passionate about? How can we help?


{ Gretchen } at: December 22, 2010 at 10:11 AM said...

Thanks for this post. I think you're right-on. I love organizations like Heifer, and I really do think lots of "little" people can make a big difference.

And, yeah, DFTBA. ;)

{ Mira } at: December 22, 2010 at 10:20 AM said...

Steph - thanks so much for doing this. :)

Great post, too! I've really enjoyed our conversations in the forums.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

Christina at: December 22, 2010 at 11:01 AM said...

steph, you are wonderful for doing this and i thank you for bringing up this issue during this season. it's so easy to get caught up in the gifts and the parties, but charity is so important year round and even more so this month.

have a wonderful holiday!!

Anonymous at: December 22, 2010 at 11:01 AM said...


Lauren at: December 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM said...

Heifer International is an excellent choice :) Happy Holidays, my love!

Alisa at: December 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM said...

Very thoughtful post!!

{ Susan Kaye Quinn } at: December 22, 2010 at 12:19 PM said...

Thanks for joining the comment pledge!

And I like your thoughtful commentary about charity and giving. One of the things that's close to my heart is literacy for kids. I support that in many ways - reading with my own kids; giving book recs to friends; stopping in the library to help a parent who has a struggling reader; my blog Ink Spells of course; donating books to the library; giving to book drives. Most of those don't require money, just a generosity of time.

My mom (a therapist) had a young client that was struggling with reading. I asked a few questions about him and sent her a personalized list of books that might hook him into reading. No money, but lots of reward.

Giving where you can and being generous of heart - those are what matter most, I think. And the dividends are manifold.


{ Miss Michael } at: December 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM said...

Heifer International is a great organization. Thanks for doing this!

It didn't make my short list of donations this year (as you said "we can't possibly care about everything that needs to be cared about") but your post is quite inspiring so I'm thinking of doing another round after my next paycheck!

{ Anna } at: December 22, 2010 at 1:12 PM said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post-and for participating. Happy holidays!

{ Old Kitty } at: December 22, 2010 at 2:00 PM said...

Thank you for such a thought-provoking post!! Thank you!!

Take care

{ Old Kitty } at: December 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM said...

Thank you for such a thought-provoking post!! I think even just recycling and donating rather than chucking things out is a way of helping the greater good!

Take care

{ Jennifer R. Hubbard } at: December 22, 2010 at 2:16 PM said...

Commenting for the blog benefit. I also did some following for #donaterif today (on Twitter), and it definitely makes the season brighter!

{ Mrs. Miller } at: December 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM said...

Nice idea - I love heifer int'l

{ Nathan Bransford } at: December 22, 2010 at 5:10 PM said...

Hooray for Heifer!

{ Ami Hendrickson } at: December 22, 2010 at 7:03 PM said...

Yay, Heifer! And yay, you, for doing this!

I'm doing the Heifer Challenge this year again, too, donating $1 for all new blog followers OR comments till Christmas Eve:


{ adriennebarr } at: December 23, 2010 at 9:58 AM said...

Great post! I support a lot of local charities (I'm from a small town). We have this great program where buisnesses in town can "adopt" a family in the area who needs a little help around the Holiday Season. It's one of my favourite things to do at Christmas.

Anonymous at: December 23, 2010 at 1:04 PM said...

Fantastic idea! Another thought, Dear Amy, on The Chicago Tribune, is proposing an idea to have a book on every child's bed Christmas morning. Another small/easy thing people can do to spread joy and love of reading.

{ Audra Krell } at: December 23, 2010 at 3:12 PM said...

Great suggestions here, everyone has the power to make a big difference by doing just a little!

{ Andi Newton } at: December 24, 2010 at 7:04 AM said...

Wonderful post!

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