I’ve heard a number of people desire to give to a charity (which comes up a lot more at this time of year, with the spirit of giving in the air) but debate which charity they should donate to, if they should, because they felt not enough of the funds were actually getting to the people in need. Too much of the amount they donated had to help cover the expenses of running the charity itself.

There are alternatives that can help local people in your community, as follows:

As mentioned in a previous blog entry where I was trying to teach my daughter about proper money management, it is good practice to give 10% of your income to charity.

  • local YMCA’s or other local shelters have many singles or families come in that have to leave their homes with very little. A number of people I know have gone to the leaders of these organizations and asked what they can get to help alleviate their problems
  • local church leaders know people in their congregation that are in need and could greatly benefit from a donation
  • I’ve seen boxes at the front of some grocery stores, (also saw a police car in front of a Walmart) that collected non-perishable items or toys to give to those in need
  • I was impressed one year to watch a youth group put in great effort to put together baskets of food (one included all the fixings for a turkey dinner), bags of toys and other things for families they knew in the area would have a very small celebration or nothing to celebrate the Christmas season with. I saw the aftermath of the spirit of Christmas that those families and the youth received in knowing of the goodness there is in people’s hearts
  • if you stay aware, you can see people in your neighborhood that would be super appreciative with that little extra

We have been on the receiving end of a Secret Santa more than once, who left us a plate of cookies and an ornament for each of our girls for our Christmas tree. It was delightful to see the smile on our girls’ faces. Of course, the best way to give these gifts is anonymous. It is very pleasing to sit back and watch how your gift brings a little love and happiness into their life.

Have you been on the receiving end of these gifts and how did it make your life better?