Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Share the Love

I believe strongly in serving others. I've been on the receiving end before, and I feel it is incumbent on me to continually pay it forward in whatever way I can. We are blessed when we serve, and as my sister pointed out
"I'm poor, so I can't afford not to serve!"

So today I'm sharing information about a few groups that I think are worth supporting:

Help locally
A lot of folks help in soup kitchens, give to toy drives, or donate to angel trees. Those are all great ways to serve! Remember that if you don't have money, you can still give goods or time!

Give to your church charities
Many churches have programs for giving to the needy. If you don't have one already, I recommend checking out my church's humanitarian projects here. We have a lay ministry and lay missionaries who do the work, so everything goes to the needy. My grandparents worked as volunteer missionaries in the humanitarian services distribution center for 18 months, and have some awesome stories to tell; My parents-in-law are currently in China working with a wheelchair distribution program.

Heifer International
This group gives farm animals (chickens, sheep, cows, llamas, goats, rabbits, and even water buffalo!) to people in need all over the world, to help them afford to support themselves. You can donate as little as $20 for a dozen chicks, ducks, or geese, all the way up to $5000 for a "Gift Arc" of 15 animal pairs. You can get some fun combinations such as the "Knitting Basket" (two sheep and two llamas) or a bundle of tree saplings. The full list of donation packages is here.

Holiday Helpers
I've already mentioned them once this year, but I just had to again. I love that this is 100% volunteer--there is no overhead, everything goes to the families in need. There is even a cool raffle you can enter for $1/ticket. Give to those in need, and maybe win some presents for yourself! (New things have been added since I last mentioned it, so even if you looked then, you might want to look again.)

If you have other great charities you like to support, I would love to hear about them!


The Thalman's said...

This is some great information! Thanks!

Emily said...

Two ideas for sharing locally:

Food - make a dinner or a dessert (or both!) for a family you know would appreciate it. If you don't know of any, ask your local church leader if they have any families that could use it.

Yard work - go grab a few friends and run around town raking leaves and trimming shrubs for some elderly/disabled homeowners.

Secret Santa/12 Days of Christmas - leave anonymous small presents on someone's doorstep who needs them.

Carolyn said...

Thanks! Those are some great ideas. We're in a difficult situation right now and my DH often says that he needs to do all the service he can-- we are in major need of blessings! I often feel like I can't do much because I have my kids in tow which makes it more difficult. I'll have to see what I can do in my own community to help out.

It would be so awesome to be a humanitarian aid missionary. My parents are service missionaries in Germany helping out service men and women in their area (mostly in the church) and they have lots of great stories, too. At one point they had around 50 of their ward members deployed to Iraq. It was great for them to be able to help the family members who were left behind, away from their extended families in the US.

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