Giving that truly counts

6 12 2010

There has been a lot in the news recently about the trend for giving so-called philanthropic gifts (a goat, school books, water purification tablets, mosquito nets) through various international aid organizations. These are tremendous opportunities to add an additional layer of meaning to the gift-giving act and to make a difference in the lives of ordinary people who need help.

Interested in doing something like this right here in your own community? There are no shortage of opportunities! Be creative, think of the many needs out there, and do something difference-making this year. Here are some ideas to get you thinking in the right direction:

  • sponsor a family through the Children’s Aid Society
  • drop off warm coats to the Salvation Army
  • remember the food bank when you do your grocery shopping
  • purchase a magazine subscription for a local women’s shelter
  • introduce yourself as a volunteer by presenting a ‘VOU’ certificate to a worthy organization (provide your contact information and let them know how much time you are willing to give them for a future occasion when they may need it)
  • take up a collection at your holiday gathering and donate it to a local charity
  • invest in the future of Hamilton with a gift to the Hamilton Community Foundation
  • share some of your homebaked goodies with the volunteer dog walkers at the SPCA
  • offer your expertise to a local agency who might otherwise have to pay for a service: tune a piano for a senior’s centre or take care of the snow in an agency parking lot
  • ask your neighbours what they are supporting this year – find out about a need and respond if you can

If you have a favourite charity, call and ask them what they might be needing this holiday season. Many have a wish list of needed items. Check web sites for wish lists and other ideas. Find your own unique gesture that will make a difference, no matter how small. The gifts that keep giving are some of the very best. I find that it feels like the gift was one received rather than given. If you can’t give money, give in another way. It’s the giving that counts.

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