Sharing Is Caring: Six Ways to Give to Others
By: Tania Staley
“Life has taught me that respect, caring, and love must be shared, for it’s only through sharing that friendships are born.” –Donna A. Favors
“No one has ever become poor from giving.” –Anne Frank
Often when we think of charity, it conjures up images of flashy logos, catchy reminders to give, and matching outfits. We think of charity auctions, talk-show giveaways, and grandiose displays of altruism. We consider charity something we do, and contribute to, at the holidays or after tragedies, such as war, floods, tornados, and fires. But, while these acts are wonderful and organized giving is great, there are ways we can give and things we can do every day to help others in need. Here are six things you can give to others to show you care:
When people think of charity, they most often think of giving money. They conjure up images of big checks being handed out, bell ringers at Christmas, and donation plates and boxes at houses of worship. Money does indeed help organizations do the things they need to do, and if time and other resources cannot be given, money is certainly a way to assist a cause you are passionate about. However, it is important to remember, though it may sound cliché to say, that every little bit helps. While large displays of monetary giving are wonderful, you should not be deterred from giving what you can to charitable efforts, even if what you are able to give is less than what someone else is able to. If everyone came together to give a little bit to help others, the world would definitely be a better place.
Along with money, goods are the other most recognized form of charity. Clothes, food, water, diapers, and toiletries are all items that many shelters and charity organizations need on a daily basis. Even toys, not just during the holidays, can be a wonderful item to present to families in need.
Time is often a scarce commodity in the busy lives we all lead, which makes it a form of charity that many don’t give. But time can be just as important as money. When you give your time to someone, you show them you care enough about them and their needs to make them a part of your life experience. You can give time in many different ways: read books to the young or the elderly, play games or entertain at senior-citizen’s centers, volunteer at an after-school program or youth center, pass out flyers for a charitable organization, or be a listening ear to someone who is lonely or in need of counsel.
Using your talents is a fun and fulfilling way to give back. Teach dance to underprivileged youth; sing songs with seniors; put on a play to bring awareness to, or raise money for, a cause; or paint murals to brighten up a shelter. If you can build houses, gather a crew to construct a house for victims of a fire. If you have a technical mind, help repair computers to give to underfunded schools, or teach computer skills to those seeking employment. If you can cook, teach others at recreation centers or home/parenting classes. Whatever your talent is, you can use it to help someone else in need.
Along with talent, knowledge can be a powerful tool for giving back. Tutors are often in short supply for all types of learning. Those who have teaching skills can also be quite helpful in rehabilitation programs to help members earn their GED or obtain employment. Another realm of knowledge is legal counsel, which can be helpful for newly created charity organizations or for individuals in need.
Possibly the most important things you can give are kindness and compassion. Be a listening ear to someone in mourning or in distress. Flash a smile at someone having a bad day. Buy a cup of coffee for someone out in the cold. Kind acts breed other kind acts. A simple act of kindness can go a long way.
It is important to remember that any way you can show someone in need you care is a good way to make the world a better place to live in. Charitable acts do not have to happen through organizations or during special events; they can occur with anyone you meet. You could help an elderly neighbor mow their lawn, assist a new mother with chores so she can get acclimated to parenthood, or hand out hats and scarves to anyone you see in need of them. Sharing truly is caring, and the more caring there is in this world, the better it will be.