Give Back!

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

~ Albert Einstein

Whether it’s making a donation to a charity or simply buying a gift for a friend, I have always found that giving back is the best “feel good” technique.  There are millions of people in the world who are much less fortunate than us, so why not help them out a little.  There are tons of foundations and charities that are set up to help make the connection to those less fortunate, but they can always use more donations.

Even a small donation can make a difference.  According to one charity, $1 per week (or $52 per year) can buy twenty weeks of lunches for a homeless person, three hours of respite care for a cancer patient, and three flu shots for an uninsured senior citizen.  Now think about how much a single “specialty coffee” drink costs at Starbucks: around $4.  Say you buy three a week… that’s $12 per week on coffee.  A donation of $10 per week ($520 a year) can buy fifteen cases of nutritional supplements for HIV and AIDS patients, six months of health education and awareness for a refugee community, and training for one volunteer to work with the terminally ill.  When that is such a small and disposable amount of money to us, why not use it for something better than coffee?

Not only are you helping other people, it has also been proven to make you feel good.  “Researcher Stephen Post says helping a neighbor, volunteering, or donating goods and services results in a “helper’s high,” and you get more health benefits than you would from exercise or quitting smoking” (Yes!).

So next time you go to buy something for yourself, put some money aside in a donation fund or buy a small gift for a friend having a bad day.  Best of both worlds: give a donation as a gift.  There are many organizations that are set up to allow this type of purchase, such as Heifer International.  I received one of these donations as a gift from my grandmother every Christmas and I can remember feeling great every time I opened the envelope.


5 thoughts on “Give Back!

  1. Thanks for your thoughts, Grace. I agree, a simple action of giving back can really change a lot of lives. I know some of my close friends and family members are going to help people who are in need after Hurricane Sandy. At Bucknell we got lucky and were not affected by the Hurricane, but many peoples lives were changed forever. Giving back is more important now than ever.

  2. Grace if I am being honest here I completely disagree about the part of the heifer donation being a great gift. I personally never viewed it that way, I think donating is a choice each individual (should) make but to force donating on others as a gift is unfair as they themselves don’t get to make that decision and the intrinsic value fo giving yourself is taken away.

    • Foster, you mean giving to a charity in honor of someone, like I give to Heifer and then tell my wife, here is your gift, I gave the money to Heifer, undercuts the act of giving?

      Interesting. At least for something like Heifer, for us, as a family, it is an amount, but the kids choose how to use it (for a flock of chickens, bees, and so on).

      At least for kids, if you give them some cash and say, “Why don’t you give some away?” without providing some guidance, well, you can imagine it tends to not happen.

  3. When we do Chanukah, one night is a donation, like Heifer or Kiva, and one night is a trinket. I think the kids like the giving away as much as getting.

  4. Ahh!!! the stats drove me crazy! how about this? Give up three cups of coffee each week and you feed John Doe, an HIV patient, sufficient nutritional supplements, and train a volunteer to take care of him!

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