Tuesday, July 15, 2014

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank

Charity, people have different ideas about what or who is worthy of their time, money, experience, etc.
But today I'm focusing on the charitable aspect of giving money.

In the county of San Diego we have hundreds if not thousands of charities.  If you can think of a reason to give I guarantee there is somewhere you can donate your hard earned dollars to.  Children, Elderly, Religion, Health Care, Homeless, LGBT, Veterans, Research, Mental Health, Science, Animals....I could go on all day listing the different types of charitable organizations.

However there is always the question of how much of each dollar goes directly to the needs of the charity vs the administrative costs, employees, etc.  But what about when you hand some spare change to someone homeless on the street?  How much of that goes to food vs drugs or alcohol?  Many homeless people suffer from some type of Mental Illness, so drugs and alcohol for them are just a temporary way of self medicating. Homelessness is an entire blog topic on its own so let me try and stay on track here.

Over the past 2 decades that I have been volunteering for and working at non profit organizations I have seen a vivid picture of what individuals think is important and worth them writing a check.  There are some people that donate large sums of money simply for a tax write off, some that give because they believe in the goal that you are working towards.  I've seen people raise money in many different ways.  Shave their heads, strip, sing, dance, twerk, werk, and just put themselves out there and say I have nothing to offer you, but can you help me to help these other folks in need.  I also may have seen or taken part in someone donating a $100 on an Alaskan bar crawl to reach down a certain persons pants.  But let me get back on track once again, which brings me to my next thought about "giving".

Recently one of my front teeth broke off, I was devastated.  My smile is a HUGE part of me, my personality shines and I am confident, willing to put myself out there.  After seeing that a woman created a Go Fund Me page for a boob job I figured my smile was just as important to me as her boobs were to her.   And it worked, you gave me back my smile.   Ill require much more dental work in the future but for now I am smiling from ear to ear.   Im not sure what it was that made people reach into their wallets and donate to me (not a tax write off).  Not only was I able to replace the tooth but I had raised enough money to "upgrade" to a tooth that is more realistic looking and will consistently match any other teeth that might need replacing in the future.

Yesterday I saw a Facebook friend who I have never met post a funding page for a shed for his home.  There are some very valid reasons behind his decision to ask publicly for help.  Some of which he shared personally with me, some of which he posted in his funding page.  But he is taking a chance that his friends will lend a hand, he is also taking a chance that some people will judge him and say there are people starving in this world and you need a shed?   I know what courage it takes to ask for money for yourself, for something personal.   I have no problem at all asking strangers for money when it comes to a charitable cause or organization.  But when its for something personal?  Well that's much different.  There is a feeling of shame no matter how strong your need is.

I must be the luckiest guy on earth because I have had many friends over the past few years help me with bills, rent, telephone payments, groceries, rides to and from where ever.  Some of these things I have had to ask for and some of these people would just come to me and ask how much is your phone bill?

Shortly I will be receiving a small amount of money from the sale of my fathers cemetery plot I fully intend to PAY IT FORWARD..   Pay it forward, just do it.  Buy a coffee for someone in line behind you at Starbucks, use those 2 for 1 coupons at the fast food joint and give the other to someone in need.  Tip that food server, or anyone else providing a service 50% just once.  If everyone were to pay it forward imagine how many smiles we would see each day.

Here is the link to a page of someone I have never even met who is in need.   Can you pay it forward today?

Home is Where Your Heart Is

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” 
― John Bunyan

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