A Great Year for Giving

The statistics of poverty in 2011 alone are staggering. It encompasses hunger, homelessness, lack of medical care and so much more. Even in the United States, one of the richest nations in the world, there is poverty. There are people starving. There are people living wherever they can find a little shelter, even if that shelter is no more than a box.

Beyond poverty there is abuse, neglect, drugs and crimes too numerous to mention.

The new year has begun…

…but for many it’s nothing more than a change of date. While the rest of us are making grand resolutions to lose weight and better our finances, others are simply trying to find their next meal.

In John 21: 15-17, Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. Peter says, yes, he does, to which Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.”*

Can we do any less?

It’s not about giving food or even money. It’s about giving — period. Whether we are Christian or not, when we see a need it is our moral duty to do what we can. How else can we make this a better world for our children and their children?

There a few people who have been gifted with a lot. Some of them donate huge amounts of money or adopt several children as their contribution to worldwide betterment. Others create places for the have-nots to work for a hot meal.

You may think we should leave it to those people. After all, they have more than enough, they can afford to share.

You may think one person with very little can’t do anything significant, so why not offer up some prayers and hope for the best.

You can help.

If being a self-published author has taught me anything it’s that we can’t do it alone. Sure, there are a few bright stars who somehow do it all, but the rest of us need help.

Let’s do just a little math and see how this works.

I can buy a Coke for $.30 where I work. I work about 7 days every two weeks. If I buy one soda each of those days I’ve spent $2.10 every pay period. Not much, right?

There are about 26 pay periods per year. That means I would spend about $55 each year on soda. Now it’s starting to add up.

Let’s say each of the 8 employees bought the same number of sodas per year. That comes to $440. That’s more than it costs to buy a 32″ flat screen LCD HDTV or a 15.6″ HP laptop at Wal-Mart. It’s not a lot, sure, but it’s more than what one person had alone.

Now imagine if we all did something like that. What if we all gave up a cup of coffee or a soda every day for a year and donated that money to a charity? It doesn’t even matter which charity you choose, because there are others joining you in the cause.

How can you help?

Obviously donating your money is an easy way and there are a lot of charities who would be glad of it. I’ve included several at the end of this post to get you started.

You can also donate time. From clothes closets to food pantries to organizations building houses, there are a lot of places that need volunteers. If you don’t know how to locate one where you live, stop by a church and ask. If they don’t know of any, they can usually point you to someone who does.

The list:

Heifer International — Their mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.

Habitat for Humanity — They are a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry, seeking to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action

The Salvation Army — Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital –The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

Make-A-Wish Foundation — Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation® has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work.

Humane Society International — Humane Society International is one of the only international animal protection organizations in the world working to protect all animals.

Not seeing one you want to work with? Check out the Better Business Bureau’s Charity Review page.


If you want to read the full text of John 21:15-17 is available from World English Bible.

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