Today over on Swistle's blog, she talks about Doing Nice Things For Other People, and invited readers to comment on the nice things they do. Reading this has made me feel....lazy and guilty, and like I should be doing More Nice Things.
One of my New Years Resolutions was to start including charitable giving in our monthly budget, instead of a mad rush of giving money I feel we don't have the week of Christmas, which always stresses me out, but I feel like a jerk keeping all our money for ourselves and not helping people who CAN'T EAT, or poor little kids whose mothers are crack addicts and don't buy them toys, but hey, my kids want toys too, and having 4057 relatives that one has to buy Christmas gifts for kind of adds up, you know?
And so, here we are, in August, eight months into the year, and I have given...exactly zero donations to charity.
And, of course, its 1 pm and I have 4 hours left to pack and clean my house and toss all the crap out of the fridge before we leave for a family reunion camping trip, and this is an inconvenient time to be feeling shameful and guilty. I should go donate blood! I should sign up to mentor that poverty-stricken child! I should give some money to the food bank! I don't have time today, I'll do it next Tuesday!
Ok, I am taking suggestions. What should I do with my charitable self? Donating blood seems like a reasonably easy, not time consuming thing I can do before my babysitter leaves in two weeks. And I have a very rare blood type that they are always happy to get, so I will do that.
What else? I have little free time for volunteering once the school year starts in the next few weeks. One of my other New Years Resolutions was to stop feeling guilty about giving money instead of time. Charities are perfectly happy to have my money instead of me.
I like donating money directly to causes, preferably local causes, and I prefer causes that help kids. For example, in south Jersey we looked at paying for a child in Camden (worst city in the nation) to a charter school for a semester, and we adopt families for Christmas. I usually give donations to food banks, although I haven't done a thing since I moved up here.
In south Jersey, the newspaper put out a monthly charity section with different needs, and it was easy to pick and choose what you wanted to support. I just haven't figured out how to tap into the charitable community up here.