Helping those less fortunate than I am has always been important to me. As a small child, I felt so special when my parents gave me a quarter to put in the offering plate at church. When I was in elementary school, I donated my "life savings"--everything that was in my piggy bank--to have Girl Scout cookies sent to the Gulf War troops. In high school, I volunteered as a Salvation Army bell ringer. (I'll be honest, I only did that to get the requisite amount of National Honor Society hours. The bells drive me nuts! But I do still drop my change in the red buckets when I see them at the mall.)
Now that I'm an adult, I often feel guilty that I have so much when others have so little. I can't always help solve whatever the problem is directly, and let's be honest, volunteering is not always appealing. So, I put my money where my mouth is. Jason and I are lucky enough to be able to give monetary support to a variety of causes, and I get to spend every day helping a cause because I work for a charity. We give a few dollars each month to my organization, and we also make a larger annual donation.
So far this year, we've also given to Cell Phones for Soldiers and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. Past donations have gone to Computers with Causes, the Lowell Humane Society, Massachusetts SPCA, and ASPCA.
I like groups like Cell Phones for Soldiers and Computers with Causes because they help me recycle my outdated electronics while also supporting a good cause. I always send our old phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers--they sell the phones to companies that refurbish them and the proceeds are used to send phone cards to U.S. servicemembers overseas. For me, getting a call from Jason while he's deployed makes my day, week, and month, so making it possible for another lonely wife to hear from her hero is a no-brainer. The next time all you fancy pantses get a new Blackberry or iPhone, send the old one to Cell Phones for Soldiers!
Do you donate to or volunteer with any charities or groups? Or, if donating isn't in your budget, what cause is closest to your heart?
P.S. Lots of health-related charities fund cruel and useless animal tests. Don't throw your money away on that! You can find humane charities at HumaneSeal.org.
P.P.S. And just to end on an upbeat note: