Thursday, December 06, 2007

...but the greatest of these is charity

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I Corinthians (ch. XIII, v. 13)

We are fortunate. Blessed. Lucky. Compared to the vast bulk of humans on this planet, we are wealthy beyond measure. We have good health, a home, plenty to eat, clothing, and disposable income. Our needs are covered and our wants are very, very few. Most people would say we are rich. We're not using $100 bills as tinder and we don't have diamonds on the soles of our shoes, but we have a fireplace and lots of ordinary shoes.

And, because of this, we give back. Probably not enough, but we donate clothes, we have provided food for food banks, we give toys to Toys for Tots (a personal favorite of Archie's, as a former Marine), and we give money. A neighborhood near us decorates out the wazoo for Christmas and takes donations for the Leukemia Society and we go and look at the lights every year and donate on the spot. (A personal favorite of mine because my sister-in-law contracted leukemia.)

But my current favorite charity is Heifer International. As a parent, I love that you can let your kids help you pick out what animals you want to donate. If you're a vegetarian, you could donate bees. If you're a vegan, the gift of trees is an option. But you're helping people improve their situations with a sustainable gift that not only keeps on giving, but that the people who are helped are tasked to pass on, as well. You're giving hope in the form of a llama. You're giving the chance for education with some rabbits. It takes the Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime," one step further. With a gift to Heifer, you're giving a family food, teaching them how to support themselves with that gift, and then allowing them to give the gift and the teaching to someone else. I think that's fantastic.

Look, sometimes, to use that same idea, people just need the damn fish. They just need that meal, that shelter, that single handout. By donating to Heifer, you're giving that handout, but also a hand up. And then giving people who had nothing the ability to be charitable, themselves. To feel fortunate, lucky, blessed.

Consider Heifer International. But, whatever you do, give something back, somewhere.

[This post is in response to today's Holidailies prompt for the Holidailies Charity Project. ]

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