Make a difference – Volunteer for holidays 2018

As we have noted, charities receive the majority of their financial donations during each holiday and Christmas season. In fact, almost 20% of charitable donations occur in just one month…December. Well, it is that time of the year again to make a difference.

I have been blessed (and worked for it!) in that I am able to both volunteer and donate financially. So, to this end, for the next 3 months (until the end of 2018) we will be donating 10% of our profits to Kiva. I am a big fan of the concept of “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime”. This means it is better to help people gain self-sufficiency, new skills, and help them gain stability so they can live on their own and be successful on their own. The saying means it is better to teach people and help then become self-sufficient then to just hand someone a pile of cash or other stuff.

There are charities and ways to give back that address the goal of increasing self-sufficiency, including community action agencies who need volunteers to help people budget, food pantries in which volunteers can show clients how to shop for healthy groceries and save money on their own, and similar programs. Many of these non-profit groups also find a higher demand around the 2018 holiday season for volunteers.

The United Way is a good place to learn about these non-profits and charities that can help make a difference in the world. They can direct you to which charities or non-profits need help in 2018. While that “handing” people stuff can be done in a crisis (and the items are often needed), it should always be combined with an emphasis on self-sufficiency.

My way of making a difference and giving “a man a fish” is to volunteer at SCORE to help people start or grow a business. I try to give some advice, tips, and support so that they can be successful…or at least I try. Then again, if the person is going to be successful, it would happen with or without me or SCORE….maybe I can just help accelerate the process, encourage them or help them avoid some pitfalls. I am not sure if there is a better feeling in the world of giving someone help, seeing the spark and light in their eye (or the excitement in their voice over the phone) as they go on the path to bigger and better things. I also volunteer at other places from time to time, including dog shelters.

There are ways to also just give people money…so a hand-out. These include, but are not limited to donating cash (or “ringing”) the bells for the Salvation Army 2018 holiday Red Kettle campaign as some of that money goes to direct financial assistance to low income families. Most soup kitchens and feeding sites require both donations of food as well as volunteers to help feed the hungry, poor, homeless, and even lonely during the holidays. They need help for both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in November and December of 2018.

Given someone food or other items is a form of hand-out as well…but then again food is critical and focused so that is probably better than just handing people cash. Just google for a local soup kitchen or pantry to volunteer at or donate to during the 2018 holidays. But there are many other charities in need this 2018 holiday season. Those are just a few ideas.

When it comes to financial donations, I still try to adhere to the “give a man a fish” policy. In an effort to do that, I often donate to Kiva.org, which is a non-profit that funnels the donations (as loans) to people who need money for growing their business. I make donations year round. Not only can it make a huge difference in someone’s life, but it is also enjoyable. I like sometimes surprising the person by giving 100% of what the person needs for their business.

Kiva allows donations across the world to all sorts of businesses, whether a farmer in a third world country to someone based in the US who is seeking some funding to buy some new equipment. It is a loan with terms and conditions, and I think a great way to give back in an effort to make a difference. While I donate year round, we will be increasing our donations to 10% of profits for the upcoming 2018 holidays.

Find 2018 holiday volunteer opportunities

Make a difference. Give back during the 2018 holiday season. Time, money, food, whatever…make a difference this year. Use this to find a number of local and regional charities that need help during 2018. https://www.unitedway.org/get-involved/volunteer

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