“When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear.” . . . “Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me.” Matthew 25:35-36 and 25:40.
There is no way any gift could compare to the gifts God has given all of us – the gift of life, the gift of an incredibly beautiful world, and most of all, the gift of his son Jesus Christ. But each of us – you and I and everyone else – can give gifts that are so special they keep on giving the way God’s gifts to us do.
What are these gifts that keep on giving? Some are donations made to non-profits that honor the values and focus of the recipients, while others only cost time and the willingness to extend yourself. Check out this list of ideas to begin your search for possibilities.
The Gift of Education – Since Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban, the awareness of what a struggle it is for girls to obtain equal educational opportunities has soared. If education for girls is your passion, you can find many regional, national and international organizations to support. Though organizations that provide educational funds for boys and girls aren’t as plentiful, they do exist. One example is the SLT Scholars program in Guatemala and another is World Vision.
The Gift of Good Health –There are wonderful health related non-profits to work with like Partners in Health, Doctors Without Borders and Medical Teams International. All are working to stop epidemics and save lives around the globe. Here at home local programs like Volunteers in Medicine and county health offices provide assistance for the uninsured.
The Gift of Decent Housing – Habitat for Humanity hadn’t been in existence long before they realized that children’s grades improved once they had a simple, decent home to live in. They don’t give people a handout; what they provide is a hand up to a healthier, sustainable lifestyle. Many local chapters need volunteers who can swing a hammer, wield a saw and have some free time to help out. Other low income housing non-profits are following their lead.
The Gift of Nutrition –The number of people in this country who struggle to feed their families is both shameful and overwhelming. It is a problem found throughout the world – parents do without so their children can have something – anything to eat. International agencies need donations for meals, while local food pantries need financial assistance, as well as help sorting, packing and distributing food. Working with those agencies is an eye-opening way to lend a hand where it is most needed.
The Gift of Understanding and Friendship – Respect for those whose religion differs from our own has never been more important than it is right now. Understanding, tolerance and friendship are priceless gifts of love that we can extend to our neighbors at home and abroad. Whether we celebrate Christmas or Kwanza, Hanukkah or Ramadan; whether we call our creator God, or Yahweh or Allah, we are all one in the spirit.
Blessings on your efforts to make generous donations that enhance life,