If you recognize yourself in this article, thank you.
Over this past year, I have been touched by the kindness of friends, family and acquaintances too many times to count, and it often originated on Facebook. One positive aspect of Facebook is the charitable giving it can promote.
As an employee of Friendship House, a non-profit agency that serves children with special needs, I often hear about ways my agency is trying to raise money, and sometimes I share them. The budgets of agencies like mine have been slashed in the past decade. There was a time when my agency couldn’t make payroll. We were at risk of having to close our doors, denying children the supports they so desperately need.
So, when a local pizza place was selling pizzas and donating half the proceeds to our autism department, I posted on Facebook. Several friends who own or run local corporations stepped up and had hundreds of pizzas delivered for lunch.
When we found ourselves without Christmas gifts for our foster families this year, I posted about it and a friend contacted me, saying she would like to take care of that. She did not want public acknowledgment.
Sometimes, because they know what kind of agency I work for, people come to me. A high school student has taken on a different foster family each year, collecting new and gently used clothing for all of their children. For a child who has worn nothing but shabby clothes from Goodwill, opening up a lovely gift bag that contains Ugg boots, a North Face jacket and Abercrombie jeans is a beautiful thing. Some of these kids may try to downplay their excitement, veiled behind their protective armor, but the wide, shining eyes tell it all.
A Girl Scout troop inquired about how its members could give. There are teenagers in local group homes who have no contact with their families. No one but staff buys them a birthday gift or a Christmas present. The troop “adopted” one of these teens, gathering information about clothing sizes and things they might enjoy. They delivered their carefully selected gifts for each special occasion throughout the year. My only regret is, due to confidentiality, they couldn’t be there in person to see the impact their thoughtfulness had made.
It happens at the Waverly Community House. A donation box is put out to collect food, toys, even Halloween costumes for the less fortunate, and people fill it. There may be no one watching when they make their donation, but they do it anyway.
These generous individuals give without recognition. They don’t want a public announcement of their good deed. They derive their pleasure from giving, not from being thanked or complimented. For some people, giving feels good, and that is enough.
Sometimes, however, there is good reason to share your donation. We’ve all seen the Go Fund Me pages, the walk/run events and the pancake/car wash/bake sales to support some worthy cause. Sharing that kind of giving spreads the word and may inspire others to jump on board.
In the case of a coworker who was suddenly diagnosed with stage four cancer, the Go Fund Me page set up by her dear friend went viral. When people shared that they had donated, others became aware and spread the news. That kind of sharing got her the alternative treatment she needed.
Whatever the reason people give, thank you. In the current climate of divisiveness, hate and violence, it helps to know that there is so much good out there. There are people who want to share what they have. They see a need and they seek to fill it. They look for opportunities to improve the lives of others. These people inspire us to be better and more compassionate. They compel us to be the very best version of ourselves that we can be.
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