Give to Charity for the Holidays | Every Little Bit Helps
Help the hungry for the holidays
The holiday season has a way of pushing the generous, charitable side of people into action. Of course, fighting hunger and poverty are year-round battles, as is providing developing countries with access to education and health care.
But if the holiday season is what it takes to get people into a giving mood, so be it. Giving to charity helps families in the U.S. and all over world, and I recently found out just how far small donations go toward fighting hunger and aiding education, gender equality, health care and infrastructure. You might think juggling debt management and donating money to charity is impossible, but it only takes a little bit of money to make a big difference.
I learned about what charities do with small donations from a book I read recently, “Give a Little,” by Wendy Smith. Much like the author of this book, I had always thought that I had to make huge sacrifices in order to help the less fortunate. However, from “Give a Little” I learned that donations as small as $3 can make a huge difference in feeding the hungry, fighting disease or helping those who don’t have access to clean water.
“Give a Little” details what different organizations do with small amounts of money, from about $3 to $60. Even just a $5 or $10 donation can lift a whole family permanently out of poverty in some cases. Who doesn’t have $5 to give to sick or starving fellow humans?
Making every dollar count
Of course, I paid $15 for “Give a Little” and then felt very silly knowing how much good that $15 could have done to help people. But I gave the book to my sister and asked her to give it to someone else when she is done, hoping that a chain reaction of giving will follow. This is an example of ripple effect giving, which is talked about at length in “Give a Little.”
However, I recommend you use your $15 to help poor families in developing countries or right here in the U.S. I have compiled a short list of organizations that can do a whole lot of good for a little money. My family agreed to give to these charities this year rather than buying each other more unnecessary stuff, so if you’re struggling to come up with a way to draw more meaning out of the holidays, perhaps this will help.
One of the most inspiring stories in “Give a Little” is about Heifer International, an organization that has been around since World War II. Heifer International provides individuals and families living in poverty in developing countries with the tools they need to feed themselves and their loved ones and make a living.
Donations as small as $20 can help lift a family permanently out of poverty. For instance, $20 buys a flock of chicks. When the chicks are old enough to lay eggs, they provide food for the family, and extra eggs can be sold for substantial income. Once a family escapes poverty and has enough to pay for the children to go to school the cycle stops and the children grow up to be self-sustaiing and entrepreneurial as well. Check out the Heifer International web site for more details on how the organization has helped and does help people all over the world, and find out how as little as $10 can change lives.
More organizations to research
Some of the other organizations I learned about help fight diseases. Nothing But Nets provides insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets to poor people who live in areas where malaria runs rampant. It only costs $10 to help someone avoid this often deadly disease.
Action against Hunger runs feeding centers in Kenya that nurse severely malnourished people back to health. A $50 could save someone’s life. KickStart helps Kenyan farmers by providing inexpensive water pumps to irrigate crops. KickStart says a $60 donation can permanently life a family out of poverty. Maternal and Child Health Product can help 18 mothers have clean, save baby delivies for just $5. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis says if Americans donate $30 a year for three years they’ll have all the funding they need. Go to GreaterGood.org to learn more.
Most importantly, just remember to give whatever you can, even if it’s only a little bit. Thanks to the internet, donating to worthy causes is easier than ever. With so many people out there living in poverty, just a few dollars can make all the difference in the world. A small amount that won’t make any difference to you could mean all the difference for an unfortunate family.