I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
We do not live in a bubble. Or, another way to look at it, we do live in a bubble but it’s a very large one that just happens to include all living things.
Whatever your beliefs, it is hard to argue that helping others and giving back just plain feels good – in essence, it feeds your soul.
There are many ways to give – time, money, energy – but we often feel too busy to make that extra effort to reach out and be a part of the larger bubble.
No more excuses – here are a smattering of resources that will move you along the way:
As described on the home page, “Charity Navigator, America’s premier independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,500 of America’s largest charities.”
The easy way to get started – just pick a reputable organization that works with a cause close to your heart (animal welfare, human welfare, environmental causes, and more), click on their website, and make a donation. Big, small, whatever you give helps.
Even better, set an amount you’re willing to part with each month – say $15? – and enroll in a monthly deduction. Trust me, you won’t even miss it. But those consistent streams of income (especially when they aren’t garnering attention from a big crisis) can keep the organizations providing those in need during the lean times. Oxfam is one of my faves, but choose one that feels true to you.
Craig’s List Volunteer Classifieds:
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Craig’s List has been pretty successful at keeping online classifieds simple. Opportunities abound, but do your research and as always be safe (i.e. never meet at someone’s home or send money to an organization without doing your due diligence).
In fact, through Craig’s List I discovered a great group called the Monday Night Mission which distributes food to the homeless outside The LA Mission on Skid Row in Downtown LA on Monday (and some Thursday) nights. The image above is from the group last night; ”Like” the Facebook page to get updates so you can volunteer at the next event.
This site allows you to easily search for volunteer opportunities (short term or ongoing) in your area matching your skill sets. Needs range from spending time with terminally ill patients to patching clothes that need mending – something for everyone no matter what your skill set or availability.
Word of mouth:
Ask around. Friends, family, co-workers may have their own causes or work with causes that would allow you to support something while spending time with people you like. This is how I found a couple of great animal rescue groups to work with (I recommend Star Paws Rescue and Forte Animal Rescue). Plus, having a little social activity while giving back is like a double dose of soul food.