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November 14, 2005


Wow. Those are strong thoughts. I often have very similar thoughts when talking to folks in our rural area (like the follow we hire for $15 an hour to help us with yard work who lives in a camper) or when considering how generous to be with donations and time. Could we do more? Should we? How much difference could it make? Would it be a lasting difference? How would it be perceived?

It's too much for me to consider and it sounds like it's a bit overwhelming for you too. I hope you'll appreciate the good things you do. You make an effort not to be wasteful. You are charitable and generous. You took the time and made the risk to give this woman a ride today, which is almost certainly the most significant help she got today. You shared it with us.

I don't think it helps anything for you to feel bad about what you didn't or couldn't do and it couldn't hurt to appreciate yourself for the good things you've done. If everyone made the same effort as you do to minimize your negative impact and give a little back, don't you think things would be wonderful. There's no need to take on the entire responsibility. If you can do more, you'll do it, and appreciating your current efforts can only help.

Thanks sincerely for sharing this.

Great post.

I've been in both shoes-- having the money to buy what I want and (thanks to a health problem that put me out of work for some time) wishing I had $20 so I could have something to eat in the house.

I think people are so busy nowadays that they sometimes forget about those less fortunate. They have a house, cars, food on their table, and the money to buy "toys." As such, they forget what it's like to raid your daughter's piggy bank just to buy some food or gas so your husband can get to work.

I'm sure we all know someone who is less fortunate and could use a little help. Even those of us with a lot of pride would gladly accept a few bucks to help us buy some food between paychecks. Or to have enough to pay the rent so you don't get hit with a $50-150 late fee.

It's not that hard to help out those you know. You can find out what grocery stores they frequent and pick them up a gift card. Or a gift card to a gas station that's nearby. Or a pack of bus tickets for someone who is without a car.

I can't tell you how many times we ate sandwiches all week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because the church gave away free bread (or the store had it REAL cheap) and you could buy certain kinds of lunchmeat for cheap. Throw in a head of lettuce and some cheap cheese and you have your grain, vegetable, meat, and dairy. I'd have been so happy for a $20 gift certificate to Winco or Safeway so I could have gotten more than $5 worth of groceries for an entire week.

It's amazing how many people seem to turn a blind eye to friends and family members who are struggling to pay rent/mortgage and put food on the table due to things like job loss, health problems, etc.

There's lots of little things you can do that can really brighten up someone's day who really needs it.

I'm sure she really appreciated the car rides you gave her. Not only that, she likely arrived more refreshed and less stressed to her interview than she would have if she'd walked/ridden the bus there.

That was a wonderful, well written and emotional posting. I don't know what to do either. So many organizations that receive donations use so much for themselves. I would rather give on a one on one basis, which is what we do in St. Lucia. That way, I know our money goes directly to the needy.

There will always be those we are not helping enough or don't know how to help and that is true even if we are regularly contributing.

One thing we did some years back that has been helpful is start what we call a god fund. It's money that we regularly deposit in a saving account with the knowledge we cannot use it; but that when we hear of a need of someone, it's there. It's funny because you don't think of that money as yours at all anymore and it's gone out to do all kinds of things from helping with school tuitions, to moving, to paying for food and on and on. The best gifts are big because when a stranger (and often as we can, we give this anonymously) gives you a lot with no desire for being paid back (when we do give it with someone knowing, we say pass it on as you know it's amazing how many times people in need earlier were the kind to help others themselves and just tough times hit), you do feel blessed from the universe and it can really change a life path.

Once we have given it out, I don't even think of it again as it was never ours anyway. We try to be responsible where it goes as since it's not ours, it can't be just thrown out when it's not serving a real help. Sometimes you give someone money and it only helps them stay where they are. That's not real help. We do not have enough money to help someone forever. The best help is when they can move to a new level because of what you were a conduit for-- and that's what givers are-- conduits. When we miss our chances, we lost out as much as the one who needed it.

As we see with our government, throwing money at problems doesn't work; so it takes being open, aware, listening and then the money is there and easy to dispense.

Well written, dear friend. And the feelings are not unlike those I had during the Katrina and Rita efforts. Your kindness, thoughtfulness and actions will not be forgotten by your passenger. You eased her burden, even if only temporarily. But you helped when you had the opportunity.

Be thankful and appreciative for what you have and continue to look for opportunities to help.

How many millionaires rushed out to buy you a Mini Cooper convertible? ;)

Thank you for helping when the opportunity presented itself. You didn't do it to feel good about yourself, you did it to help someone. That's the mark of character. It's okay to appreciate what you have, and it's okay to stop in your tracks now and then, measure your "progress," and wonder why you made it this far and whether it's "right."

Keep doing good things. Not because it comes back, but because it's right. :)

A great story, but that woman is nowhere near the bottom of the economic ladder. Think about the so-called working poor who try to support families with jobs that pay $10.20/hour, or people who are addicted or mentally-ill, or who have no skills and are homeless, and cannot get or hold jobs.

You don't need money to help. Volunteer. Give an hour a week at a soup kitchen, or collect canned goods, or tutor in a literacy program; give your old clothes; drive poor people to the doctor. There are "brazillians" of things you can do to help.

You can help many people who need it.

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