Daily Archives: December 1, 2020


Helping others helps yourself, too.

Okay, I must have been living under a rock because I never heard of Giving Tuesday until recently.  I can be somewhat forgiven since this global movement was only started in 2012.  In the United States, it is designated as the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which means that it is December 1st this year.

I wonder if this date was selected to apply a little guilt after the splurges of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday?  Whatever.  I think this is just a nice time of year to expand our Grinchy hearts and open our wallets.  Which is why all those Please Donate envelopes have started arriving in our mailboxes.

Frankly, I would rather have teeth pulled than beg for money which I used to have to do as part of my job as Arts Director.  Even selling over-priced candy bars for the PTO was preferable than to actually asking people for money.  But I love to donate money for the fuzzy warm feeling it gives me.  I only wish I had more to donate.

So how do you decide which worthy cause should benefit by your generosity?  I once watched an interview with a royal rich somebody who was asked the same question.  He said that there are so many worthy causes, that you must just select a few and concentrate on those.  So that is what I have done the past several years.

These are some of my favorite causes:

The arts, obviously.  It’s been a really rough year for the arts with live performances canceled nearly everywhere.  This has had a ripple effect.  Not only are the performers out of work, but also their support staff, roadies, lighting and music technicians, costumers, etc.  They all have families and mortgages and orthodontist bills, too.  I give what I can to my local arts organization but extend it further by making donations in memory of people who have passed, instead of buying funeral flowers.  It adds up.

I’m a big fan of libraries and make donations to a couple of them in my area.  Libraries have been going above and beyond to entertain and supply patrons with services during this difficult time.  And they always seem to be able to stretch a dollar so I’m happy to help.

My college receives my annual alumni donation.  Again, not very big but I don’t want to end up on the deceased alumni list.

And some of my favorites are PBS television and radio stations in the area.  I figure that I listen to their broadcasts nearly daily so I ought to kick in a little.

These are some of my favorite charities.  Again, I don’t have much extra money but I feel that my contributions will be put to good use.

But what if you don’t have much to give?  Maybe you’re on the receiving end this year.  How can you help if you have no money?

Don’t have any money? Volunteer your time.

Time is a big help to many charities.  Help your local food bank organize and deliver food.  Volunteer as a docent or free help for your favorite cause.  Do you have a local animal shelter?  They can always use dog walkers and pen cleaners.  Not the most glamorous job but it needs to be done.

Take a meal to someone.

My husband is a big one for bringing people homecooked meals.  Maybe they’ve been sick or injured.  Maybe they’ve had a death in the family.  This used to be a very common thing to do but has nearly disappeared since we’re all so busy with our lives these days.  It’s still a thoughtful thing to do.  Now one of our sons has begun to carry on this tradition which is so satisfying to see. 

Help clean up trash in your neighborhood, on a walk, or at a river cleanup event.

Maybe you’d rather spend your time outdoors.  How about volunteering for a river clean up?  Or Just take a bag with you on your next walk and pick up some trash.  Some is better than none and very litter bit helps.  (That’s a joke.)

Many of you have probably already volunteered for your PTO or youth leagues but those activities may have been canceled due to the pandemic.  Maybe you could do some online tutoring.  There is always someone who needs your help. 

Finally, if you are home a lot more these days, now is a great time to clean out those closets, garages, basements, sheds, etc.  Donate the good used items to charity resale shops who, in turn, help out people in your community.

These are just a few ideas for sharing in your community.  The nice thing about donating your money or your time is that it makes you feel good.  And it helps others.  And don’t we all need more of that right now?

Some helpful links:

Charity Watch

Top 100 Non Profits

Guidestar directory of Charitable Organizations

Good Housekeeping list of top 50 charities for 2020

This is a good place to start but I cannot personally vouch for each and every one of the charities listed here. Do your homework.