Friday, November 7, 2008

Charitable Kids

Here's a great story about teaching children, even from an early age, the benefits of charity and giving. During the election campaign season I saw a couple stories involving children raising money for one of the presidential candidates (prompted or not by the parents, who knows). The usual idea is a lemonade stand but I think I saw one of a little girl who sold cookies, too.

I don't remember how charitable my parents were when I was growing up. If they gave, it was to our church during the "offering" or the thousands of hours both my parents gave in service to the Boy Scouts for me and my brothers. As far as other philanthropy, I'm not sure.

Out of guilt or the unnerving ability to say "No" I have given to a few charities over the years, as well as a few presidential campaigns. My wife and I also support the arts by being members of an art gallery or two. Our names aren't on any buildings or walls, but it's nice to help these organizations get support to survive (and reap a benefit or two ourselves). But I have yet to figuratively "put my money where my mouth is" and give more of my time to causes I see as just. For instance, I find the injustice of poverty compelling and quickly joined John Edwards' Half in Ten campaign (pre-infidelity news, haha).

Thing is, I've never been to a soup kitchen or any group that is helping stamp out poverty, or any cause, for that matter. I've never gone to talk to the elderly or volunteered at a food bank. So, while I feel for certain causes I have yet to really CONTRIBUTE to a worthy cause. Reading the kid's charity story got me thinking, however, that it is never too late to get into the game, as well as teaching our youth how important it is to realize there are people all over the country and the world who have it much harder than us. I hope to use the birth of our son to get involved together and help those in need and foster a culture of giving.

With this week's major event in our country (a new and progressive President), not to mention the conditions our faltering economy are creating, now is a great and much-needed time to give.


Sheryl said...

It's a great idea to start thinking about this before your son is born. And, you're right, it's never too late to start. When I started volunteering for the American Cancer Society in 2004 working with the Relay For Life, I got Molly and Greta involved too. They've helped me rally support and raise money, and particpate in the event. Now they look forward to it every year. In fact, no matter the color of the ribbon, whenever they see a ribbon (yellow for troops, pink for Breast Cancer, etc) they call it a "Relay Ribbon", which technically is purple. We also do the Making Strides Agaisnt Breast Cancer walk in town and a few times a year go through their toys and pick which ones they no longer play with and bring them to Goodwill. After this seasons hurricanes we boxed up some toyes they picked out and took them to a local shelter. So far, they haven't had lemonade stands on the street, but it's funny - Greta has held "sales" in the hallway on the second floor of our home, outside their bedroom, to raise funds for Relay, and also for her kindergarten class's end of year party last year. I took them both to the local ACS office following one such hallway sale (I think this one was cups of water and crackers for sale, I'm not kidding!) to donate their funds to Relay - they raised $3.50 with their .25cent cups of water and crackers, and the person I work with there made a nice fuss over them for their dedication. I'm so proud of them. Good for you for thinking about this early!

Dad in Waiting said...

I love that Greta set up a sales counter in your house!! I understand why you're so involved in the cancer causes, and I think it's so awesome that your girls are, too. Thanks for the great feedback ;)

Anonymous said...

While not a monetary contribution, you often donate blood to the Stanford Blood Center and that's giving so much to patients in need. Something truly noble you should be proud of.

I saw in the paper not too long ago that Stanford honored a donor that gave over 500 times. Can you imagine all the lives he helped save over the years?!?!