I’m a little late, but this post is a reply to NCN’s request to learn about the charities that personal finance bloggers are supporting this year.
I’ll be the first to admit that we do not give enough to charity throughout the year. Instead, we tend to do a lot of donating around Christmas time. One of my favorite things to do is to I put my thrifty skills to work to get as many toys as I can for the local Toys for Tots program. We went this past weekend and did that and I had a blast!
In addition to that, I give a larger donation to a single entity. For the past month, I’ve been thinking about an organization to support this year. As most of you know, I support Modest Needs and I’ve been giving some money here and there. I feel in my heart, though, that I want to give a larger donation to an organization closer to home this year.
Thinking back to my roots, there is one organization that I can think of that had a direct influence on my life. I believe that many of my good traits come from being a part of the music program during grade school. It taught me discipline, teamwork, patience, dedication, etc. The sad thing is, sometimes when school systems are having budget problems…the music programs are close to the chopping block. While I was in school, I remember at least one time where there was buzz that the music program would be stopped. Thankfully, the program remained and I was a part of it for eight years of my young life.
I’d like to give back a little, so I am sending a donation to the music program at my grade school. It’s not a lot, but hopefully it can go towards new instruments or maybe some sheet music. Who knows? Maybe someone else is thinking the same thing this year and our donations can work together towards something bigger.
If you are wondering who to give to this year, I have one suggestion. Look to your heart and think about what is important to you. With doing that this year, not only did I figure out who to donate to this year, I also had some smiles going down memory lane 🙂
That’s such a great thought! Many of my happiest memories growing up were also in music class. I bet your donation will be a really nice surprise for your old grade school. 🙂
I was a member of the Boy Scouts of America from roughly ages 13-16. Every year, as is tradition, we would go off to summer camp for a week. For my family, the $110 or so that it cost to get rid of me for a week was probably well worth it! I, of course, didn’t realize at the time that the things events that happened at summer camp would remain with me years later (I’m 28 now).
Also every year, there would be some kids who never went to summer camp, citing various reasons. What I didn’t realize at the time is that a number of those kids weren’t going simply because their families couldn’t afford it. Our scoutmasters would usually chip in what they could and send a few boys that wouldn’t be able to go. In addition, we had a “popcorn fundraiser” every year that provided most of our funds. There was sometimes enough left over to pay the tab for a boy or two — sometimes not.
Now, years later, I can look back and realize the life lessons that I learned while attending summer camp as a member of the Boy Scouts. I remember, as well, the boys who never got to experience that.
While I no longer live in the town that I grew up in, around March of each here I find out the names of those in charge of the Boy Scout troops there. A single phone call is usually all it takes. I like to go and attend a meeting or two, as it reminds me so much of being young and carefree. As I write out a check, it makes me feel so good to know that a few of those kids that wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to experience summer camp will get to go. In this holiday season, it also reminds me that giving really is so much better than receiving.
For this particular Boy Scout troop, summer camp occurs during the first week of July. It is held perhaps a half hour’s drive from where I reside and it follows roughly the same itinerary that it did when I was there (funny how I can remember it). There are certain events that the families are invited to and, while I’m not family, I like to just show up, take a walk around, and watch the kids really enjoying themselves.
Let me say that I am far from “rich”. I make enough to pay my bills and have some left over each month. I’m not as frugal or as much of a tightwad as I’d like to be. There are things that I want that I’m saving towards and the money that I spend for those kids is not “extra” money. There are times when I could really use that several hundred dollars to pay bills. All I have to do, however, is wait until summer camp rolls around and see those kids enjoying themselves to know that I couldn’t have spent the money on anything better.
I give to various other organizations throughout the year and, of course, especially at Christmas time. I know that my money is being used to help people out, but there’s nothing like being able to experience it firsthand.
I’m sure that the music program will be very appreciative of your donations, Tricia. And, thank *YOU* for taking me away from all the stress of the world for a few moments and sending me back to my childhood.
I wish you the best of luck in your continuing financial endeavors and the happiest of holidays to your family.
This year I’ve started tithing to my church as well as a child through Compassion international. I can’t wait to give more once I get out of college and have a real job!
arduous – I hope it surprises them a bit. I didn’t get it out before their winter break (it was earlier than I thought it would be). So I’ll have to send it after the new year.
Anonymous – Thank you for sharing your story. That is so nice of you to help some kids like that. A kindness of a stranger can be very a very beautiful thing. When I was in high school, we had to raise money or pay for a band trip. One of the kids didn’t have enough, but someone helped. They didn’t know who, but they really appreciated it.
Happy holidays to you as well 🙂
Great post. I just want to reiterate how great giving makes me feel. After we paid off the remainder of our debt earlier this year, I felt the strong pull to start tithing. While we don’t tithe a full 10 percent of our total income, we’ve been giving $100 per month to our struggling church since then. I’ve never regretted it, or even missed that money for a moment, even though we’re saving for our emergency fund, need numerous household repairs and drive two 12-year-old cars. On the contrary, my husband and I have decided to increase our contributions in the new year. Feels awesome to be so blessed that we can help bless others!