I've had "giving" on my mind a lot lately.
Every March our church sponsors children from the Impact Church of Christ as they go back to school. Basically congregants sign up for one or two children and take them back-to-school shopping, getting school supplies or uniforms. We then take them to dinner, somewhere quick (this all takes about two and a half hours). It is a very fun and fulfilling event that Brad and I have participated in the last several years.
Many people at our church can donate their time and many can donate their money, but quite a few people cannot donate both, so we have a program set up where one can shop with someone else's money. We've often used this as an opportunity to spend more than we could alone. This year we had received a small windfall, and so we intended to use our own funds. For some reason, the administrators of the event had us on the list to receive the extra, so two weeks after the fact we were given an envelope of money. An odd little surprise, but a nice one.
I've been trying to decide what to do with it. My first instinct was to drop it straight into the People Helping Collection and be done with it. But I remembered a challenge our preacher set forth for some people a while back: as I recall, there were five volunteers each given one hundred dollars. They had to "make the most of it" in terms of giving. Anybody (with money) can drop it in a bucket, but there are people who can make mountains out of molehills in this sense. They each told their stories of the maximum impact made with that money, and the biggest factor was investing time and thought.
For example, I can put $20 into a collection plate. Or I can use that $20 to buy groceries for a local food kitchen. Or better yet, I can spend $20 on groceries and cook a few meals for those in need and serve them. Same amount of money, but exponentially more service.
So far I've allocated the funds to three projects. I've given $15 to Light the Night (a fund for Leukemia & Lymphoma research), $15 to #MAKEASTAND which is raising funds to end human trafficking, and I intend to use $50 for a NOH8 photo/contribution come October when they are in Houston.
There go the funds, but is it enough? Can I just throw money at a problem, and then sleep better because "I helped"? What about the times when I don't feel I can spare the change? Am I impotent to help? Of course not, but I'm not much of a doer. I can admit that. I don't go out looking for ways to contribute my time and energy. I pray that is something I learn to change.