By Amanda Ponzar
How long would you last if you lost your job? Could you make it one month? Play the online game “Spent” and see how well you do. I lasted seven days and then ran out of money (it took two minutes). Oops.
So, what are you going to do about it? Start first with the people you know –- family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, teachers, etc. Is anyone having a tough time? Consider how you could help: donate funds, make meals, share your clothes, offer babysitting, loan your car, help with yard work or share your special skills (computer, mechanical, etc.).
Once you're supporting your inner circle, here are a few more ideas:
- Support your local community food bank and homeless shelter
- Donate your used goods to Salvation Army or another reputable charity that helps those who really need it
- Raise awareness about programs that support the poor (see how you can spread the word about Sojourner’s “Circle of Protection”)
- Dial 2-1-1 to give or get help
Nonprofit Quarterly recently ran a story on “Why newspapers don’t cover news about poverty” –- it’s just not something that sells. But it’s something we should be aware of (as it happens here in America too), and do everything we can to alleviate, wherever we are, with whatever means we have.
I keep quite a few quotes on my desk about orphans, widows and the poor, including this: "If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness."
This week, Salvation Army came to my house and picked up eight bags of clothes (there go my old prom dresses including a floor-length, fitted blue sequin number –- hello, Vanna White!) plus a toaster, coffee pot, pillar candles, basketball high tops and a bunch of other stuff. Even a skull lamp (don't ask). It feels good to have a tidier house. It feels even better to have helped someone else.
This is just a start. What else can you do?