To Lend A Helping Hand

I have always been a believer in goal setting, but a few years ago I began wondering what I could do to help others more. Granted, sometimes I can’t even help myself without breaking some body part and signing up for another surgery of sorts, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to try and find ways to help those around me.

There isn’t much that compares to the feeling of knowing that you really made a difference in someone’s life.

For example, I know that when I donate supplies to the local animal shelter, pay someone’s medical bill, or help a friend in need that it makes a difference. But does it really matter when I give to non-profits, or are the people that work for these foundations just making a living off of everyone’s donations?

I will never forget the day I mentioned to my office assistant that I had donated to Walmart’s, “Feeding America” program. His response was something like, “The cashier probably could have used that money for her own groceries.”

Wow! I was completely taken aback at his blunt, but honest statement. And he was absolutely right. Although I may have made a difference helping someone, somewhere… I wasn’t thinking about WHO my money was helping. I really wanted to help people here in my own small town.

From that day on I have tried to make a difference in the lives around me. Around the holidays, I always think it might be nice to help a needy family during the holidays, but how do you know who to help and how to help them?

When I mentioned the idea to my brother, he shared a time that he had participated in a donation effort in our area some years ago. He told me how much he enjoyed going shopping for a family their organization had chosen to receive help, and how wrapping gifts for the children so they would have presents to open on Christmas made him feel really good.

Envisioning excitement from the children, and thankfulness from the parents on the delivery day, the way it played out left him stunned and reluctant to help a family during the holidays ever again when a man – presumably the father, instructed him to put all of the food and gifts in the back of his pickup so he could take everything back for a refund.

How would you have felt knowing your kindness was being cashed in for a refund?

Obviously, this family needed the money more than they needed food and gifts, but would you have trusted the man to use the money for something the family needed?

In my experience, giving someone money in hopes that they use it to pay their late bills doesn’t mean they won’t blow it on something that you think is wrong. So for me, giving people money isn’t always the right answer.

There are all kinds of ways to help people, which means you don't have to have a bunch of extra money laying around to do your part. Volunteering your time or expertise, teach someone something new, be courteous in public, help your neighbor, donate things you don't need... the list goes on and on.

Call me an idealist, but it seems to me that if everyone in the world offered some sort of ‘help’ or random act of kindness to a complete stranger throughout the year, even if it’s doing something as simple as holding the door open for someone else, I believe the world would be a better place.

So here is the question…

If you were to help someone that really needed it, who would you choose to help, and how would you help them?

Care about your fellow humans as you would wish to be cared for. You never know… we may just start a trend!

Thanks so much for reading!

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