Thursday, February 25, 2010

It May Not Be Much

But it's the best I can do right now. I'm talking about helping someone out. Donating. Giving to charity. Whatever you want to call it. Whether it be money, time, or goods does not matter.

I learned from an early age that giving is a big deal. With 5 kids in the family you are always giving something up! OK not really the same thing. My mom was a stay at home mom so we were never rolling in the dough but my parents decided on an amount they could commit to and donated that amount EVERY month of their lives so far to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital On their web page it says "Finding Cures. Saving Children." That was important to my parents.

Growing up as kids we were always involved in the Scouting experience, both Boy and Girl Scouts. We would visit old folk homes and read and just talk to some of the people who had no one to visit them. We all went to Catholic School and were involved in many community projects.

I like the Thanksgivings in our adult years that all of us girls would get together and walk in the Walk for Hunger in Sacramento, CA.
And not just because the guys would have all the cooking done by the time we got back.

When I first started making soap, one of the soap groups I was on had a soap drive and we sent over 500 bars of soap to overseas soldiers. That was very cool.

My brother and my parents have both spent Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays serving meals to others who don't have a family to share with, some don't have a home.

My folks were great travelers with the Habitat for Humanity program. They would hop in their RV and drive all over the USA to help out other folks build homes for someone who otherwise would never be able to own one. Two weeks here, two weeks there, they had a great time, made many new friends, and made memories that will last a lifetime. My mom learned how to hang sheet rock when she was 60. She already knew how to paint and wanted to learn something new.

I love when my dad would tell me he had to go over to some old folk's house to crawl under his mobile home and fix his cable for him. They were volunteering at the senior center in AZ at that time. I did not have the heart to tell him that at age 70 some people might consider him old! He would just tell them that to stay young you have to act young and stay busy.

My dad has gone through a lot of cancers and with the first one my mom became involved in The Chemo Angels. That has been over 15 years now. She is still making cards and sending "pick me up" gifts to her chemo pals. Anything to brighten their day or make them smile. I like when she sends a big plastic soda bottle full of M&Ms or other bright candies. The post office loves her. They call her their Angel.

Here in Gardnerville there are many ways you can give to the community. We have the "Ring in Kindness" program being held at Three Rooms Gallery-Felix Pottery every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

My daughter is waiting for a "little sister" from the Big Brother Big Sister program. Their school clubs also have them collecting and donating Thanksgiving Meals, Christmas meals and gifts, coats, and food for the Food Closet of the Carson Valley. The Animal Shelter, The CASA Program, The Boys and Girls Club are just a few of the volunteer opportunites listed here.

With both my husband and myself laid off the past year, things are a little tight but I still try to donate to local organizations when asked for raffle prizes or gift baskets. After Christmas I had an extra $25 and I was able to start something I had been checking out for a while. It is the Kiva Organization. I loan my $25 to another business owner and when they pay it back I can re-loan it to someone else. It is way cool. I have only loaned to one person so far. I was looking for a woman owned business. I did not care what country or what business as long as a woman owned it. I found one and loaned my money. I just got a notification that it was already half way to being paid back. I went to the site and read about "my" lady and the weirdest thing caught my attention. She has the same birth date as me! I had never looked at all the details on her profile, just the type of business and location. I thought that it was cool we were born on the same date. I guess it was just "meant to be." It is fun to track her progress and will be very rewarding to me to be able to help out someone build up their business.

There are many ways to give in your community. You can donate your time to drive seniors to the store or doctor appointments. You can read to people in the hospital. You can teach someone to read through the reading programs at the schools. You can mentor a child or teenager. There are clubs such as the Rotary Club of Minden , The Carson Valley 20/30 Club or the Elks Club .

We are all busy, times are tough right now, money is tight. The rewards for giving of yourself to help someone for no other reason than you can, are indescribable. Try it, you'll soon become addicted. And what a good addiction to have.


  1. What an awesome page Michelle. I did have trouble reading it through the tears.

  2. I was going to say the same thing, Mom. Awesome blog!!

  3. Michelle....your parents are pretty special people and they have raised wonderful kids.

    I am always touched with your brother's faithful participation with the Wednesday dinners for the homeless and hungry. Its hard work in a sometimes difficult environment.

    Giving is such an important attitude and action. You've provided some excellent causes.

  4. Helping those less fortunate is a humbling experience. I can't put into words the feeling I get when I help cook, serve and clean on Wednesday nights. Knowing that for some of those who come to the church it's their only meal of that day; for some of those will leave there and sleep under a bridge or in a park on a cold, wet night. It really makes us thankful for what we have. Paul's (smokey to us) has a wonderful ministry with minimal resources and feeds between 120 and 200 hundred people a week on donated food.

    Michelle...thanks for your insight and your suggestions on how we can all help those in need. Many churches offer great opportunities to volunteer time to help others as well

    Great post...


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