Give When You Can Give.

When was the last time you gave something to someone? I am not talking about a present for a child’s birthday. Or offered a diet coke out of your frig to a friend stopping in. I’m talking about really REALLY giving, to a cause, to a family member, or how about a friend in need?

Times are tough for our country right now. Granted, comparably to those in many countries, we are still living the high life. But, in the grand scheme of our own economy, things have not been very good. And many of us, many of us living on one income, in homes with dwindeling equity, scraping it together to buy more expensive groceries and gas – times aren’t easy.

I have a friend of mine who has been really struggling. I will keep her details private but I am worried about her. Even with three young children, her family has already cut the fringe stuff: cell phones, cable, internet, their second car – and they still can hardly keep their nose above water. If they even are, its hard to know.

And here’s the thing about my friend. Her freezer can be bare, literally just ice cubes, some frozen broccoli and a frozen pizza – and she will share that pizza with my family, gladly. If she has anything, she wants to give, to share, to have friends over, to gather all the kids and pass out Popsicles.

Well, I stopped in to her home the other day. When I arrived she looked at me and said, “Caroline. You won’t believe it.” And she led me into her kitchen. She has a friend whom she sees fairly often and she had been by that day. Her kitchen had changed.

This friend had made a trip to Sam’s club and had delivered to my friend: pounds of beef and chicken, blocks of cheese, bags of frozen foods, giant cans of formula, boxes of diapers and wipes, jars of pretzels and snacks, boxes of cookies, big boxes of pasta, jars of sauce… on and on it went. And then, she even filled the tank of my friend’s SUV.

I was speechless. I stood there staring at her freezer, absolutely amazed. I looked back at her and we both KNEW how much that meant. How far this would take her. What relief this honestly was.

And her friend told her to never even consider paying her back. Her friend said that if she is one day in a position to do the same for someone else, she should. Pay it forward and leave it at that.

As a mom struggling in my own way to make sure we have our groceries, gas in our cars, school uniforms bought, I could not appreciate the beauty and selfless nature of this gesture. It was extraordinarily inspiring. It was something that should be shared.

So, when was the last time you gave something to someone? If you are ever in a place to give, have you? Can you? What could you do that might affect your community? Your loved ones? Your church? Your child’s school?

For whatever small amount you can afford to give, that is an enormous amount to someone else. Take a look around, take a look at what you have and figure out a way. You may never entirely realize the difference you might make but the need is always there. Be inspired and simply find a way.

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10 Comments

Filed under Economy, Inspiring people, Philanthropy, Reality check

10 responses to “Give When You Can Give.

  1. I don’t really like to talk about the giving I do because I don’t want it to seem like bragging. But I helped several causes just this week.

  2. I think sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t think, really think, about how others have it worse than us. Or if we do think about it, do we take the time to actually take action? Inspiring post!

  3. That’s a good question. I’m trying to not just give things of monetary value (at times I don’t have it) but I am trying to give more of my personal time. I’m working a being a better friend.

  4. My husband was unemployed for nearly seven months recently, so reading this post brought back painful (and joyful) memories of that “dark” period in our lives when we struggled to keep the utilities on, food on the table and gas in the cars. Through it, our family grew closer and learned many valuable lessons in unexpected friendship, love and generosity. Thanks for reminding us all of the power of a giving heart!

  5. Pingback: Rainy Sunday MeMes « i think i can, i think i can….

  6. What a sad day that such acts of kindness, humanness, are the exception rather than the rule. What a lovely story to share.

  7. That is such a sweet post! And very inspiring too! I love stories like that!

    I’ve been trying to sell most of our used baby items on Craigslist for the last 2 weeks. A lady who’s pregnant with her 5th son came by and wanted to buy some things but she said they’re really struggling with money with the economy being the way it is and trying to clothe and feed 4 other boys. I ended up giving her the baby items she was interested in for free and I gathered up about 3 boxes of baby clothes, bottles and baby food and gave them to her as well. It felt really good to be able to help someone!!

  8. Your post almost brought tears to my eyes, because it reminded me that no matter how bad we think it is for us, someone else has it a whole lot worse. I regularly give the clothes my daughter has outgrown to a woman my sister works with who is raising her grandchildren with very little help. And every time I do, I am reminded of a complete stranger who did the same for me when I was pregnant with my daughter and struggling to make ends meet.

    It is a struggle for us even now, with only one income in our household. But every day, I try to find something to be thankful for. Gratitude and giving are the things that keep me going every day.

  9. Mary

    Wonderful post, Caroline. It’s inspiring to hear stories like this. You may want to check out http://www.29gifts.org. I interviewed the movement’s founder. Very cool woman and very great cause.

  10. Oh, I was so touched. Very inspiring.

    I came from a third world country and always grateful for things I have. I’ve learned not to waste food and always share of what you have.

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