Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Small Potatoes

March 31, 2013

Don’t let the little things get overlooked. Too many times something seems so insignificant that you don’t even give it a second thought. Unfortunately, these overlooked things are actually missed opportunities in disguise. What do we do with our daily “small potatoes”?

Lowly coins:
It’s inevitable: You find a stray penny on your living room rug, or a dime in your coat pocket, or even a quarter on the sidewalk — small little coins that don’t have much value all by themselves. Do you just throw them someplace, or ignore them and forget about them? A better idea is to have a small jar designated for all loose change you find. For you germ-phobes out there, hand sanitizer is a wonderful thing. When there are enough coins for a small handful, give the money to a child who may not have anything to give for the church offering plate.

Old, Battered Clothing:
If you are not handy with a sewing machine you can cut the old clothes into rags and donate them to your church for cleaning rags. If you ARE handy with a sewing machine, cut the good parts of the clothing into similar sized squares, sew the squares into strips, and sew the strips together to make a strip-quilt. Be sure to include pockets and graphic designs; it makes the quilt more unique. When you are finished batting and backing the quilt, donate it to a homeless person or your local homeless shelter.

Bread Ends:
DO NOT USE MOLDY BREAD! Many birds love bread. Break the bread (preferably stale) into pieces and leave them out for the birds to eat. Good places include rooftops, shed tops, outer window sills, building ledges, etc.

Meat & Cheese Ends:
You get a lot of this if you own a deli: The last ends of meat and cheese slabs which cannot be put through the food slicer (because your hands will get too close to the blade).  Instead of tossing the food, give it to people in need: Collect the ends in a refrigerator (separating meat from cheese), and every couple of days donate the ends to your local food pantry or soup kitchen. In some urban areas, you can even just hand them out the back door to those in need.

Container Redemption:
In the United States we can redeem our disposable beverage containers for a few cents each. I don’t know if this also occurs in other countries. Instead of just tossing your containers in a recycling bin (which redeems no money), take it to your local redemption center. After receiving the money for them, donate the money to a local charity, shelter, church, or other worthy cause.
CAVEAT: In some neighborhoods the poor scavenge through recycling bins to find containers they can redeem money for. If you can afford to live without your own container redemptions in these neighborhoods, leave your containers in the recycling bins for the poor to glean.

We all see it: Bits of trash and garbage along the roadside, in public parks, marring the scenery. I know of  a zoo which figured out how to eliminate this problem: The cost of admission was a piece of litter. Of course, the lawn in front of the admissions office was spotless, so patrons had to find other litter to “donate” in order to get in with their children. This kept the outer zoo grounds immaculate, as well as a perimeter of several hundred yards. Unconventional? Yes. Environmentally friendly? You betcha!  AND…. because the cost of admission was basically free, they enjoyed a booming business of visitors. Take a cue from this: If you own a business, tweak this experience to cater to your business (if you can) so that you can be “green” and enjoy an influx of increased customers.

Leftover Paint:
You’ve repainted something in your home: The exterior, the inner rooms, window frames, etc. And, inevitably, you are stuck with leftover paint that you have no use for. There are three things you can do that come to mind: First, call your local Habitat For Humanity chapter to see if they can put the paint to use (since they build homes for the poor). If they don’t need it, then ask your neighbors if they know of anyone who can use the paint. AND, if THAT doesn’t work, then call your local freelance painters and see if they could use the surplus.

Leftover Food:
It happens to all of us: You attend a reception or party in which guests are allowed to take home any leftover foods. But you either don’t want it, or don’t have room for it in your refrigerator or cupboards, so you decline. Instead, you should do this: Think of someone you know who may be struggling financially, and tell the host that, if there is STILL any leftovers after all the other guests have taken their shares, then you want the remainder. Then, give the food to the one(s) who are having the financial difficulties.

Old Clothing In Good Shape:
I know this seems like an obvious answer, but in many cases the obvious stuff is missed, so we have to put this here: If you find yourself with a load of clothes that are still in good repair, donate them. Clothing can be donated to your family members, neighbors, nursing homes, charity organizations, disaster relief organizations, homeless people, and church rummage sales. Just call ahead first to be sure the donation will be accepted.

School Supplies:
Your son or daughter has finally finished school…. but there are still leftover pens, pencils, paper, calculators, backpacks, etc.  If the items are still in usable condition try donating them to your local school district. School budgets are tight these days, and so is the economy for parents trying to make ends meet. This could be the needed solution to a budget gap.

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive listing, but I’m sure you get the point: Don’t just automatically put something in the trash without giving a first thought about what else can be done with it. Granted, some items are simply beyond hope, but you will be surprised to find that many “junk” items can actually be useful to someone else.

Just a little something to consider.


Conversations With God

June 22, 2012

You tell God you want to be used in His service.

GOD SAYS: “Really? Okay fine. But this is what I will require of you”… and then He lets you know what He WILL require of you.
YOU SAY: (after much soul-searching and consideration) “Okay God — I am willing to do these things, but I admit I need to rely on Your support to accomplish them.”
GOD SAYS:“Deal! Let’s get it done!”

Ahhh… if only it were that easy.

INSTEAD…. we decide for God what we want to do. Most of the time, this is how it really happens:

HUMAN SAYS: Okay God, I am ready to be used in your service.
GOD SAYS: Really? Okay fine. But this is what I will require of you”… and then He lets you know what He WILL require of you.
HUMAN SAYS: But I don’t want to travel so far away. Can’t I do it closer to home?
GOD SAYS: Closer to home?
HUMAN SAYS: Yeah. Air travel is too much of a nuisance. Too many crowds, too many check-points, too much “stuff” to deal with. Then there’s the foreign countries, foreign languages, foreign laws….will I have to use air travel?
GOD SAYS: Well….I guess I can use you “domestically”.
HUMAN SAYS: Does that still require air travel? There’s still the nuisance of the crowds and check-points and stuff. Oh -and I don’t want long distance bus or train either — it’s too many hours of long travel without doing anything productive. Is there anything else active I can do?
GOD SAYS: “Anything else? Hmmm… I could use a local worker in your province. How about that?”
HUMAN SAYS: “Does that require a car? You know my car is old, and I’m not sure it can take that much travel.”
GOD SAYS: “Hmmm… okay, how about your local community?”
GOD SAYS: Well, there is the homeless shelter…..
HUMAN SAYS:  But homeless people are scary — aren’t most of them criminals, or addicts, or crazy or something? No, I don’t like that.
GOD SAYS: How about the AIDS outreach program?
HUMAN SAYS: People with AIDS are either homosexual or addicts, don’t they deserve the disease? No, I don’t like that one either.
GOD SAYS: Sigh. Okay then, what about the free food place?
HUMAN SAYS: I don’t like to cook. And isn’t it messy slinging slop all day long? No. I don’t think I want that.
GOD SAYS: Okay….so what would you like to do?
HUMAN SAYS: I don’t know, whatever you think I’d be good at.
GOD SAYS: I can make you good at anything.
HUMAN SAYS: You know what I mean! Okay, I’m really good with my hands, what can I do with that?
GOD SAYS: There’s that little church over on Elm Street that needs to install a new wheelchair ramp. You can volunteer to help them.
HUMAN SAYS: But they aren’t even my denomination! Isn’t there something else I can do?
GOD SAYS: They need a repairman at the unwed mother’s shelter across town. You could donate your services there.
HUMAN SAYS: Unwed mothers? I don’t want to tell people I work around a bunch of loose women! What’ll people think?!
GOD SAYS: Well, what about volunteering at the hospital? They could use you for….
HUMAN SAYS:  Stop right there — I hate hospitals, they make me uncomfortable!
GOD SAYS: I thought you said you wanted to be used in my service?
GOD SAYS: You don’t sound like you do.
HUMAN SAYS: Well, if you’d just give me something I’d like….
HUMAN SAYS: God?…. God?…. where’d you go? Was it something I said?….

Too many times we tell God we want to be employed in His service, and then have “reasons” (i.e. EXCUSES) as to why the work isn’t suitable for us. But we need to remember, GOD will make you suitable for the work if you simply accept the assignment. When God told Noah to build the Ark, Noah didn’t complain about the monumental task, instead he trusted that God would enable him to complete it. When God sent Moses to Pharaoh, Moses was unsure of his ability to speak, but God also took care of that.

When we ask to be used in God’s service, God isn’t going to give you a job that you can’t fulfill — He’ll give you whatever you need to fulfill it. And don’t reject an “assignment” because it’s inconvenient, or too long, or too hard, etc. Remember, Jesus’ assignment was rather inconvenient, long, and hard as well. (And if He has rejected it on those grounds, where would we be now??!!).

Nobody ever said that working in God’s service would be a cake-walk, so when you ask Him to use you, you need to be prepared to commit to a task that has challenges as well as the rewards. And, nine times out of then, you’ll find that you actually like the assignment a whole lot more than you thought you would.

Just something to think about.

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