Saturday, January 16, 2010

Frugal Friday - Giving What You Have

Can I post a Frugal Friday post on Saturday? Yesterday ended up being crazy busy and I had a headache bordering on a migraine so sleep was a tidge more important when I finally had some spare time.

Anyway, back to the post! :)

With everything that's going on in Haiti I'm sure just about everyone has heard of the giving that is needed to help combat the devastation in the country. Giving is certainly something that is good to do and is something God asks us to do, no matter what our circumstances.

But sometimes it's hard to give. We look at our current budgets and think there's no way we can give. We look at our busy schedules and think that our time is too full to volunteer.

Really, we can do something. Really and truly.

What can we do? Here's a start:

  • Clean out and donate. Seriously. Most of us have way more than we need - extra clothes, household items, kids' toys (outgrown or underplayed with), even a couple of extra canned goods. There are many, many organizations that collect these things. The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, local thrift stores and food banks, and many other organizations take these items and some even pick up.
  • Give those extra 'sample' size toiletries to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Our church collects these items to assemble into packets. The free samples of toothpaste that you get from the dentist can go there. So can the bottles of shampoo and conditioner and min-sized bars of soap you pick up when you travel from your hotel rooms. Just make sure you don't open them.
  • Collect your spare change. Dump that change in a jar - even if it's just your pennies - and donate it to a ministry of your choice. There are great ones out there - Compassion International, Samaritan's Purse, Heifer International, and one of my favorites, Feed My Starving Children. Another that is rarely mentioned is Operation Bootstrap Africa.
  • Spend an hour one time. Most of us really can find an hour of our time over the course of a month to spend time. Stock shelves, sort donations, fill food packets or baskets. Even if it's just once a year, really you can find the time to do it.
  • Use your talents. Can you sing or play an instrument? Donate time to teach a child or adult, or bring some joy to a nursing home or hospital. Can you do data entry? Donate an hour a month to a charity to keep their books. Can you clean, iron, or rake leaves? Find an elderly neighbor, new mom, or other person who needs some help. Can you make phone calls? Offer to call for volunteers even if you can go yourself. The possibilities are endless.
  • Pray. Even if you can't do anything else, you can pray. This is so important and God may even respond with more ideas to give of your time, money and talent.

Responding to the crisis in Haiti is important. But don't feel that you are useless if you can't respond. Respond to another need in your community. By doing so you not only meet a need at home, but you also free up resources to be used for global needs, like the crisis in Haiti. The incidence of crisis in this country and around the world will likely never end and being able to respond in a time of need, no matter what that need is, will make us all better citizens and disciples of Christ.

Yes, we can be frugal and charitable. Isn't that what living a frugal life and being good stewards of the bounty God has given us is about anyway?

For more Frugal Friday, see LifeasMom!

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Lea