by VaLerie K
More and more people are giving (or asking for) the gift of a donation to charity for Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Christmas these days, rejecting the materialist mandate to buy more stuff. Besides choosing national or international charities, consider picking something local. Here’s some reasons why:
1. Seeing results first hand – rather than getting a newsletter from afar, the recipients of your gift can physically go and see the charity their gift is supporting, and feel a greater connection to why the gift is important.
2. Education – people can learn directly, such as getting a gift donation to a wildlife preserve, and then taking the kids to go see the animals and learn from the nature center.
3. Less junk mail, more trees – small, local organizations are less likely deluge you (or friends in whose names you donate) with mailings requesting more money, and if they do, you can call and talk to someone who will make it stop. When I donated to a local animal rescue effort, I talked directly with the person in charge of donations, and we set it up so I could give everyone in my family an ‘adoption certificate’ in their names, but the donations would all be grouped under my address, so no one but me would get mailings in the future.
4. Democracy – receiving a donation to a local charity as a gift and learning about why help is needed can lead to greater understanding of local issues and need for change, through volunteerism or petitioning elected officials. Awareness of and participation in what goes on around us is what democracy is all about.
So if you still don’t know what to give relatives or friends for upcoming holidays, it’s not too late to donate! Even if the official word won’t get there in time, you can make a fancy card announcing the gift. Or put it on your list for next year!
For those of you in the Philly area, here are a few of my most favorite local charities (and maybe for the rest of you, it’ll give you ideas):
*Bread & Roses Community Fund – org that supports local grass-roots social change
*MANNA – org that delivers food to people with life-threatening illness
*Stone Harbor Wetlands Institute – nature preserve and education center
*Books Through Bars – program to send books to prisoners
*The Free Library of Philadelphia – official city library system
Think globally, act locally!
Tell us your favorite local charity!