Charitable Giving And Holiday Priorities

If you went shopping this weekend to the grocery store or the mall, you probably noticed the red kettles are out.

With Thanksgiving in a few days and Christmas a month away, it’s a good time to examine priorities, particular one’s that have nothing to do with the subsequent New Year’s resolutions which are often diluted or swept under the rug by February.

I don’t want to get into a lengthy lecture about the need to give to others who have less. As Christians, that should already be built into our spiritual DNA, and if it’s not, than there is some soul-searching to be done.

However, I found it interesting a survey conducted by World Vision showed that Americans say they were more willing to give to charities this holiday season in light of the sluggish economic recovery. The conclusion of the survey was that the increased charitable giving could lead to a lower bottom line for retailers, which contradicts many forecasts to the contrary.

Frankly, I hope both pieces come together. I hope Americans, Christian or not, find a charity they deem worthy and give them extra money than years past. I also hope retailers enjoy the success they're anticiapting as a catalyst to turning some of the part-time seasonal jobs into full-time ones as a small indication of greater economic vitality.

If you’re not sure where to start froma  giving standpoint, sites such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar are good places to start. If you want to explore child sponsorship through a non-profit organization, I would recommend it. It is almost impossible that you won’t be blessed somehow by it.

Passing by the red kettle and dropping in a buck or spare change may not be your thing. I understand that the personal contact is uncomfortable for some. But just let me say, that one of the highlights of my weekend was giving my 4-year-old a quarter to put in that kettle and hear him say, “thank you” to the bell-ringer.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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