“Mama, why is that man pulling stuff out of the dumpster?” she asks with childlike innocence.
Her needs have always been met so she can’t imagine why somebody would need to dig through the trash. She has enough food to be choosy about what she “likes” so she gives no thought to where her next meal will come from.
We have so much to be thankful for, but sometimes all our blessings blind us to those experiencing real need. Gratitude without action does nothing to feed a hungry soul. And it doesn’t warm a child who has no bed. People do that. People, who are willing to be the hands of God. You don’t have to have a lot of money, you only need a willing heart!
- Do you regularly indulge in specialty coffee? Or ice cream? How about those non-essential pantry items? All of our little splurges add up and could easily cover the monthly needs of an impoverished child. Consider depositing the money that would be spent on those purchases in a jar and use the funds to sponsor a child. You may miss that sweet treat, but that hungry child won’t miss the gnawing in his belly!
- Do you know a family that is working to raise money for an adoption? Many of these families do some type of fundraising. Get involved! Help organize an event and enlist your own family to help get the word out. Don’t underestimate the value behind a simple purchase or small donation made to such an effort. God can multiply our love offerings and make a few dollars do the impossible!
- Perhaps there is a family nearby that you know struggles to keep food on the table. Get to know them and include them in some of your family activities, making sure to provide plenty of nourishing food. Friendship is easier to accept than a hand-out!
- Back-to-School sales are the perfect opportunity to stock up on supplies such as pencils, notebooks, crayons, rulers, glue stick, etc. Children in third world countries are absolutely ecstatic to receive such treasures! Let your kids choose some of their favorites and get them involved in packaging it all up to send off to an organization that will get it distributed.
- Malaria is a serious threat in some countries. Mosquito nets, which help prevent infectious bites, are very inexpensive and are a great way to help from afar. Have your kids do a study on malaria, making note of the spread, symptoms and treatment of it. Awareness stirs the heart to action!
- Keep an eye out for handicapped or elderly neighbors that may need help with yard work, or splitting and hauling wood. Befriend them first (the less an act seems like “charity” the easier some find it to receive), and then let them know you have willing hands to lighten their load.
- What about that exhausted, single mother in church? Look for ways that you might lighten her load. You could sit with her during the service and help manage her children. Maybe you could offer to babysit once a month to give her a little breather. Even better, invite her over for some “girl time”…and be willing to listen!
- Do you have an exchange shelter that you know some of the underprivileged visit? Declutter and purposefully place some of your “good” stuff over there. Many of us have more shoes and clothing that what we truly need. Offering from the overflow of your closet could be a serious blessing to someone that knows what it is to go without!
- Spiritual poverty is rampant. OneVerse is an organization that translates Bible verses in languages that often don’t have even one. For a monthly sum of $26, you can sponsor a new verse each month. Or you can form and group to donate collectively, increasing your potential impact. They also offer the option to honor a loved one by sponsoring a verse in their name!
- Outreach begins in the home! Sneak around and do up some of your kids chores or sneak money into the jar where they are saving up for that special purchase. Rather than force-feeding them demands to be kind and giving, let them catch the bug from you! Children who actually see their parents entrenched in selfless giving are very likely to jump on board!!