I wrote yesterday about how life changing the attitude of generosity can be. I believe it is very common for people not to give because they do not know where to give.
I want to say that I believe the most important place for you to give is in your home. It is so important that the home front is at peace and secure before you begin pouring your time, energy, or money into other places. A firm foundation is the best place to start.
Serve in your community
For some this means their church, for others their school, or workplace. Be observant to the needs around you and go out of your way to bless others. Make it a habit of putting yourself in others shoes. If you hear that your co-worker has two sick children at home, offer to make a meal so she doesn't have to cook one night. If a friend is working insane hours just to make ends meet, ask them for a grocery list and do their shopping for them. Be open to monetarily helping those around you as well. By remaining aware of the financial needs around you, you can step in with $20 and turn a friend's week around.
Many people are uncomfortable with handing cash out to people living on the streets, for valid reasons. Many times this money is not being used for food or housing, but for addictions. I heard a great idea the other day of buying $5 gift cards from McDonalds or other local fast food restaurants and handing those out instead. This gives you the joy of blessing someone with a warm cup of coffee or a meal and prevents the money from being used in a different way. Do not allow fear of what might be, prevent you from touching someone's life.
Don't throw away unwanted items, give them away! If you have old clothes, shoes, household items, etc please be sure you are never throwing these items away. In my guest closet I have a giveaway pile going at any point in time. This pile gets taken to Goodwill or local charity thrift stores every 2 or 3 months. If you have connections with a local homeless shelter, they are always accepting winter coats, shoes, towels, etc.
An awesome way to give on a regular basis is to build it into your grocery budget. Because I coupon, I am able to get many items for free or low cost on a regular basis...some that we will use and some that we won't. Every few months I take a box, go through my pantry and stockpile area, and I put together a box to take to the local food pantry. This costs me only a few dollars and it helps feed families that are struggling. Even if you don't coupon, you can still do this! When you buy a box of spaghetti noodles for your family, buy an extra one and put it in the food pantry box. Spend $2-3 each week on this and the box will be full in no time!
The things that I have touched on today are pretty painless ways to give. Giving in these areas mainly requires developing an awareness of the needs around you and making a decision to meet those needs. The monetary investment is very small but the blessing to others is unmeasurable.
Because today's post is much longer than I expected it to be, tomorrow I'll be posting on different organizations you can donate monetarily to for various global causes. By opening your eyes to the global picture, your heart cannot help but respond.