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Showing posts with label Giving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Giving. Show all posts

Saturday, June 30, 2012

In Praise of Craftsmanship

by Linda from The Witches Kitchen


Every year in my community, as part of our winter solstice celebrations, we have a gift giving ritual.  We draw names out of a hat six weeks earlier, and hand make a gift. This year, Garry drew me and made me these bellows for my slow combustion stove.  I can't seem to stand still for photos, but you can see my expression when I was given it. 


It is the most beautiful thing.  The wood is smooth and oiled and smells delicious. The brass nozzle is shiny and perfectly proportioned. The leather is soft and attached with a strip of reinforcing leather and rows of painstakingly positioned studs. The handles are rounded and smooth and shaped to fit perfectly in a grasp, and have little wedges holding them at the right angle.  It has my name etched in the front and a sun etched in the back and "Yule 2012" inside the handles.  Every part is beautiful, but then the whole is something more.  Perfectly proportioned, shaped, textured, designed.


And it works. Magnificently Last night it was wet and cold and we had been out late and busy and had no dry kindling. I managed to light a fire with paper and hardwood and my bellows. No kindling.

Stuff. There is Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff, and there is this, and they are at opposite ends of a continuum. My bellows are made from recycled parts, but that's not the point. They are a thing made with craftsmanship, and I think if all our "stuff" was made with craftsmanship, that's all the revolution we need.

Craftsmanship is where design and execution both peak together. It's where a uniquely human big brain creates a concept for a thing that is both beautiful and functional, or maybe beautiful because it is so perfectly functional. And then where our uniquely human opposable thumbs and long life allow the development of enough precision and dexterity and skill to manifest the design. Craftsmanship is where quality comes together with beauty, where thought and skill and attention meet and the result is something that will last and will be treasured for a generation or more.

So this post is in praise of craftsmanship.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Giving

Written by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

As the year comes to an end, Christmas is one again rapidly approaching us.  Whilst marketing and advertising campaigns at this time of year are encouraging us to spend our hard earned cash or go into debt to buy our loved ones that latest gimmick or fad what will probably break or get discarded only days after the big day, it pays to think of giving that lasts a lifetime, that are sustainable, and where the profits of its sale benefits those who really need it.  Gifts that are mass produced by mindless corporations are off my Christmas list forever!

So what sort of gifts fit my criteria?  Well, firstly, we choose only fair trade products for each other.  As in previous years we have bought some of our gifts at the Oxfam online shop (www.oxfamshop.org.au) which is also sells fair trade goods that also profit the small business that hand-made it. We bought minimal gifts with all proceeds going to people who most need our money.  The quality of the products is outstanding and you know that these handcrafted items have been made with care and attention to detail.  

If you are not into fair trade, then make your own gifts.  We make a big patch of home-made cold pressed soap and give gift wrapped bars away to family and friends or I make a batch of home-brew beer for friends.  These gifts are always well received and are from the heart.


Secondly, instead of racking your brain trying to buy that special gift for someone who has everything, you can give the gift to someone who really needs it.  World Vision Gifts have a fantastic campaign, whereby you visit their website and buy a gift for someone else in need! What a fantastic concept. You can buy something as small as water purifications tablets for $5, or clean water for an entire community for $1,425!  You can choose from mozzie nets to chickens, ducks, pigs, goats, donkeys or cows.  The gift choices are very comprehensive.

So how does it work? Do World Vision pack a goat in a box and ship it overseas? NO, that would be cruel.  So, if you buy a duck or a market garden starter pack, for example, your contribution will go towards their agriculture and environment work to help communities grow food for families and restore and improve their environments. Or if you buy a mosquito net or a toilet, you’ll be contributing to their work to help communities gain access to basic healthcare, water and sanitation.  You also receive a card which you give to the recipients, to let them know about the gift you have chosen.  There are other charities that so a similar type of thing.

The choice is yours alone. You can give socks and jocks to someone who has everything and/or doesn’t appreciate it, or a present that really means the world to someone.  Make a difference this year, and feel proud of your self.

Green 2011 season’s greetings to one and all, 



Gavin

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We're Different And That's OK

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

Yesterday, my email provider had a front page article about the biggest mistakes people make when giving Christmas gifts; totally out of my character, I clicked on the article and began to read it. Lo and behold, one of the biggest mistakes, according to the author, anyone can make is to give homemade gifts, particularly knitted items. Apparently such things are ghastly and embarrassing for the giver and receiver. Who knew?!

When I got over my initial one second check in (I had just, the hour before, finished putting together a few little handmade gifts) I enjoyed a little laughter at the hilarity of it all. Not only did the article suggest homemade things are totally inappropriate, but so is anything useful, including some items of clothing, giftcards etc. And I began to think of the hilarity of it all, one person, who came across as incredibly spoiled and pampered, a person who is probably quite young and used to having money spent on them, is dictating what is acceptable/normal/OK. Well, here's the truth, his/her norm is certainly not my norm.

And there in that little article was the theme of my life over the last few months. As I navigate motherhood and find what other parents view as normal is vastly different to our life and the norm I want for my children. As I chat with colleagues and hear their views on necessities (a family can not live in less than 2500 square feet, apparently, nor can they function without TVs in their van), I've come to really think about being different and being OK with being different.

We are all on a journey. In my teenage years I desperately wanted to fit in and truth be told, for most of those years didn't. Sometimes, when I compare "notes" with the lives others have, I fleetingly think how nice it would be to have what they have, because in the throws of it, we are all human beings with needs and emotions. But the truth is, I'd rather be different. I'd rather put thought into what comes into our home, than accept the toys a manufacturer tells me my children need. I'd rather give money to help causes, then fret over which new car/van/TV/laptop to buy. I'd rather spend a couple of hours making a dishcloth, then pick up 10 for $2 and I'd certainly rather have to shop at 4 or 5 local shops/farmers stalls, than go to one big conglomerate and feel proud of how much more I could get for the same money.

Sometimes being different is challenging. Sometimes I can feel too different. Sometimes it would be easier not to think critically about each choice, not to have to wonder where something came from, or how its production impacted others. Sometimes it would be lovely to simply roll up at a particular fast food joint and be done with dinner in 2 minutes flat. But the truth is, 99.9999% of the time, I am totally head over heals in love with this different life, bad gift giving (knitted items!) and all. My greatest hope, is that 20 years from now, my children are OK with being different too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Being Different

written by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

I am different.  Yes, really different, but I hope it doesn't stay that way for long.

However, I know that I am not alone.  Slowly growing within the consumeristic heart of western culture and society, there is a special kind of person that is different from the mainstream.  Sometimes they are hard to spot, but with a bit of careful observation you can pick them out from the crowd.

You will see them shopping in op shops buying clothes and other essentials.  You will catch them on weekends in their gardens growing their own food.  You will find them in their kitchens cooking meals for their family.  You will see them mending and repairing, reducing, reusing, and recycling items around the home.  You will find them talking about the antics of their chickens instead of talking about weekend football or some other trivial pursuit.  You will notice their friendly demeanour, and note that they give endlessly of their skills and knowledge.  You will finding them buying local produce and goods.  You will find them using less resources in their lifestyle.  You will hear them enjoying life and not have a nagging feeling in their gut that something is missing in their life.

In fact, these people are you.  I can see you out there as our audience, changing your lives, being different from the rest of society, every single day of the year and living life to the full.  Having fun and finding the courage to be someone different who stands up for the future of humanity and all creatures on the Earth in each and every action you take towards your simple, green, and frugal lifestyle.

It feels good to be different is a small way, however what would please me much, much more was if everyone lived as if the welfare of Mother Earth, Gaia, Mother Nature, or whatever label you put on this big blue-green marble we live on and call home.  I yearn to see the day when we are all the same.

Being different is maybe good in the short term, but a big green groundswell that reaches a tipping point is far superior.  Change at the community level is the only thing that will make a difference in the long run to our environment which without we do not stand much of a chance.  It makes me laugh when I hear the term "Save the Environment".  As I know full well that the environment is not something separate from humans, what that term really means, and has a bigger punch in the process is "Save Humanity and all other Species on the planet".  It has a better ring to it, and a worthy goal.

So lets take the "different" and make it "the norm".  Reach out to your local community and share all the different things you do in your sustainable lifestyle, and I bet you my best laying chicken, that you will make a difference to someone's life!

Who is up for the challenge?

Friday, February 25, 2011

One Hundred Simple, Green or Frugal Ways To Make A Difference Part I

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

I've been thinking a lot lately about giving back, largely because I ran a little charity program over the holidays where I asked readers of my blog to donate something warm {could be something they made or something they purchased} to a special program I had recently volunteered with {ChinaKidz}, which cared for palliative care & special needs orphans in China. The results were simply incredible, with each child receiving parcel after parcel of warm clothes. If you're interested in viewing the photos they can be viewed here. Many of my readers from my own blog & this co-op wrote to me afterwards and shared that they often find it very hard to find simple or frugal ways to help people in need and participating in this project really was a simple & frugal way for them to give back, but now they need other ideas.

So I thought today I'd begin a new series about the many many ways you can give back and/or support a worthy cause which fit in with our simple, frugal and green lifestyle and choices. And the truth is, I certainly don't have all the answers, so I'd love if readers contributed some ideas too!

One Hundred Simple, Green & Frugal Ways To Give Back: Part One

1. Knit a scarf, hat or a pair of gloves for the homeless
2. Volunteer to teach ESL to newcomers to your country
3. Host international students for the holidays
4. If you have chickens, see if a women's shelter or homeless centre will accept egg donations
5. Teach a knitting class to people with special needs or experiencing hardship {many women's shelters are keen to find volunteer knitting teachers!}
6. Donate your no-longer-needed items to charity shops
7. Take your old books and magazines to shelters, recreation centres or medical clinics
8. Volunteer to paint a shelter
9. Become a block parent
10. Volunteer in your local school - many schools are desperate for people to read with children
11. Make some soup or baked goods for someone who is isolated or sick.
12. Help someone plant their first vegetable garden {many people don't know where to begin with seeds and find it a tad scary!}
13. Buy someone a compost bin!
14. Sponsor a child in the developing world.
15. Host a bake sale and give the proceeds to your favourite charity.
16. Collect blankets from your friends, religious organization or work & take them to a homeless shelter
17. Volunteer to be a Big Brother or Big Sister
18. Volunteer with your local Child Protective Services, they often look for safe adults to become mentors for children in care.
19. Host an alternative baby shower - ask everyone to bring something to donate to shelters or low-income families
20. Donate breast milk to a legal/certified milk bank in your country
21. Send something to a child in an orphanage
22. Volunteer to clean someones house for them
23. Make up a green cleaning hamper and give it to someone (with instructions) who would like to try green cleaning
24. If you have a car, offer to take others with you when you go grocery shopping!
25. Donate some food to food banks in your community!

Now I'd love to hear your suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Generosity vs Frugality?

by Eilleen, Consumption Rebellion

Hello everyone,

I hope your weekend is going well.

A few days ago, I posted in my personal blog about my children's generosity in donating some of their pocket money to help out Olivia, a little girl with cancer.

I have thought about about this incident a little further and thought I'd share. Just a bit of a background. I give my children pocket money as a way to teach them how to manage money - to learn how to set financial goals, delay instant gratification and impulse buys.

So, when my children first took out some of their pocket money to give to Olivia, I have to admit I felt a bit conflicted. While I was overwhelmingly proud of their generosity a small part of me wondered whether I should be encouraging them to continue to save towards their goals first before "giving their money away". I wondered, how can they learn frugality when they make "impulsive" decisions like this?

On reflection, I'm glad I didn't listen to that little voice. For one thing, I realised that as with most things, there will ALWAYS be financial goals to set and reach. However, being rigid on achieving those goals to the exclusion of generosity to others, is....well...rather sad.

Generosity can go hand-in-hand with frugality. One of the things I've learned from the many people here and those who have commented on my blog - that frugality is NOT about being a scrooge - frugality is about making considered choices. Frugality is about ensuring that one has the means to live in accordance with one's values.

So the way I see it, the path to frugality involves a good understanding of yourself and a commitment to your values.

And generosity is about unconditional release of yourself and the sharing of your values with others.

Generosity is an outcome of true frugality.

And in thinking of it that way, I realise that in showing their generosity, my children are already well on the path of learning frugality.


**************
If you would like to know more about Olivia's story, visit this page: http://olivialambert.com.au/
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Planning Ahead: Gifts from Our Own Production

by Kate
Living The Frugal Life

I'm not a terribly organized or foresighted person.  I'm often caught up short on occasions when it's appropriate to give a gift.  Just because I resist the pull of consumer culture doesn't mean I don't enjoy giving things to those I love.  Indeed it's far more satisfying to give gifts that I've had a hand in growing or otherwise producing.  So I'm making an effort this year to prepare and set aside things from my kitchen, garden, and other home production for holiday gift-giving or other occasions.  Jellies, jams and other garden preserves are obvious choices, and for good reason.  I now have a small supply of either raspberry or strawberry jam in jars sized for giving.  But in thinking a bit about other things I want to have on hand come the holiday season, I've come up with a few ideas I thought were worth sharing.

Herbal salves for skin - I'm collecting calendula (pot marigold) blooms, comfrey leaf, and lemon balm leaf now, in the height of summer, to infuse in olive oil.  Later I'll strain out the herbs, warm the oil and melt pure beeswax into it.  Some of the beeswax might even be from our bees this year.  This makes a lovely soothing salve with anti-microbial properties which promotes the healing of burns, abrasions, and insect bites.  I gave it away in four ounce jars last year and have gotten several compliments and requests for more.  I'm happy to comply.

Herbal teas - Bee balm (monardia), New Jersey tea, and lemon balm all grow in my garden.  They all make lovely tissanes after simply being cut and hung up to dry.  I'm still looking for pretty jars to put them into to make the gift look special, but the herbs from my own garden are a pleasure to give.

Elderflower cordial - This non-alcoholic drink made from our elder blooms is wonderfully refreshing in ice water during summer, and lends a festive touch when added to champagne.  This is something I feel is quite special, so I've just made my third batch of it.  I'm glad to feel I've got enough of it to give some away.

Felted mittens - I am especially having fun pursuing this project.  I've scoured rummage sales for cheap wools sweaters and my own closets for those I've outgrown or worn holes in but couldn't bear to part with.  Now I have the chance to re-purpose them with very little effort.  After felting the sweaters in a hot wash cycle, and possibly dying some of them, I'll be making dense, warm mittens out of them.  This page explains the details.

Garden seeds - This one is for gardeners and seed savers more accomplished than I am.  I can manage a few of the easier seeds.  But if I were more meticulous, knowledgeable, and skilled, I'd love to assemble a collection of seeds for giving, from my garden to a friend's.  Even better would be the ability to give an aspiring gardener the diverse stock of seeds he or she needs to make a start. 

Hand crafted gift wrap - The Japanese have a lovely custom of wrapping their gifts in cloths, called furoshiki.  Selecting lovely bolts of cloth to make my own double-sided wraps was a pleasure as well as a chance for me to learn some basic sewing skills.  I chose fabrics to pair up with the idea that each wrap would have a side appropriate for Christmas, and another appropriate for birthdays or any other general occasion.  Whether or not you chose to include a hand crafted wrap as part of the gift, or ask for it back, it makes a lovely impression.  Best of all, with every re-use, you'll be saving paper and tape that would otherwise be manufactured as future landfill.

Loofahs - I'm growing loofah (luffa) gourds for the first time this year, and hoping for a bumper crop to give away as scrubs for the bath and shower.  We'll see what the harvest brings, but as the scrubs wear out, this could become a perennial gifting favorite if the plants do well for us.

What other things do you produce or make yourself that you give away as gifts?  Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Positively Committed

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

















For just shy of the last three weeks, I've been volunteering with children in orphanages some of whom are special needs and others are in hospice care. It was, hands down, the most amazing experience of my life. There was intense sadness and grief and yet incredible joy and peace. I learned so much about simple happiness and joy from those special special souls. And I came away with an incredible determination about how important the simple life is.

While I was away a friend emailed me the saying "living simply, so others can simply live" that phrase had made her commit to sponsoring another child bringing the grand total to 3 and making the commitment to build a school in Africa next year instead of taking a holiday. Like me, these decisions will mean what most would think of as major sacrifices. Personally, apart from buying 1 new pair of leggings pre-trip, I couldn't tell you the last time I bought clothing, or books or mindlessly spent. I don't have a lot of money but I love what my money is spent on since I left the rat race behind and began to embrace the true joy found in simple living.

This trip provided much needed affirmation about just how much I love that I no longer need expensive girly weekends away taking money from my budget, when I can use the money in other ways or simply work less. I no longer need to meet friends on a Saturday and shop for things I don't need, when I can hike, volunteer at my local animal shelter, bake or sit around with a wonderful group of women discussing books and knitting.

On my trip, I had four outfits, limited choice of food, a tiny tiny room to call my own. I was with the children 10 hours + a day and yet everything about it was simple, through the whole trip there was no need to go anywhere or stress and nothing to distract me from my calling. It was simple, it was joyous.

Since I arrived home, I've been thinking about just how amazing a reminder of why we are on this path is, just how necessary and important. I had mine over the last three weeks, I'd love to hear yours?

What reminds you that making these simple, small changes is important? What helps you keep focused on the goal of living how you want to live and what your success is vs. what society thinks success is about?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Volunteering and the Simple Life

By Notes From The Frugal Trenches

















Somebody recently said to me if you are going to have a simple life you need to focus on you, yourself and I, that people must learn that simplicity is about focusing only on yourself, your home and your direct family. I found this quite an interesting, if not sad, perspective, I guess because I don't equate giving of oneself as complicating my life in any way. I do find that running around shopping, errand doing or bombarding myself with media images or too much tv complicates my life immensely, but would never say that any of my volunteering roles have done anything but add another beautiful layer to my life.

As a teenager I volunteered with children in a hospital, doing admin for a new hospice which had just opened in my home town and collecting for various charities. While studying at University I volunteered in a health centre which provided medical appointments as well as health education programs, volunteered in a speech and language centre and a school, and voluntary tutored two children with learning difficulties whose parents could not afford private tuition. Since I've officially become an adult I've volunteered as a youth group leader, lead a youth group, volunteered as a cat socializer and dog walker, volunteered in a cafe whose proceeds went to charity and had various roles through Church. For over a year I cared for four children in my home while working, obviously at that time my roles needed to change so instead I was able to volunteer in their schools and collected for charities - I did this not because I had a great deal of extra time on my hands, but because I knew how rich and beautiful a life of volunteering is and I wanted the children to understand the importance of serving others and appreciating all that you do have. This wasn't learned through grand gestures, but simply every day actions like sending cards or notes, making soup for sick friends and taking food to the food bank.

It is conceivable that volunteering could add stress to your life, but I don't think you limit stress by focusing on oneself. Through my volunteering I have learned to appreciate what I have, I've been able to peek into the life experiences of someone with no vision or with no legs. I've made friends, basked in the beauty of knowing there are good people everywhere and begun to understand what simplicity truly is - it isn't shutting everyone else out, it's appreciating the richness from little.

Next week I board a plane, I'm off to volunteer overseas in an orphanage and working with special needs and dying children. People comment that I'm doing something good or mention how much they'll learn from me. The reality is, the blessings are all mine, I'm the one who needs to learn from these children what beauty, richness and simplicity is all about.

I'd love to hear from you! Do you find volunteering fits into your simple life? What have you learned about simplicity through volunteering and serving others?

For those interested, I will be blogging while I'm away!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Time!

Posted by Bel
From Spiral Garden

It's birthday time at our place!

Heath's first birthday - a water party on Boxing Day (summer in Australia)

We have some birthday traditions such as the birthday child choosing their own cake, and the evening meal for their birthday. On the morning of their birthday we gather around the dining table or on Mum & Dad's bed whilst they unwrap their gifts and open the cards which have come in the mail. There are often a number of little handmade, wrapped gifts from siblings which are given with pride and accepted with grace. Brithday cards are secretly handmade by a sibling, and given with the gifts from the whole family.

During the day we will often have friends over for morning or afternoon tea under the trees in our garden (weather permitting) with a cake and some yummy fruit and other foods to share. The table is often decorated with a colourful cloth and fresh flowers collected by the other children.

Friends visiting for afternoon tea near the waterfall

We enjoy the traditional candles and "Happy Birthday" song as well as clapping for their age and three cheers. We always have a cake at night, even if we've had one in the daytime, just so we can turn down the lights and enjoy the magic of a cake lit by candlelight. Sometimes for this cake we use different crockery or glasses for the birthday meal, and there is always a beautiful tablecloth and centre candle, and quite often more flowers.

Birthday cards are displayed on a magnetic framed board which hangs above the season table. Photos of the birthday child are also displayed their during the weeks preceding and following their special day. Often some baby photos and recent photos will be side by side. A photograph is taken of the birthday child with their cake each year, marking milestones in their childhood photo albums. Sometimes the birthday child will wear a special item of clothing, or a cape and crown from our dress-up basket.

We don't always have parties. We have had a fairy party, a musical party, a teddy bear's picnic, trip to special places followed by cake in the park... But even when there is no big event we always have a special time with family, and perhaps some nearby friends, to share cake and other food, sing and celebrate the birthday child's life.

Bel enjoying cake!

On their birthday, our children don't have to do their chores if they don't wish to, and they can have the choice of a story read or movie watched, as well as what food we eat. It is a day of lavishing extra love and attention on the birthday child.

We all know this song...
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Lily
Happy birthday to you!

Well, here's an alternative, or second verse (same melody)...
May the angels bless you,
In all that you do,
May the stars up in heaven
Shine down upon you!

There are a lot of birthday verses and stories online which we have often told our younger children, especially. I find that they also like to hear about the day they were born, and the wonderful, cute and funny things about them as a baby.

This one is our version of a favourite...

As I yawn and go to bed,
Laying down my sleepy head,
Mama switches off the light,
I'll still be seven years old tonight.

But, from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the greenness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I'll be eight years old!

Eight kisses when I wake.
Eight candles on my cake!


During the day, grandparents phone from far away and ask the birthday child about their day, their gifts, and how big they've grown. Receiving their very own phone calls and mail is a special part of having a birthday at our place.

Most of our birthday celebrations and traditions cost nothing, or very little. The focus of birthdays therefore is not on spending, gifts and elaborate parties, but on the child.

I wonder, in what ways do you celebrate birthdays in your home?


A cake for a relative - adults enjoy special treatment too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Simple & Frugal Ways To Give

By Notes From The Frugal Trenches

The current situation in Haiti is grave, it is hard to actually imagine what it must be like to see people being operated on by the side of the road, families starving to death, thousands of people dying in front of you and millions or orphans with nowhere to go. Before I downshifted and simplified I often felt overwhelmed by need and struggled to understand how I could help. As life has become simpler and I have more control of my finances it seems a lot easier to find different ways to help, different ways to encourage others and different ways to use the talent and time I have. I have so much less financially than I did last year or the year before and yet I'm able to do more. A few friends has said to me that they can't even watch the news because they know there is nothing they can do, their comments have made me think about putting a post together with a list of things you can do - for big budgets and small budgets, for those with time and those without. I would love if any readers contributed ideas as I hope this post inspires people to realize their talents big and small and find ways they can help!

Giving Money

  • Allot a certain amount each month into the budget for giving! I find this helps me budget for helping others in the same way I budget for my rent, bills, car etc!
  • Find a charity whose philosophy you agree with - I sponsor children through World Vision and their updates and letters just bring me such joy!
  • Keep a jar in your home for coins which you can allot for spontaneous giving! This means when there is a disaster or when someone in your circle of family/friends is trying to fundraise you have money handy to give!
  • When there is a disaster or need, look at areas of the budget you can cut out! For example, I have a budget for a weekly hot chocolate or coffee with friends, that £3 a week is a very easy luxury to go without over the next few months so that I can give more to projects in Haiti!
  • Look for tiny yet still important ways to give - spare change after the weekly shop to charity boxes or people collecting!
  • Remember charities in your will
  • Remember giving in your yearly plans/goals
  • Remember that we all have different gifts, you may not be able to go to Haiti to help, but your small donation might help someone else be able to go to Haiti to provide care for those in need!

Giving Time

  • There are thousands of charities which are collecting for Haiti and other countries in need - could you donate a few hours to collect money or fundraise?
  • Several charities are packaging items to send to disaster areas, could you give an evening or 1/2 a day at the weekend to help box up items?
  • Could you organize a fundraiser? Even having a meal at your home and asking friends or family to attend and make a donation which you will give to a charity like Red Cross or World Vision or Doctors Without Borders?
  • Could you make something to sell with the profits going to a charity?
  • Could you attend a fundraiser put on by a Church or charity or group? I am all set to attend one this weekend and am really looking forward to it :)
  • Could you send an email to friends and family with links to organizations collecting or fundraisers?

Giving Things

  • Do you have anything you could sell where you could give the profits to charity?
  • Do you have any clothing, jewelry, shoes, books, knick knacks that you could give to a charity shop?

Spiritual/Faith

  • Could you say a prayer, light a candle, hold people in your thoughts?
  • Could you talk to others about the need, which might encourage them to act?

None of these ideas are time consuming or earth shattering, I hope they are simple and easy and encourage others to think about the ways they can give. In this season of my life, which includes both unemployment and opening my home to friends who are homeless due to burst pipes, it can be very very hard to believe that you are in a position to help and yet the more I commit to simple, frugal and green living, the more I see the opportunities to help are all around!

I do so hope some of you might be able to share any giving ideas you have!