We prefer this type of thing to United Way. I don't have the warm fuzzies about that organization, personally. I know many people contribute to them, and I'm not saying it is a bad cause. I'm just saying that my personal view is that with a history of corruption, contributing to things I do NOT support, and joining with employers to pressure people to contribute, I don't like the way they do bidness. My employer, in cooperation with United Way, requires us to fill out our contribution form, even if we are not contributing. That bugs me. Forced, useless paperwork; what is the point?
Also, my parents' church has been making periodic trips to rural Kentucky, where people are known to live in trailers with no windows, to deliver food, clothing, and other necessities to the people of one small community. I like this idea, too, and we have been doing the same clearance buying and stockpiling to send with them. I especially like the idea of helping people in the US, rather than overseas, though I know the things we send to Uganda are going to a good cause.
As the months pass, we expect to be making more and more progress on our outrageous amounts of credit card debt, thus giving us continually more financial liberty. With that will come more opportunities to help others, which I plan to take. I believe in helping people who are trying to help themselves. I don't believe in dropping a fiver to the guy on the corner with the cardboard sign because he is there instead of the local shelter, where he could have warm meals and a place to sleep. I question his motivations, therefore, I don't support him.
Really, this is why I have such a problem with taxation, as it currently exists. My hard earned money is taken from me and my family, by force if necessary, to be redistributed to many, many undeserving people. If you have a crack habit, 4 children (all with different mothers/fathers), and earn your money illegally, so that you still "appear" impoverished to the government, why do you get some of my paycheck. Yeah right. Sheesh. But I digress.
I guess I just want to encourage you all to find something/one worth giving to and give, even if you don't have a lot to give. If you haven't experienced it first hand, it truly is better to give than to receive. thunderslug's comment to my last post about his Christmas Eve tradition of leaving a $100 bill under the salt shaker at an all night diner, then leaving before they discover it, got me to thinking about this. You don't have to look very far to see people with needs greater than yours. Open your eyes, find these people, give them a helping hand. It will change your life for the better.
Oh, and as a bonus, your problems, by comparison, seem to grow smaller and smaller. It's hard to be depressed about small things when you see people struggling with much larger ones, especially if you pitch in and help them a little. Think about that waiter/waitress who is working an all night diner on Christmas, probably while his/her children are at home in bed, waiting for whatever presents they can afford. Yep, giving feels good.