In the midst of the 2013 holiday season I was scrolling through facebook and came across a New York Times article someone had shared. This article was titled “Gifts that Reflect the Spirit of the Season”. Normally, I would casually dismiss this because I am broke and honestly who can really trust these organizations.
Although, for some reason I clicked the link and decided to read the article. I think it was because a lingering emotion deep inside started to surface. This emotion was that I was failing. Often I see movies or read articles or watch interviews about horrible situations in other countries, especially the “third world” countries and I think to myself- someday I am going to be able to help them, somehow. I had visions of myself reporting from a devastation area to call attention and spread awareness; and then off camera donating my time and energy to rebuilding or feeding. When I was in my early teens I looked into being able to go abroad on mission trips through churches or different volunteer groups my friends were involved with. It became brutally clear to me, that to be a good person costs money. I didn’t have an extra $100 – $2000 to spare go on these trips (and neither did my mom).
I have failed in my quest to help those people suffering in countries so far away. To this day I have still never really seen extreme poverty and suffering in person. I recognize my ignorance to it, and it sends a punch right to my gut. So I guess thinking of all of this made me click the link.
I’m glad I did. The article, written by Nicholas D Kristoff, provides the reader with a number of organizations to choose from to donate to; and give that donation in the name of a friend or family member as a gift for the holiday season. The article was very well written (obviously, it’s the NYT) and provided links to organizations both in the United States and abroad.
I was drawn to the International Rescue Committee and decided to buy a holiday e-card for a friend of mine. I went for the “under $50” category because I, like many, am very tight on funds. I chose to send a $23 donation to help provide emergency medical care to one child in East Africa.
It was hard to decide who to send this to because I did not want to come off as “Look how good and generous I am, why aren’t you doing the same” or “How rude! She obviously bought this gift to feel good about herself, and decided to just pass it onto me”. It may be true that I believe people should help those in need and I did feel better about myself after I donated- but that isn’t the reason for doing it. Those are just the icing and sprinkles to the cake. I gave this gift to a person who knew me well enough to know that I wasn’t expecting anything back and that I wasn’t trying to be selfish. I did it because I was inspired by a SPARK, that article by Kristoff. That spark led me to take action and be a part of something that would have a positive effect. Inspiration is powerful and important in this world. I chose to donate because I did not want to ignore the inspiration that I felt. It is OK to follow what inspires you. I let myself do that; and I am grateful that the person who received this gift appreciated the fact that I was inspired and was content with such a humbling gift instead of a new scarf or something like that.
If you are still reading then I applaud you, because you obviously have maintained an interest in my story. If that interest is turning into inspiration, then I strongly encourage you to click the links I have provided within this article. Maybe you will feel a spark like I did- and maybe when you can afford it, you will want to donate and give a gift too.
Or maybe you are just now aware of a couple of organizations you never knew existed! Either way… thanks for reading. =)