Kelly is continuing with Show Us Your Life over at www.kellyskornerblog.com and I'm linking up today.
I've actually changed my opinion of giving in the last two months...for two pretty major reasons. Well, let me amend that. I haven't changed my opinion of GIVING, just my opinion of HOW to give and to WHOM to give.
1. I helped out a tiny bit the weekend after the May 20 tornado in Moore. It was devastating to so many. Money and goods were POURING in. And, they were needed. However, the churches and Red Cross and other non-profits couldn't house it all. Couldn't store it all. Couldn't get it out to people fast enough. Also, the Red Cross has a lot of overhead: salaries to pay and office supplies to purchase and travel and lodging for employees to pay for.
2. I'm a foster parent. Money could go to shelters or adoption agencies. However, they also have the same overhead that Red Cross has.
So, in the last two months, since I became a foster parent and helped with the tornado relief, I have changed my opinion about HOW to give and to WHOM to give.
I'd rather give straight to someone in need.
I don't want to give to the Red Cross. I want to give to someone that lived through the tornado and now needs to buy new clothes for their children and the insurance check hasn't come through yet.
Some of the absolutely most encouraging moments on this road of fostering as a single parent is when someone, out of the blue, says "I want to help you. Here's a Target gift card." or "I'm going to pay for her swim lessons." or "I will buy a zoo membership for you."
I know the responses to this way of thinking. "What if I don't know anyone?" and "How can I know they will use it responsibly?"
In answering "What if I don't know anyone?", I say Facebook, Twitter and other social media are awesome at this exact thing. You might not know someone. But someone you know will know someone.
The other question is a little harder. You might not know if they will use it responsibly. You might be able to send them a Target or Wal-mart or Kroger or McDonald's gift card. Sending a check they can use anywhere isn't the wisest, but sending gift cards that you know will buy groceries, clothes or food, is a safe decision.
On a completely different note, I sponsor William through Compassion International. I absolutely love getting letters and pictures from him! I like Compassion because they are a Christian organization that works to feed, clothe, educate, doctor, and teach the love of Jesus. I like that I can send him a $25 gift and get a letter from him telling me what all was bought...and y'all, it's a LOT! I like that ALL the children get Christmas gifts. It doesn't matter if the sponsors could afford to send money for a Christmas gift that year. I like that Compassion has blogging trips and I can read other bloggers' stories of traveling to countries, and I feel, a tiny little bit, like I was there.
I plan to sponsor William until he turns 18 and graduates from the program. I chose him as a little 9 year old boy that didn't look like he knew how to smile. I chose him because I taught 9 year olds and I liked the fact he was the same age as my students.
I like Compassion International because they're legit.
I like giving directly to people, because I know my gift is being used.
If you think that's a little contradictory, I'm okay with that, too. :)