Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Charities to Love and Give To

     I wanted to add a list of charities to give to inspire people to give in a world where there are so many needs.  My knitting blog is hitting higher numbers daily and I just want it to mean more than just a tangle of yarn.  Not all of us can give, so then pray, pray for the needs.  For people far away.  God hears- I believe that.  But if you can give, give.  Sometimes it's just not those who are in need that we give to, we give for our heart's sake.

     Here's a list of charities I found on Charity Navigator- Your Guide To Intelligent Giving.  They were rated high because of responsible use of their resources and the turn around in giving.  This is a list of charities that caught my eye, but I don't pretend to really know them.  I randomly choose charities to cover needs Nationally and Internationally, from books to Africa, our natural Earth, to disaster relief, medical help and helping the poor and hungry.  Browse the list yourself in case something else would catch your eye.  A blog about Breast Cancer charity quotes: "Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that evaluates charities, says that smart givers “take the time to identify which causes are most important to their families and are specific about the change they want to affect.” ' After Twenty Years Cancer Research Blog

     I encourage you to give to your local food bank which honestly I have had to access many times raising a larger family on a small income.  Without other's generosity over the years there are times we would of been in dire straits.  I heard a statistic yesterday that was staggering, %40 of America's usable food is wasted.  When I'm worried about feeding my family, I wonder how different would it be if just my neighbors cleaned out their food shelves?  We never buy in bulk and only for the day, so when life pinches, it gets tough, but we get through and many times because of a food bank.

     I have been homeless twice.  I know.  Once it was the charity of this Catholic church (and being of Protestant upbringing that stretched my heart lots!) and two men who came to the State Park where we lived in an RV and worked that saved us.  They would bring food, milk so my little one could have it, but also just so I could have my tea!  That made me cry.  Gas vouchers so my husband could work.  The head ranger unknown to us at the time would drop off loads of firewood when we were just in a tent- 3 kids, 1 cat, one dog because a promised job evaporated.  The same Head Ranger who I had made friends with offered me a job hosting and painting the Ranger's houses and office.  My husband worked outside the State Park and also hosted and maintained the camp grounds.  The Head Ranger moved us around for a year to different sites (when you were only allowed to stay for 3 months), before we had enough to go back home.

     That year my oldest daughter went to the public school and hit the National Honor roll.  From then on she went from being an average student to hitting top marks, just by working tremendously hard.  She wrote her College Application Essay for Harvard and the Common Application titled "The Year I was Homeless" and got waitlisted at Harvard and several top colleges, but she choose Middlebury.  She just graduated last week Magnum Cum Laude from Middlebury, a college rated one of the highest in the nation, and she attended the world's top University for last year- Oxford, for her Junior year abroad.   Middlebury covered all expenses but a small loan.  All of this BECAUSE we had hit bottom and were homeless for a year.  A year of perspective.  A year we wouldn't of survived without people's generosity and stepping out and helping.  I'm thankful for the bottom hits in Life too!

     Give if you can, pray.  We are a world that needs each other and standing alone and not caring is not an option.  We are not meant to stand alone.  Give.

List of Possible Charities-

Youth With A Mission- (note this isn't on the Charity Navigator, probably because it's decentralized, meaning it consists of many internationally run bases who are autonomous essentially, but I worked for their bookstore for a couple of years and I was very impressed with them. Choose a country to donate to and look up the base there or a base that ministers to a country you care about. Effective, awesome group that cuts across many christian denominations lines to create a working harmonious group of christian youths ministering worldwide).

     Also some food for thought.  If you are a knitter and live in a cool climate knit some scarves to give out to the homeless in the winter.  One skein of Lion's Homespun, a cheap acrylic that washes well is about $5 (use a coupon!) and knitting a garter stitch at about 20 stitches on size #8 - 10 needle (this is for the Bulky regular Homespun, not Super Bulky) gives you a nice, fast scarf.  Don't think expensive wool, it's not an easy wash and it could be scratchy to some.  Simple is OK.  Also give just $5 dollars- enough for food, but maybe not enough for drugs or alcohol.  I've seen some people who create a gift bag out of simple $1 store items.  Give socks to homeless shelters- they are the most wanted of gifts.  Sanitary napkins and tampons and diapers.  Giving doesn't have to be complicated.  Just give. PLEASE.  A little bit of love can go a long way.

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