Giving in 2008
I refuse to write the obligatory year-end review of the biggest gifts or the best gifts or the least understood gifts of 2007, or to write anything about 2007 for that matter.
Rather, I will pose a thought about giving for the New Year. Do you take the time to visualize the people who will benefit from a gift you are about to make? Do you ask yourself, “Is this what I really want to do?” Too often we make gifts for reasons other than to provide a good or service for someone who has a need. Why not make a New Year’s resolution to keep the beneficiaries of your gifts foremost in your mind?
Here are five gift ideas to think about for 2008. They are not necessarily the biggest ideas, the best ideas or the least understood ideas, but I think they are worthy ones. (Although each of these organizations have a presence in Richmond, I've selected issues-based organizations which you can expect to find responding using similar strategies in your community.)
The Healing Place: People become homeless for a great number of reasons, and one of the most insidious is drug and alcohol abuse. Efforts that provide shelter for a limited time period are valuable, but to truly heal these people need a lot of help. The Healing Place was developed based on a concept pioneered in Louisville, KY, and it has an amazing success rate in helping homeless people overcome addiction. It is a residential program based on a concept similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, and you can check it out at http://www.thpva.com.
Safe Harbor or the YWCA of Richmond: I can’t imagine anything more destructive than personal abuse. What is truly baffling, but wholly true, is that people who are victims of abuse have a terrible time breaking free. A flood of conflicting emotions prevent these individuals from seeking help, but once they do the help these organizations give not only save lives but help these individuals get their lives back on track. Learn more at www.safeharborshelter.com and www.ywcarichmond.org.
ChildSavers of Richmond: When tragedy occurs, as all too frequently happens in Richmond’s inner city, children see sights they should never in their lives experience. The effect can be devastating and can last a lifetime. ChildSavers gets involved at the crime scene and stays involved to provide these children psychological counseling on a longer term basis. See how you can help at www.childsavers.org.
ARC of Virginia: Having a child with severe disabilities can change a family overnight. There are so many weighty problems - wrenching issues of quality of life and financial issues to name just two. ARC helps both the disabled children and their families learn to cope through a wide variety of activities including a summer camp experience at Camp Baker. See for yourself at http://www.richmondarc.org.
Central Virginia Foodbank and Meals on Wheels: I doubt anyone reading this article has ever experienced being hungry to the point of being malnourished. I know I haven’t, and I personally can’t imagine it. The food banks that serve communities across this country do an amazing public service, and their efficiency and effectiveness are well documented in the book, Forces for Good, by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant. In Richmond, the local food bank has teamed up with Meals on Wheels to create a wonderful new kitchen to meet the needs of the hungry in our community. Become inspired by visiting their websites at www.cvfb.org and www.mowdelivers.com.
Best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous year in 2008. As we count our blessings and pop the bubbly, let us be warmed by thinking about all the people we will help through our gifts in the New Year.