People always seem to be more generous around the holidays.
Maybe it’s because we are in the “giving spirit,” maybe we tend to be more thankful for what we have and think others should have it, too… or maybe it’s just because we want to get in our donations so we can write them off on our 2008 tax returns.
Whatever the reason, it’s never a bad reason to give.
This year, it’s likely that charities may not see the same generosity as usual. The economy is in the crapper, and the truth is that many families are stretching their money just to make ends meet.
With that said, if you can afford to, you should think about making your donations. If you’ve never given before, you should research a cause that means something to you, and concentrate your efforts there. Everyone needs help, and there are so many organizations worthy of your dollar.
If you can’t afford to give monetarily, try to be a little creative. What can you give?
Maybe it’s your time. Become a volunteer.
Maybe it’s your talent or your resources. Make an in-kind donation.
Maybe it’s your blood.
Yes, I said blood. This morning, I donated mine. I’ve done it countless times now, and it’s something I think is really important to do. In fact, I wish more people would do it. Did you know that approximately 60% of the population is eligible to donate blood, but less than 5% actually do?
If you’ve never done it because you’re afraid of needles, I hope you’ll reconsider.
I used to be deathly afraid of needles. I first signed up to try to donate blood in high school, but I ultimately got denied because I nearly had a panic attack and my blood pressure skyrocketed so high that they had to reject me.
Sadly, I didn’t try again until I was 22 years old. I didn’t try again until I felt like I had a reason to try again.
In the summer of 2004, I started reading Jenny Scott’s blog. I’ve talked about it before. That year, Jenny’s baby daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, and she chronicled the day-to-day life with Allie as she battled the disease. From the time of her diagnosis up until Allie died in September 2004 at only 9 months of age, she received something like *85* blood transfusions. Because of blood donors, Jenny got to hold onto her baby girl just a little bit longer. And in a time when every moment counted, I know that Jenny was appreciative of those anonymous blood donors. In fact, she still is. (As a side note, Allie was also the reason I put myself on the National Bone Marrow Registry.)
So here’s the thing. It was December 17, 2004–what would have been Allie’s 1st birthday. I don’t know Jenny, and I didn’t know Allie. I don’t live anywhere near Texas. But the Red Cross was holding a blood drive in the building in which I worked. I figured–if that little baby could go through leukemia, chemotherapy, needle pokes and prods, and still have a smile on her face–I could handle a needle in my arm.
It was on that day that I became a blood donor.
Four years later, I’m still donating whenever I can. I’m lucky that the “blood mobile” makes trips to my workplace approximately every two months, so donating is convenient. But I have also made appointments at my local American Red Cross location and gone in on my own time, too. The whole process takes about an hour, but the blood donation part is 10-20 minutes. You will walk out knowing that you did something good for somebody. You likely helped save a life.
I’m not going to lie. I still get apprehensive every time I lie down on that cot. I have never looked at the needle. I don’t enjoy the experience, and in fact, I’ve had some bad ones (it’s bound to happen with how many times I’ve given). But the fact of the matter is, even with the bad experiences, it’s still not that bad. I’ve always gone back again, which I think says a lot.
So, again, if the needle stick is your issue… get over it! From one wimp to another–I know you can do it. I survived (and survived, and survived…), and you will, too.
AboutI'm Heather. I just turned 30. I'm happily married, and mommy to the most beautiful little girl in the world (what, you're saying I could be biased?). Determined DIYer and homeowner. Sarcastic. A perfectionist. A bleeding-heart liberal. Frugal. Loves a little dog way more than many humans. Loves food, hates exercise (it's an ongoing battle). A loyal football fan. I love to laugh. Value family and friends above all else. Vie to be a world traveler.
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