What is my contribution to this planet and humankind? This should be a daily thought in a global warming world. Yet, with the inflation of gas prices, slowing economy and the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we tend to forget how fortunate we truly are.
The holiday season brings many wonderful gifts, and often the best ones can't be wrapped or purchased in a store. Give the greatest present of all this year by giving back to your community.
The holidays are an opportune time to express gratitude for what we have and concern for those who do not have much. It is also a time for the accumulation of more items.
We are a shopping driven society that favors a "good deal" and most of us are guilty of overspending at this time of year. While presents are nice, having too many possessions can be cumbersome.
Do a winter cleaning to prepare for gifts you will receive. There are plenty of people who could use the belongings you haven't used since last December; donate them by dropping by your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Contributions don't have to be about money. You could always donate your time, food, books, toys, clothes and furniture - anything. There are various opportunities to give back, and the items that will make a difference could be taking up space in your garage or pantry.
For those relatives who seem to have everything, you could donate something in their name. Maybe they don't need another sweater.
Ask them what charity they would like to donate to instead. The biggest problem might be choosing from the abundance of charities working for good causes.
World Vision Inc. is an organization devoted to working with children, families and communities worldwide. There are more than 100 gifts available from its catalog to honor a loved one. The person you choose will receive a card regarding the purchase, and World Vision will deliver the gift to those in need.
St. Jude Children's Hospital offers ways in which to help children who are ill. Its 2007 Thanks and Giving campaign gives 85 cents of every dollar it receives directly to research and treatment.
At its Web site, www.tg.stjude.org, you are free to donate in someone else's honor as well. The site has a gift shop where you may make donations in other people's names and provide them details about gifts sent in their honor.
The American Red Cross provides support after major disasters. You can still donate to those who lost homes during the Southern California fires of 2007, and to the people directly affected by terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
There are so many problems plaguing this world - hunger, poverty, homelessness and disease - it's sometimes difficult to fathom a way to help.
But, an attitude of indifference is what will keep these issues stagnant. There are various organizations willing to assist, but they need our help to be successful. It's time that we all pose the question, what can we do? Give what you can; a little bit goes a long way.
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