It’s the time of year when holiday decorations are starting to pop up like over-exuberant mushrooms on the floors of the nearest retail shops. And that means that it’s the time of year when people generally start thinking about giving money to organizations with a little more zeal than during the rest of the year.
My family (I’m incredibly proud to say) took it to a new level one year when we opted not to celebrate the season with materialistic intent, and instead decided to collectively send money to Heifer International. Everyone in my family gave what they could, and I think as a group we raised between a water buffalo and a cow.
Considering the state of things right now, I’m lucky. I have enough to eat, my pets have enough to eat, and I have enough resources at my disposal that I can afford a lean but happy life. Not everyone has that. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I spend a lot of time on the road working at Renaissance festivals selling my glass a goodly portion of the year. There are several folks who are “on the circuit” who do nothing BUT work for booth owners like me at Renaissance Festivals around the country. They’re modern day Gypsies after a fashion. Most have very limited resources, so if tragedy strikes, they’re kind of S.O.L.
That’s where R.E.S.C.U. comes in. R.E.S.C.U. stands for Renaissance Entertainers Services Crafters United, and it’s a group that is specifically involved with helping Ren Folk with health or medical bills and the issues that accompany uninsured people. When I had a kidney stone last year, my R.E.S.C.U. advocate went to bat for me with the hospital, trying to get my bill reduced to what people with insurance pay, trying to get a lower minimum payment established for me, etc. It was nice to have someone on my side when I felt like the bureaucratic establishment had me bent over a table.
So yeah, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is the blog version of a public service announcement. I’m trying to spread the word on organizations that have either helped me along the way, or ones whose message I feel strongly about. Hopefully the philanthropic millionaire segment of my readership (hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?) will find themselves enamored of an organization I’m mentioned and be moved to make a healthy donation.
Last but not least, there have been times in my life when I’ve gotten bags of groceries for the holidays. And there have been times when we’ve given bags of groceries for the holidays to needy friends. No matter where you live, I can pretty much guaran-darn-tee you that there is a local food bank. Even if your budget can’t support anything else beyond a couple of canned goods, you only have to run a simple google search to turn up the fact that the recession has negatively impacted donations at food banks in recent years.
Embrace the concept of “paying it forward” and, hey if you think you’re up to a further challenge, ditch the gift buying and try the “donation as a group” method. It will not make you popular among people who hug their new toys to their chests like devout monks with a religious relic, but then again I think perhaps Adlai Stevenson had it right when he said, “All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.”