Monday, November 27, 2006

'Tis the season for...

I'd initially planned to write about today being one of the busiest internet shopping days of the year and then, for the benefit of USA readers, to segue into a mention of SalesCircular.com so they could get a heads-up on upcoming sales in their local areas. Because I'm very much into saving, not wasting, money.

But then, yesterday, the OC decreed it to be "we need to decide now where to distribute the extra donation money so I can do it and get it done" day. So, being a highly organized sort, he brought out a spreadsheet showing how much and to which extra (beyond our "usual") charities we had donated last year and so far over this year and how much had accumulated in the designated fund in the budget. And then we looked over the stack of fundraising materials that had escaped the trashman and had the "who gets how much and who do we add or cut this year" conversation.

Thanks to the OC's talents, our charitable contributions are carefully organized. We donate to our church regularly but also like to provide help to other worthy needs as well. We've both been through very, very poor times in our lives, times in which there really wasn't quite enough food to go around so, now that we have plenty (as do most people in developed countries!), most of our favorite charities are those that help to feed hungry people, particularly children.

"One little girl or boy dies of hunger-related diseases every five seconds in developing countries. That’s 12 children every minute, 720 children every hour, more than 17,000 a day." We can't feed them all, but for each one we can feed, our help literally means the difference between life or death so we donated to ADRA Matching Grants for Food Security! $1 = $7! Hey, how could I resist not only providing food for hungry children but making each dollar worth seven dollars? What a bargain!!

When I was around 9 or 10, Louisa May Alcott was my very favorite author. I read and cried over Little Women more times than I can count. I loved Little Men (and Jo's Boys) and aspired to have my very own orphanage one day. So far, at least, that shows no signs of ever happening, so I've contented myself with sponsoring orphans in third-world countries instead.

After the OC wrote the check last night, I had a question about one of "our" Rwandan children so this morning I called REACH International headquarters. I reached Jasmine, the president, who started the first REACH school with her husband when their hearts was touched by the starving children they saw while on a visit to India back in 1973. Now, with the aid of many caring sponsors, some 26,000 children in 25 countries are cared for, fed, educated and taught of the love of Jesus.

Jasmine told me, though, "I had a very unhappy Thanksgiving. I just came from Malawi where children are dying like rats from AIDS and from starvation. And here people are stuffing themselves." So now I'm trying to think what expenses I can cut so that we can find an extra $20 a month to sponsor a child from Malawi. We can't save them all but perhaps we can manage to save one more.

Another, and much more challenging, approach to caring for children, of course, is that of our niece who just brought her beautiful new daughter home from Central America.

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