Our nation is reeling from the horrifying, senseless killing of children in Connecticut this past week. Many of us wonder how such a thing could happen, while at the same time we watch the selfless outpouring of love and support from strangers who feel the the tragedy deep inside. Our sadness is healed in some small measure by the good works we witness.
Giving the right gift at the right time is never as easy as it ought to be. We wonder what we can do for others that will ease pain and stress. We wonder what we can do that might make a small change for the better in this world of ours. The holidays are a time when inevitably these questions surface. Not only are “Peace and Goodwill to Men” the watchwords of the Christmas holidays, we also know that any charitable donations should be made by December 31st in order to be tax deductible–just a little bonus in living out the best part of our humanity.
There are so many wonderful charities. Today I’m sharing just a few of my favorites, and I hope you’ll share yours, as well. Perhaps your own donations go to a university you attended, a church you attend now, a hospital where you received treatment. We give to a summer camp where our family spent many happy hours, to a charity that educates children in India in honor of our daughter, who was born there. I give to St. Jude’s hospital because I know how lucky I was to have healthy children. I support environmental causes because I want to leave my grandchildren a healthy planet. Charitable giving is personal, and reflects, in many ways, our values and concerns. Here are just two more of mine that you might not be familiar with.
Tahirih Justice Center: Tahirih works to protect immigrant women and girls seeking justice in the United States from gender-based violence. Leveraging both in-house and pro bono attorneys, Tahirih empowers clients to achieve justice and equality through holistic direct legal services and national public policy advocacy. They have a 99% success rate, and now, when the Violence Against Women Act is under debate in Congress, is a particularly good time to donate.
ChildFund International: One of many international service organizations that match sponsors with children in need around the world, ChildFund (formerly Christian Children’s Fund) and others like it bring giving to your front door step with letters from sponsored children and reports on how your sponsored child is progressing. ChildFund works directly with the community where your child lives. We have sponsored a child in India and one in Uganda for many years. Watching them grow up has been a joy and they are a constant reminder of how similar our hopes and dreams are worldwide.
Do you have others to recommend? Do you know why they are particularly important to you? Have you found ways other than financial to support the causes you hold most dear?
There’s no amount of money or even good works that can make up for the loss and grief that so many people will experience this year. But in the words of clergyman Edward Everett Hale: “”I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.”
I like that. I hope to live those words this holiday season as so many other people are living them.