Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Modest Needs

It's the time of year when a lot of us exchange gifts, spend as much as we can on our small businesses to get that end of year tax break, and occasionally think about those who aren't as fortunate as we are.

I've always believed that when I was in a financial position to assist others, I would contribute to charity regularly.  But as the years have gone by, I've simply never found myself in a position of having so much money that I couldn't find a necessary use for it in my own home.  I have a list of home repairs that are simply waiting for the bank account to catch up to so I can get them fixed.

I'm also a bit of an all or nothing kind of person.  When I think about those who are in need more than I am, I immediately get overwhelmed with the amount of need in the world and can't focus in on what my paltry little contribution can actually do.  How can I donate $100 to a cat shelter when people are starving in Africa?  Contributing that $100 to cancer research feels like throwing it into a black hole of need rather than actually helping.  And how do I decide which need is the greatest and therefore the best place to put my money?

And what about those people in our neighborhood who just need a little bit of money to keep them afloat?  I've certainly been that person.  When the car goes south and I have an unexpected $300 repair bill that completely blows my budget.  In that kind of situation, the need isn't so bad that you're eligible for charitable help, but you still really need that little bit to keep you going.  I've been fortunate enough that my parents have always been in the position of helping me out and have had the inclination to do so.  But not everyone can spare a couple of bucks to help out a loved one through a little financial emergency.

So I came across an article today about http://www.modestneeds.org/ on CNN.  This is a site where they take those small requests and people pool their small contributions to help out.  It's a place where you can actually see what a $10 donation can do and how it will make a difference in someone's life.  I can spare $10.  I can probably spare $20, quite regularly. 

I've bookmarked this site.  I hope I'm able to trickle a few bucks there from time to time throughout the year.

I have no closing statement for this blog post.  I just read about the site, it looked like a great idea and I wanted to write about it.  So I've written about it.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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