My desire to volunteer and help people in need has been with me for as long as I can remember. It's not something that my parents told me that I had to do, though they definitely encouraged it, it was just something I have always felt the need to do. Way before I learned about Compassion, I started looking into ways to volunteer and help those less fortunate than myself in my community. I want to share some of these things with you in the hopes that maybe it will inspire you to go out and do some of these things.
Each picture I share with you, to me, is what giving looks like.
The first memory I have of volunteering is from when I was in elementary school. My school did a toy drive for children who would otherwise not receive any gifts on Christmas morning. To me, as a child, this was unacceptable. I remember thinking that all children should have a new toy or two on Christmas. I went home that evening and told my parents all about it. They agreed to give me $20 to buy toys for a child. I had so much fun at the store, knowing that I was buying toys for a girl my age.
There are hundreds of toy drives around the country this time of year. A lot of places have big boxes in their entryways to collect toys. If you're interested in buying for a specific child, you could check out Angel Tree. Maybe stores, like Walmart, have a Christmas with children's information and wishlists hanging on it. You can choose one of thoese children and buy gifts and clothing for them today!
I was in Jr. High the first time I helped out in a soup kitchen. A group of us from our school went to help out. While, they would not let us cook the food, since we were underage, we were allowed to help serve food to people, sit at tables with people and talk to them, and help clean up afterwards. It was hard work and it was sometimes a little scary talking to homeless people, I consider it a wonderful experience in my life.
Check out some local soup kitchens in your area.
In high school, a group of kids from my youth group joined up to help build a family in need a new house. The day my youth group went, I was actually not able to attend due to being sick, but I thought of them all day. I still think that someday I would like to try my hand at building a wall.
If you like to work with your hands, I encourage you to look into Habitat For Humanity.
In college, I joined the national co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. The goal of this organizaton is to make a difference on our campus, in our community, in our country, and in the world. One of things we got invovled in was after school tutoring. Many children in the town I lived in didn't have a safe place to go after school, as their parents couldn't afford the after school program. These children would come to our campus and we would help them with their homework and play games with them until their parents came to pick them up.
If you like the idea of teaching a child, I encourage you to check out any tutoring programs in your town. Big Brother, Big Sister is a good program too for high school/college aged people looking to help a younger child.
Something I have recently become interested in is writing letters to soldiers in other countries. While you can do this year round, it is especially important this time of year. Many soldiers are away from their loved ones over the holidays and are probably feeling quite homesick. Getting an encouraging letter from a stranger can make a world of difference.
I encourage you to check ou Operation Gratitude to write letters to soldiers.
Of course, it wouldn't right to not remind you about the Compassion Gift Catalog. Compassion has many ways that you can donate, in all categories and price ranges. Please visit the link below to see if there is a way that you would like to donate.
Basically, what I'm trying to say, is just go out there and help somebody.