During times like these another thought is how to give, how to give and help people when you don't have much spare cash.
I have said before I am nervous about the kind of charities that just want your credit card details and a signature. I am nervous of charities with CEO's who make a million dollars a year. I would rather give in a direct way. Help someone in need, send goods with a family travelling to an orphanage overseas or give to an organisation I do trust. Cutting out the middle man where possible. Now, I have no problem with any way any person is called to give. Giving is wonderful. Even if our gift never arrives where it is meant to giving is good for us. And we can be called to give in all sorts of ways and we just need to trust that it is the thing to do.
But in tough times when spending on ourselves is out and spending on others seems impossible there are still ways to give.
Opportunities just present themselves. It isn't always about money, it might be just a gift of kindness. There are a myriad of acts of charity that do not involve money at all. Visiting the sick, the lonely, encouraging a young Mother, sharing your herbs or eggs with a family, writing letter to a lonely relative... cooking a meal for someone just home from hospital. Really we have so many ways to give to choose from there is always going to be something we can do in the season we are in. And we all know that there have been moments in our lives that someone did something kind for us. Funnily the really stand out moments that I can remember feeling so touched by kindness, things that have stayed with me, have been small things. Kind words, a heartfelt note, practical help of some kind. They probably seemed like little things but to me they were wonderful. Years later remembering the little dresses Nan's friend made for Chloe or my Dad's friend that gave me pot plants to establish my first very own garden. So kind and thoughtful.
Today I thought about this as I have yarn and it is easy for me to make some things to help someone. I had made a rug and sent it to Sister Chris who is a Nun who used to visit us when the girls were little. She used it for charity work and wrote me a lovely letter. She remembers the girls as little kids... maybe 6 and 8 years old at most. So I decided to write her a letter and include photos of Lucy's wedding. She would barely recognise them now. But she had an impact on our lives and the girls remember Sister Chris. I enclosed a little baby rug I had crocheted as I know she would visit a lot of people and the Nuns help Mums with no home, victims of domestic violence etc and someone will be able to use a pretty little rug for a baby girl. It's what I have. So that is what I've sent. I just pray it blesses someone.
As I made up the parcel I felt it looked pretty and I know it will come as a surprise. I hope she likes it!
It isn't big or expensive, it hardly cost me anything except my time. But I felt excited and happy to prepare this parcel and I figure you never know who might be really blessed, you just never know what might come of even the smallest thing.
The second parcel I got ready was to a lovely lady, Kelley, who is collecting pillowcases for a hospital in Manilla, the Philippines. Having come to know Kelley I know these pillowcases will truly brighten the day of hospital patients. She is collecting until almost Christmas so if you would like to join in on a beautiful project go over to Kelleys blog and have a look...
Using some fabrics in my cupboard I whipped up some pillowcases and added braided edges. Very quick and easy. These actually cost nothing as it was using all stuff I had. And I added four purchased pillowcases with Tinker Bell and Care Bears as they were adorable and I could imagine children in hospital loving them.
If you have any suitable material maybe sew up a few pillowcases for this lovely project.
And there are so many possibilities. At every turn there are little ways to help. We don't need to feel that only grand gestures are important. Hundreds of little things add up. They are not less significant or important.
Both my Nans were big givers. Nan Lucas made everyone fabulous cakes, knitted them jumpers (after spinning the wool) cooked everyone beautiful meals. My other Nan gave everyone eggs, fruit from the garden, cooking and flowers. Mum makes baby hats and rugs for everyone that has a baby far and wide, knitted hats for premature babies and cancer patients, jumpers and blankets for charity and endless parcels go off to help so many people. The common thread is the happiness that comes from making something to be able to give and help.
In a world where it seems bigger is better it is really nice to remember it's the little things that count. A seemingly tiny gesture might mean the world to someone.
Don't feel you have to do grand things. Little things with love are big enough.