The month of December always reminds me of how much we have and others don’t. It also reminds me of how many are not engaged in paying it forward or giving back. So, throughout this month I want to tell you about a few of those who are.
Last month I put out the call to food bloggers to tell me if they were using their blogs in some way to give back to others – several answered the call. These are regular people, just like you and me. They are not rich – by any political party’s definition. What they are, are people who were inspired to do something, little or small to help others.
In February, Lindsay Neuner, the author of Peace, Love and French Fries began her Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is campaign. Each month she chooses a charity to benefit and she gives that charity – out of her own pocket – $.01 for every page view her blog receives that month and $.50 for every comment. So far, she’s given back more than $540.
Lindsay told me if she had planned her charitable giving at the beginning of the year she never would have budgeted so much – she simply didn’t think she could afford it. But she discovered that by giving $40, $50, $60, even $75 per month it was actually possible. Giving back is “more doable than most of us realize” she said. “If you “break it up, it’s not overwhelming.”
Lindsay’s efforts don’t stop at making a donation. She spends hours pouring over newspaper ads and cutting coupons to make her donation stretch as far as possible. In July she donated $76.49 for a school supply drive. With her savvy shopping she used that $76.49 to buy:
• 108 pencils
• 8 boxes of crayons
• 24 glue sticks
• 6 boxes of colored pencils
• 5 boxes of markers
• 66 erasers
• 4 backpacks
• 33 notebooks
• 58 folders
• 16 packages of loose-leaf paper
• 8 1-inch binders
• 9 scissors
• 6 composition notebooks
• 13 rulers
• 8 bottles of glue
• 16 highlighters
• 100 black and blue pens
• 60 mechanical pencils
With $76.49 – can you believe it!?!
Others have been inspired by Lindsay’s efforts and matched her donations, multiplying the difference she’s already started to make. When I spoke with Lindsay, she said many things that stuck with me but the most poignant was this: “Everyone has $.49 under the couch and that buys a hungry person a can of peas.”
Every little bit really does make a difference. Carry an extra dollar to give to the homeless person on the side of the road. Give your take-out leftovers to the hungry guy on the corner. After talking with Lindsay and others, I passed a homeless woman on my way to the Farmer’s Market – I bought my favorite market indulgence – a cherry strudel and gave it to her (with $5) telling her that she looked like she needed a treat – a huge smile lit up her face and I knew that though it didn’t solve her housing or hunger issues, that moment of indulgence made her life a little bit better if only for a moment – it also improved mine.