Friday, August 31, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday Friday

The lovely and even more lovely-spirited Jen over at Get In The Car has made a suggestion I'd like to adopt here.

On her blog yesterday she suggested the last Thursday of each month as "Philanthropy Thursday", and asked everyone who stopped by her blog to take a second and think, "How can I make a small difference today? What can I do, however small, to make the world just a little bit better?" I'm a day late (Thursdays are generally a crazy day around the ole island) but this is definitely a case of better late than never.

Yesterday, I gave a bag of toys to my cleaner, who is a lay preacher and leader among the foreign worker community here in Israel, a group of primarily illegal workers (though he isn't himself) with almost no access to community resources or support. I've had some involvement with this community professionally (by providing pro bono breastfeeding teaching and support). Each time I walk away impressed by their spirit, will and willingness to work incredibly hard picking up the leavings of those luckier than they, all while refusing to give in to the atmosphere of fear and intimidation my so-called government is creating for them.

I've given them many items in the past, clothing, an old oven, books, and my son's old bicycle... It broke my heart when this man leapt at the chance to take an old pair of Jay's shoes, then accidentally threw them away with my household trash. It cracked my heart wide open when that mattered enough to him to take the bus 45 minutes back to my house to search through the building's garbage for them. I hadn't really thought to give them toys though. I'd mainly been giving necessities, not the things that can put a smile on a small child's face.

K was here the other day, cleaning up my mess, when I saw a bag of toys I'd set aside, rejects from a recent toy swap. I'd been meaning to "do something" with it for weeks, when I remembered that the creche run by the foreign workers' church has very few toys. My own children are lucky beyond all reason when it comes to toys. They are quite honestly drowning in them. They can no longer value what they have because of the excess.

I made a resolution on the spot. I am going to have a monthly toy purge. Instead of saving the toys for a future toy swap, or passing them on to friends' children or local preschools, I will be giving them to K. This way they I know they will be going straight to children who truly wouldn't have them otherwise. I hope that they will put a smile on someone's face.

So there you have it. My small attempt to make a the world a little bit better for someone this month.

Who's with me?

11 comments:

Nicole said...

That's a very special thing to bring to a child: the simple pleasure of a gift. I have been making it a point to make monthly monetary donations to my favorite charities, but in some ways I think the small, often forgotten things are worth more.

Janet said...

How about I give my vacuum cleaner away at my local freecycle? I just bought a new one.

Mom not Mum said...

Great post - I'm sure those children will be quite happy with the toys.

Robin said...

Sounds great Janet, and if you like you can leave a link on Jen's blog as well. She'd love to see this idea of hers blossom.

Mel said...

How wonderful Robin. We try to make a small difference by giving all the children's grown out of clothes to the local Red Cross.

~Virginia~ said...

That's a really great idea! :) I volunteer once a week with at-risk middle school students as a tutor...does that count? :) Of course I'm not much help in the math department, but I try!

Jo said...

Good on you, that will make a big difference. The shoe story is heartbreaking.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I love this idea and just "signed up" yesterday. I've Freecycled many of our toys in the past, and the emails I've received from the recipients (or from someone who knows the recipient) are heartwarming.

Pieces of Me said...

that was a wonderful decision. I'm so glad you did it. I love reading stories like this. I just I could do something from here bu drinking it all in was lovely.

Robin said...

How wonderful to hear about all of you looking to take part. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to be a part of this, just think how incredible it would be if Jen's idea took off in a "and they told two friends" sort of way...

This Eclectic Life said...

This is a wonderful idea, Robin! Maybe we should consider making it a daily philanthropy? It's amazing how much we could give away if we thought about it. The monthly toy purge is an excellent suggestion. I don't have small kids anymore, but maybe I can re-interpret "toy?"