In high school, I never figured out the reasoning behind donations. Sure, it was something that looked good on your resume, but why bother? People were going to get food somehow. I was young and stupid. I didn’t give charity a second thought.
Then, two years ago, my family and I found ourselves in a financially uncomfortable position. It was around the holidays, right before Thanksgiving, and there would be no turkey for us. No nothing, actually. My mom had zero cash and no way to obtain it, having just gotten a new job. Christmas was coming, and my four younger brothers were expecting something. Nothing like this had ever happened to us.
A kind co-worker heard about the problems my family was having and arranged with her church to have a Thanksgiving dinner delivered to our house. It was the first act of selflessness and charity I have ever witnessed first hand. I will be eternally grateful for that woman and her church.
As this holiday season comes around, I urge each and every one of you to help out. I know you’re thinking that it’s hard enough for you to subsidize yourself, let alone strangers. And I used to feel that way, until it happened to me.
Being poor is a real eye-opener, as many of you know. But instead of spending that dollar on a Snapple at school, go to the local dollar store, and pick up a can of soup or veggies. Anything. Because a little goes a long way.
There are many groups on campus organizing food drives around this time. Last week, a fraternity (sorry, I don’t remember which one) was collecting food outside Cooper Hall for Metropolitan Ministries. I’m sure any church in the area has a food drive or collection going on, especially during the next couple of weeks.
Look, I know most of us haven’t been in a position where we know what it’s like to go hungry. But think about those poor kids out there, who don’t hang on to a notion of Santa Claus or Christmas because they’ve never known it to be true. The library is holding a gift drive for young children; all you do is drop off a wrapped gift. It doesn’t have to be a video game or anything expensive, but it helps to keep these children happy for a little while longer.
I hate sounding like Sally Struthers, but a can of corn is like 50 cents. And that can of corn could be someone’s dinner. In our money-obsessed world, I think we can afford to help out some kids who wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving otherwise.
Even people perceived as jerks in our society are doing some sort of charity work. While it may not be the classic idea of collecting gifts for needy kids, controversial Tampa DJ Bubba the Love Sponge’s program — where toys are exchanged for free entry into a strip club — really works. You may think he’s a jerk, but the amount of charity work he actually does would surprise you.
I don’t think it’s asking a lot for each of us to donate a little of our time or our cupboard to the less fortunate. Because, believe me, next year, it could be you.
Jessica Higgins is a junior majoring in mass firstname.lastname@example.org