It's that time of year for my favorite series here on TPN, which I only started last year but I am really excited to keep going, The Gift Of Giving. Having worked in social services for years and taken copious amounts of ethics and sociology classes there are so many things I think about in the world that need attention. So during the holidays, while I am spending money anyway on presents and hot chocolates, I like to forgo one or two of these extravagances and put a little towards a charity or two. Pointing to charities certainly doesn't mean I am well off by any means, heck I am not even financially stable most of the time, or that I assume that anyone else has any "extra," so with that I try to point to charities that don't have a large minimum donation and the work seems to truly and directly help those in need, (or another favorite is where you can buy a gift and part of the money goes to a charity, win-win). And while I love giving my children presents and shopping and all that goodness, it's also a time where I become acutely aware of all that we have and that even in my times of most need I have never truly gone without. Having worked for non-profits I know that a lot of their yearly (non-funded) budgets come from donations during the holidays, and while anytime is a good time to give, I feel like this my favorite time of year to do so (and i know that every dollar adds up, even if it's just pocket change and sometimes that is all i give if it's all i have). So I love giving a little bit somewhere outside of my own circle where I know it has the possibility to make a difference.
Without further ado, my first featured charity of the season is Charity: Water a non-profit that helps to bring clean drinking water to those most in need. It's hard for me, and probably you too, to imagine a life where water is not at our constant disposal. When we are thirsty we can go to our tap and fill a big glass, a pot, or even a bathtub. Where we mindlessly let water spill down the drain while we do dishes or toss it out because our once straight-from-the-refrigerator ice cold water has reached room temperature. Unfortunately this isn't the case for everyone everywhere and it's not even close to reality for too many.
I remember when I was in college and I was taking all those sociology classes, we watched a documentary about women and children from all over the globe who had to walk miles everyday to get water that no one I knew would even dream of drinking. And this was their life - gathering water, hoping their children would not get sick from it, that they wouldn't be harassed on the way there or back home, or that the water wouldn't be dried up when they got there. Entire days spent just on this one task that is completely necessary for survival. Those images have stuck with me and now in the morning I finish my glass of water from the night before before I pour myself a new one. I don't buy bottled water unless I seriously need to (it's pretty rare I need to buy water), I do big loads of laundry and I try really hard to not waste water unnecessarily (though doing the dishes is my downfall for water conservation). But really these things simply help conserve water, they don't help those in most need have access to water. This charity is a favorite because I know this is how I can help with that. For more info check out their website it's filled with information and beautiful stories and photos.
Images via Charity: Water