The Spirit of Giving
Pragati Patel, MA
I read an article in the Seattle Times that gave me a sense of gratitude and love towards individuals I have never met. The story was about anonymous donors, across the Midwestern United States, providing payment for toys parents had set away on layaway plans for their children. Layaway is a system that allows individuals to put aside items they want to purchase and then make smaller payments until the items are paid in full. With the economic downfall, many parents are struggling to provide a traditional holiday for their children this year, and many are turning to systems like layaway.
Some donors selected accounts that were late on payments and in danger of having items returned to the store, others waited at the layaway counter and walked up to help parents who appeared to be struggling the most. Across the many states in which this occurred, one thing remained the same: all of the donors remained anonymous.
I had a conversation just yesterday about how toy drives and charities are struggling to bring in donations due to the economic crisis being faced by so many Americans. Donations are down considerably, and yet there is a greater need than we have seen in recent history. Around Thanksgiving a local Seattle Mission reported being short several hundred turkeys that they had intended to provide to needy families, the community responded with an outpouring of donations. The Mission had so many turkeys, they were able to provide to other food banks.
There is a great need in the United States to help those who are less fortunate than we are. This doesn’t have to come in the form of anonymous donations or a turkey; it can come in the form of time, or sharing a skill you already having. Once the holidays are over, food banks face the greatest need. Giving shouldn’t be associated with the holidays; it should be something we do throughout the year.
I’ll admit, there are times when I hear of a large anonymous donation and I wonder who is this person that can give so much? But there’s also a bit of magic in that too. This generous person was able to give and expect nothing in return. How often to we really give without expectations? If we give from a place of gratitude and love, we have already received all the thanks we need.