Sunday, December 2, 2007

Passionate Mondays

Today I am passionate about giving and charity.

I know this post has nothing to do with food, Italy or travel, but I can't help but put my two cents in on the subject of giving...after all 'tis the season. Like most of you, I am passionate about giving. I love to give - hugs, help, food, gifts, a listening ear, etc. It seems that during the holiday season, when consumer pressure to buy is at its highest, that we all need to be reminded that sometimes giving the free things in life are the sweetest.

As most of you know, my mom passed away this year. It was during my time caring for her that I realized how much I got out of giving. Caring for her made me feel good. I have read that there is scientific evidence that shows that when we make someone else feel good, we have the same reaction in our bodies on a cellular level that the receiver does. And remember Saint Francis' quote, "In giving, we receive." It was also during this difficult year that I became so grateful for the small things (and some big things) that friends did for our family. A simple gesture like making a pot of soup for us seemed like the most perfect gift in the world.

So, I want to gently remind everyone that sometimes the smallest gifts and gestures can be the best gifts and that spending money is not always or, really, not at all, necessary. Try baking something for your neighbor, or offering to care for their pet while they are away. Try creating an artistic piece for a friend, perhaps a photo you took or an inspirational quote handwritten on beautiful paper. Offer to cook your friend a lovely meal, or give a massage to a loved one. The ideas are endless.
If you do have money to spend, then why not give it to a charity in someone else's name for a gift? There are so many good charities out there and so many people and animals around the world in need. I think it is important to investigate charities to see how much of your gift dollar actually goes toward the actual recipient, and how much goes toward their administration. Here are a few of my favorite charities, all of which have low over-heads.










If you have a blog, why don't you do a post about our favorite charities to help spread the word during this important giving season? If you do a post, please leave a comment here so that I am aware of it. If you don't have a blog, just leave your favorite charity in a comment form here then. Let's spread the spirit of giving!

Have a passionate and giving day!

13 comments:

african vanielje said...

That's a lovely idea Jeni. I am going to donate something to Menu for Hope,

Maryann said...

Thank you, Jeni.

The Passionate Palate said...

AV - What is menu for hope? Sounds like it would be up my alley.

Maryann - you are welcome!

Chris said...

Jeni, Wonderful post! I give to cancer charities every year, since I went through it. But, I give in other ways, too. I work in a low-income school, and have a stash of belts, gloves, hats, and other basic needs in my office that I bought from Walmart. When I notice a young person who may not have something - I non-chalantly pass it to him/her.

The Passionate Palate said...

Chris - then you know what it is like to give, small things in a subtle way, and reap the great feeling. How wonderful it is what you do. Oh, the cancer charities...I left those out, as well as the Alzheimer's charity I give to. So many worthwhile causes!

katiez said...

I just filled my 'food' bag Friday. There is a 'shopping for the needy' program here. You're given a shopping bag when you go into the supermarket and, as you do your regular shopping, you put things for the food shelves into the sack. It's kept seperate and they pick it up when you're done. That way the food is fresh....
Lovely post and great idea!

The Passionate Palate said...

Katie - that's a terrific way to give...very direct. Happy Holidays!

My Melange said...

Jeni,

I did a post a while back about an organization called Kiva. You can check them out at kiva.org. What a lovely post!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Brilliant idea and a wonderfully seasonal post in a world that's currently going mad with rank consumerism.

VegeYum @ A Life (Time) of Cooking said...

Great idea. One of the charities that I support each month is a girls orphanage in Sri Lanka where the girls have been orphaned by the tsunami or by the local conflicts.

VegeYum

The Passionate Palate said...

My Melange - yes, I read that. Kiva looks like a great organization.

Absolute Vanilla - thank you...yes, I agree.

Vegeyum - sounds like a very direct, and worthwile charity.

Jannis said...

Hi Jen, I am a bit late with a comment here but I had to none the less..I LOVE Heifer! My son and my husband spent time at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas On two different occassions, my son lived in a Thailand hut and my husband lived in the Urban Slum. They had to haul their own water, live on 1 meal a day of rice if they were lucky.... Its a wonderful charity!

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

A touching post! Yes, you're right...the sweetest gift is, to receive precious TIME from someone!
ronell