Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
Send a smile and show you care ~ Supertramp
One week from today is Giving Tuesday. For weeks we’ve been inundated with advertisements for Black Friday, which seems to be Black Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday these days, and Cyber Monday. The media and corporate retailers have convinced us that we need several $100 40 inch TVs in our homes. We need these things so much we are willing to stay up all night in line, trample over our neighbors, and act like deranged fools to get to those things a few bucks cheaper than buying it on any other day. But this isn’t the soapbox I want to be on today. Tuesday December 2nd is a chance to give back after all the getting of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is a global celebration of generosity. While our eyes are open to needs around the world, we often fail to see the need of our own neighbors. They are not in the national news, you will not see their plight played out on television. They are single parents who need a hand through the Single Parent Scholarship Fund and the kids who benefit from AR Kids Read, helping Arkansans reach their educational goals and intellectual potential. They are our aging kin who get help from the Project Compassion as they live out their lives in nursing homes. They are the kids who benefit from Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch and Big Brothers Big Sisters. They are my sweet friends at World Services for the Blind who are making a huge difference in the lives of visually impaired adults.
I first became involved with World Services when I found out they had a group of runners. I tried to get involved by leading blind or visually impaired runners at organized race events. They also meet twice a week to run, about thirty minutes before I get off work and it was impossible to join in the weekly runs making it more difficult to lead during races. Instead I started volunteering to take on the duties of shopping guide on Thursdays at the Target near my house. It should have been easy, a couple of hours of my day at a place I probably had an errand to run anyway. But, I found myself making excuses like it’s at the same time as my favorite yoga class or there’s this other event I want to attend. This weekend I found out that they have had to cancel that day of shopping for lack of volunteers. It made my heart sink. I failed my fellow-man. This Tuesday is my chance to make it up to them and to myself by committing my time and my money to people who deserve my time and my attention not because of what I can give them, but because of what being with them does for me. It is utterly selfish, the opposite of what people think volunteering is. One of WSB’s clients, a PhD animal scientist who is losing his sight, once asked me why I volunteered to shop with them. It took me less than five seconds to answer “because how else would I get to meet all these cool people?”
Take the chance to make a difference on Giving Tuesday. There are many ways to Share the Bounty, as P. Allen Smith would say. You can find many of them on the Arkansas Non-Profit Alliance #GivingTuesdayAR facebook page.