Lending a helping hand

In the past few weeks, I have read in newpapers that we need to help this group or that group.. I have read posts on facebook talking about helping our countries own folks in need over others. I have read requests for donations to local causes and I have read blog posts asking for help in a number of ways. Twice in the past week in my mail box is the start of what will be the never ending asking me for my donation to causes.

I have views on pretty much all of it, but the truth is my thoughts on it are just that my thoughts.. and I am not going into details on them per say..

What I did decide was talk about what I do when it comes to lending a hand, a tool, giving a gift or making a donation, or supporting a cause.

I am of the old belief that you should start close to home, working your way from family to friends to local area to larger community, then to those in need in my own country and finally then out of my own country.

I break with this in one big way, I have supported a microloan program overseas for the improvement for women and children for years.. What I love about that program is that my money rolls over and helps again and again and again.. the payback rate on the microloans are in the high 90’s and once that money is payed back its loaned out again, which means that while each year I give enough to get so many small business started, with the money being paid back it, loaned back out..

As a women who was lucky enough to be born in Canada, I feel that not only is it my duty to help support women issues and rights in my country (cause lets not forget about little things here like the 30 percent difference in pay based on sex etc)  but its my moral reasonability to also help women who live in a different culture then my own.

I want to respect their culture but I also want to find a way to help lift them up and support them.

However lets get back to my own local.. so family, well, that one is pretty easy at this point in time, everyone in my family is holding their own, friends pretty much the same, but there is ways to give, ways to help.. time is a gift to give, knowledge is a gift that can be shared an so forth.

Two things I do regular is I support the local green food box, not because I need those boxes of food most of the time, because my farm overflows (it is nice in the dead of winter though) but because its a great program for those that are in need an the more that buy in, the better the prices are for everyone. this means that I help makes sure that those in need get a little bit more in their box.

One of the other, and there is many reasons to this, I like older made items, their history has meaning to me, I like how well they are made, but I shop regular at the local church basement, its a triple win, I am getting what I need or want on the farm but I am not supporting a system of new, I am getting better quality and I am also supporting the church program that in turn supports so many different things in our local area.

Then comes the larger communities, I tend to give away hundreds of dollars worth of seeds, and plants every year, (this plant gift giving has helped create friendships which I adore) in a number of ways, I do not limit this to just the local plant sales or even to a certain group for fundraisers, I expand this gift of plants in as many ways as possible, I have gifted plants all up and down the Ottawa valley. I have worked with some of the local plant girls to help bring in larger orders that allow others to get smaller orders out of my shared huge bulk orders for savings for all.

Then I expand it outward, I have a love of the north and I tend to expand a helping hand that way next, I have lived up there and seen first hand the things that can and do happen in terms of need for food.

It is common for me to also give a little something to rescues for critters, I do not personally support the SPCA or any shelter, preferring to give a hand to those that do small personal rescues, so this year, I gave the funds to buy a large bale of hay for horses, I gave bags of kitten food to a person that had a dropped off expecting momma and it was nice to give them a helping hand on unplanned and unexpected costs.

I also give my time to a number of things I believe in, one of them is coming up on its 5 year gathering in 2016, how does time fly..  its a full day event and good amount of work but so worth it..

I have given to the local food bank, done a grow a row, helped buy the fixins for a Christmas basket an every year, I buy at least one gift to be given to the toys for tots in need program.

What about you? Do you support crowdfunding? Do you like to give in your own little pond, or do you like to throw that help as far as possible and create a ripple half a world away? Do you find a middle ground like I try to do.. working close and local first, finding ways to give back, finding ways to match your world in line with your helping others, finding a way to share your knowledge, and at the same time find others who share the same interests as well.

Do you give something to the non-human rescues as well, do you give something to help the world as a whole..

I still have my acres of rain forest I bought years ago as part of a project, its part of a reserve, I check it every few years to make sure its still going and working as it was intended.

But like how I used to support the SPCA and moved to small rescues, where I am giving to a person and to a animal that has a name, I have moved my world help from a global view to a tight focus on things like food forest, local community gardens, protecting our local waterways and so forth..

Like my pretty hen, I have my eye on the what is important to me 🙂 I love the look of grit and determination on her face.

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In my teens and twenties, I went global, in my 30’s I started it getting more and more narrow focus on local.. It will be interesting to see what my 40’s, 50’s and 60’s will bring to the table.

 

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2 Responses to Lending a helping hand

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Great piece you’ve written here, FG and, it’s amazing really, how closely my story mirrors yours. I recall thinking what a great idea the micro-loan system is, after hearing the founder (he’s a fellow from British Columbia, if remember correctly) on CBC Radio One; but, as so often happens, I never followed through… Do you happen to have a website or other contact info that you could share?
    Hopefully, the more we “pay it forward”, the more people there will be to carry it on…
    Yknow (totally dating myself here; ) like that old shampoo commercial where “she told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on…”

  2. Nicola says:

    We have a lot in common in our approach. Family and friends are doing ok. I try to be generous when I am able and will inconvenience myself if a need is great. We have a brisk economy of paying forward, things we make or have finished with and a money free exchange that rolls out and back regularly, with the person you gave to often not the person who gives back. I support our local version of green food with harvestbox.org and I volunteer at one of their schemes for a couple of hours (today in fact!). I grow a row and give away lots of plants and seeds. I teach skills and gift labour. Being part of a fb local homesteading group has really helped to focus this kind of giving.

    I felt used and abused a couple of times after responding to a cry for help from a stranger and then discovering that the truth had not been told. I hate that. As a result of a couple of bad experiences with that kind of giving, I have recently resolved to give $5 to anyone who asks, for example via a crowdfunding request. I figure I would buy most people a coffee or a sandwich and $5 just about covers that. I only just started with this this month, so it’s early days. It seems on this short run, I have spent about the same on this approach as I did on responding to other cries for help. It’s an ongoing experiment.

    I don’t personally give to animal charities, as I know they are often one of the most supported groups. I like to support causes that are harder to sell to the public.

    I thrift like it’s an addiction. It’s my weakness! I love a bargain, the thrill of the hunt and the positive effects both for the environment and my wallet! A large percentage of the things I own previously belonged to someone else. I get sticker shock in real stores these days!

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