Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

12/22/2017

Charitable Giving

Filed under: About The Author,Marginalia and Notes from the Editor,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

As someone who’s been the beneficiary of charitable giving, I heartily endorse it!

And, actually, you may have enjoyed the benefits of charity, directly or indirectly, too. For instance, if you have had cancer or know someone who has had cancer, you’ve benefited from money donated to cancer research from any of a number of charities. If you’ve used Wikipedia, you have only been able to do so due to donations made to that organization. Also, I know that it’s at least partially my upbringing in the Methodist Church that has helped me form the belief that I should give back some of what I’ve been given. I don’t give it all to a church these days, but I do still like to give to worth causes. That seems like an especially important thing to both believe and do these days with the social and political climate being what they are. If you feel the same, but aren’t sure where to give, I have a couple suggestions.
First of all, there’s the Boing Boing 2017 Guide to Charitable Giving. I don’t necessarily endorse all the charities they list, but there are some good ones there, though several are out of the UK and may not be to my American audience’s taste.
Secondly, I’d like to recommend that you consider giving to established charities in your local area. Find a homeless shelter or women’s shelter to give to this year, maybe, or, my personal favorite, a local stray animal rescue. I lean toward donating toward the most helpless in need in my local area. I like the animal rescues because it’s such a huge problem where I live and it’s mostly domestic animals that have been mistreated one way or another. Domesticated animals are our responsibility and we should step up to that.

So, this Friday before Christmas, I hope you’ll forgive me for getting up on a soap box, but I truly believe that if we want the world to be a better place, we have to make it that way. One way I choose to do that is to donate to worthy causes. Besides, if you donate now, you can take it off your taxes, so it’s a “win-win” situation!

Anyway, I hope you’ll think about it and, either way, have a Merry Christmas.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

9/8/2008

Habitat for Humanity

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:47 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Saturday, I gave some time to Habitat for Humanity.

I go to church every Saturday night, with few exceptions. Well, this Saturday a group of us from Mercy Street, where I go to church, went over and donated some time to work on a house for a deserving family. I have to admit, I was surprised to find out some of the requirements to qualify and some of the details about how Habitat for Humanity is run.

For one thing, people aren’t just “given” houses. They’re sold these houses, but they’re sold to them for a price they can afford. In fact, Habitat doesn’t make any profit off the houses. What’s more, the loan they make to the new owners doesn’t include any interest. Why? Because of a Bible verse against usury. Yeah, I was surprised, too! Apparently, Habitat for Humanity is run based on Christian principles. Say what you will about organized religion, but this really seems like a good charity to me. Getting a family into a better home in a better neighborhood gives them a fighting chance to break the cycle of poverty.

Oh, the other thing I thought was really smart about the Habitat for Humanity system was that they require new homeowners to contribute 300 hours of service back to the charity. So, for the most part, they help work on someone else’s home, too. The system becomes self-perpetuating, which I love.

No, it’s not perfect, but I do think it’s a step in the right direction.
I don’t think this is going to end poverty as we know it, but I think it’ll make a dent. And, perhaps more importantly, it lets me put my faith into action. See, I don’t have a lot of money this year since I have more medical expenses than I expected, but I really wanted to give back in some way. Again, say what you will about organized religion, but part of what I was taught to believe was that we make the miracles happen. Helping each other, especially those who can’t do for themselves, is what we were meant to do. It’s what Jesus meant when he said “Love your neighbor as yourself”. It’s the Golden Rule in action.

It felt great to go and spend five or six hours helping give someone a leg up, so to speak. My parents gave me every advantage they could, but not everyone has the same opportunity. So, if I want my world to change for the better, I have to be the change. If I want to do away with poverty and raise the standard of living, I have to do my part to make it happen. So, I did. It wasn’t much, really, but at least it was something.
And more than I’d done in a very, very long time.
I have to admit, I was worried that I wouldn’t be useful enough at whatever they were doing, since I’m honestly not all that great at working with my hands, but they managed to find something for everyone to do. And, we had a family there working off some of their 300 service hours, too, which was a little extra cool.

So, if you’re looking for something to do that will make you feel good and help improve your community and world, there are worse things to do than give a little time to Habitat for Humanity.
I know I’ll be going back again to give more time.


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