Make Christmas a Charitable Time

With Christmas just days away, this is a good time to reflect on its true meaning and to practice random acts of kindness.  How can you do this?

  1. Go through your pantry and find some canned or other non-perishable items to donate.  While it might seem that you already do this, this time give items that aren’t gross.  Give green beans, corn, stuffing mix, chili beans, mac & cheese, rice, asparagus, and pasta rather than canned artichokes, sardines, and the jars of baby corn on the cob and pigs feet. Bring the items to our local food pantry.
  2. See the car behind you in line at McDonald’s?  Looks a little beat up?  Pay for their meal, too.
  3. See the service people working at the fast food restaurants, in retail, at the gas station?  Give them a tip every now and then.  You’ll probably not miss your dollar, but it could turn a bad day into something good for them.  I work a lot at Bridgestone Arena raising money for Girl Scouts and let me tell you it’s shocking who does NOT tip…
  4. Visit Modest Needs.org and see how your $5, $10, $20 or more donation can directly help someone in need. If you worry your money won’t make a difference, this organization tells you exactly who you’re helping.
  5. Hand write a letter or card to someone who wouldn’t expect it… your Mom? Dad? Grandparents?  Someone in a nursing home, a widow, a single woman or man who might be lonely. No one takes the time to write letters anymore and getting mail from someone who cares could mean everything to them.
  6. Look someone in the eye and sincerely ask, “How are you?”  Then listen to them… genuinely care about what they say.
  7. Get a handful of nickels, dimes and quarters and drop them somewhere where you know kids play or hang out.

What are you ideas for performing random acts of kindness, LaVergne?

8 comments for “Make Christmas a Charitable Time

  1. December 19, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    On a not-so-local level, I like to make micro-loans of $25 to entrepreneurs in developing nations through Kiva.org. You actually get paid back and can loan the same $25 out over and over.

    My other favorite organization is Heifer International, where you can make a gift as small as a flock of chicks or a rabbit, or as large as a cow or goat to someone who will learn to raise and breed their animals so that they may feeds their families and make a little money with them. It's the gift that keeps on giving! And they do help families in the US.

  2. Adrianne Foreman
    December 19, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I have a ton of maternity clothes that I'd like to give away. Does anyone know of a local charity of women's shelter that will take them? I know of a place in Nashville, but if there's a good Rutherford County spot then I'd like to do that. Thanks!

  3. Sherry
    December 20, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Good article, Kathy! However, #3 kind of bothers me. I have to admit, I've been to the arena probably 150+ times and been told in the past that vendors are not allowed to accept tips. I know alot of retail stores are that way, too, and I have no idea about the fast food places (unless there's a waiter or waitress involved, obviously). Does this mean I need to tip the guy at the drive-thru at Taco Bell? I honestly never thought about it.

    Should I have tipping all these years?! I honestly don't know the protocol on this one. I'm not a cheapskate, but now I feel like one.

    • Sarah N.
      December 20, 2010 at 10:24 am

      I know some retailers do have policies against accepting gratuities. The Publix baggers, for instance, are not allowed to take tips. And most big box retailers probably prohibit that sort of thing.

    • December 20, 2010 at 11:01 am

      While some box retailers do have policies against, many many do not. If it looks to me like a fast food worker is having a really really bad day (and if I have it), I do sometimes offer a dollar or two tip. It really brightens their day.

      Regarding Bridgestone, we are not allowed to have "tip jars" but we *are* allowed to accept tips. I think it's kind of ridiculous that we can't have tip jars… but please know I don't want to make anyone feel like a cheapskate! I'm not talking about tips from someone who buys a $3.50 or $5 soda… I'm talking about those who buy two beers, nachos, five hot dogs, etc. who stand holding their hands out to collect that one quarter in change. Or the groups of three to nine men in business suits who act like jackasses while buying two beers each and then walk away pocketing the $1 to $2 change from a huge order. Seriously? The kidding around and "joking" is okay, but when you're a customer who focuses on aggravating people whose feet are throbbing and backs are aching, then pony up!

      Most of the time we do not expect tips, truly, so when we get one it's a nice surprise. Some groups also share with the cooks who are hourly workers barely making ends meet (my group shares). You know the lives of people in these demanding, low-paying jobs are stressful so just that random act of kindness is nice.

      AND I think if people starting doing that on a regular basis, it would end the recession. !!

      • Sarah N.
        December 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm

        I always, always tip someone who's serving drinks. Maybe that's just because I've done it myself in the past ; )

  4. michaelinLV
    December 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I've often had the tip discussion. I had a friend who once asked the question, "how much should I tip a pilot? He did after all land the plane safely!" (of course the answer – you tip him 20% of the cost of your ticket).

    My typical rule on tipping is that I offer a tip when someone does something that is not their job (when I take the airport shuttle, I will tip the guy for getting my bag out since his main job is to drive the shuttle bus). I also tip in places where someone waits on you (restaurants) or where their job involves touching you (such as haircuts).

    I've never thought to tip the person working drive thru at taco bell. And as far as tipping at stadiums, it's hard enough to justify spending $5 for some popcorn, much less adding a couple more bucks in there!

  5. December 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    So we've come full circle here. It's why Christmas is a time to practice "random" acts of kindness! Where tips are unexpected, you can give a tip… :o)

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