I opened my email this morning to reminders from several different organizations to participate in Giving Tuesday. Given the recent barrage of “buy, buy, buy” messages, I found this somewhat amusing. Did this tradition start to atone for the excess of shopping that transpires from Black Friday through Cyber Monday?
While monetary donations are important, I think the most valuable asset an individual offers is their time.
The benefit is multiplied when the volunteer’s expertise matches the organization’s greatest need.
Case in point: the children’s librarian at the public library is thrilled I’m able to come shelf-read a couple of hours a week. Shelf-reading means going through the stacks, book by book, to make sure the books are in the correct order. It’s a necessary task for library maintenance, but one library staff never seem to have time to do. Hey, shelf-reading was a rarity when I ran my own school library. So, if you were able to find your fairy tale and planet books easily this week – you’re welcome. I’ll be doing animals (the 599’s) next week.
As a quilter and/or sewist, you have so many worthwhile opportunities/ways to donate your time and talents:
(1) Make items (quilts, placemats, pillowcases, medical comfort items, burial dresses, memory bears) requested by organizations you and/or your quilt guild support.**
(2) Attend designated charity sew days. Be prepared to cut, press or sew as needed.
(2) Teach others how to sew – teach a kid, teach a class, host a group, write a blog post.
(3) Mentor during summer youth camps.
(4) Help out with your local guild – one time event, host a bee group or assume a leadership role.
(5) Mending/sewing for local scouting groups, choral groups, dance groups or theatrical productions.
(6) Mend a hem or sew on a button so the 3 year old next door can continue wearing her favorite bunny dress.
**You can use your own fabric stash or fabrics provided by your guild. Yes, donate excess stash to your guild’s community service group. Your contributions will be combined with others and repackaged into coordinated bundles. Members then take these bundles and sew designated items using the fabric bundle. Finished items are returned and distributed to organizations the guild supports. Believe me, if you let it be known that you can sew and are willing to help, but lack supplies – quilters will figure out a way to get you whatever you need. That’s how we roll.
As a recent retiree, charitable giving looks a little different this year. I certainly don’t have the income available that I did when I as still working full-time (nor the employer match). Yet, I realized I have something much more valuable to offer – my time. Be generous and intentional with your volunteer hours, my friends. Both you and your chosen organization will reap the benefits.