On Helping Those In Need

On Helping Those In Need


Life is hard.  As children, we have these expectations of what our lives will be like. We're told that if we do the right thing-- "Go to college." "Work hard."-- everything will just fall into place. As adults we know that's not always the case. At least some of us do.

These past few years have opened my eyes to the suffering taking place in our country. When I was a child, I truly believed that all people who needed government assistance were there because they were lazy, unproductive members of society. They had given up and just expected us to carry their burden. And maybe some of them are. But maybe they aren't.

Maybe they're just like you and me. Maybe they've worked hard their entire lives, but were just victims of circumstances that were beyond their control. Maybe they were once CEO's or Account Managers. Maybe they're recent college graduates who have an overwhelming debt hanging over their heads, but can only get jobs at places that pay minimum wage and offer no benefits. Maybe they're you're neighbors. Maybe they're your friends. Maybe they're children.

Yes, these past few years have been hard on most of us, but I still can't bring myself to turn my nose up at those in need of help. I know plenty of people take advantage of the kindness of others, but I also know many do not. Many have no. other. choice.

So when I hear people talking about entitlements, and rallying around cutting government assistance programs, I get angry. Imagine for a moment how helpless you would feel tucking your child into bed, knowing  they haven't eaten in days. It's pretty terrible isn't it? Well, that happens here all the time. Here in the most powerful country in the world. People are suffering. Children are suffering.

For months leading up to my absence from the blogosphere, I began to notice some unfortunate behavior that greatly saddened me. When I would host a giveaway, hordes of new followers claiming to love my blog instantly appeared. I suppose free stuff is a great motivator. But then, there were the times that I would try to use my blog as an outlet for something good, like raising funds for Hurricane Sandy victims or collecting toys for children. Suddenly, you could hear a pin drop on my blog.  Meanwhile, my new found "bloggy friends" continued to post about their brand new Coach purses, or their latest "vacay" to Hawaii.

The lowest point was reading tweets from a blogger who was disgusted by the stench of the homeless man who had the audacity to ask her for food. That's when I decided I'd had enough. I needed a break from the superficiality. And so I took a break.

And while I was gone, I took that time to find my roots again. I spent time at a local food bank helping to distribute food to families that were in need of a little help. I volunteered at a few local nonprofits. It felt good to surround myself with other people who truly wanted to help others.



Sometimes when you're doing well, it's easy to forget that others aren't quite as lucky. Or maybe you truly believe that the ones that are doing poorly are completely at fault. In my short 26 years on this earth, I have come to realize that sometimes situations are beyond your control. You can be a motivated, hard-working, and driven individual, and yet you can still fall on hard times.

So I ask you to consider this the next time a homeless person comes to you in need. Because maybe you'll one day find yourself in an unfortunate situation, just as these people have. I can only hope that should this happen, the kindness you have paid to others is returned to you.

What are your thoughts on getting more involved in volunteering? Where is your favorite place to volunteer?


8 comments :

  1. Of course there will always be unscrupulous individuals who abuse the system--but there are plenty who are really, really struggling just to make it. I have close family members who are really struggling to get by. Thankfully, they have family who will step up to help them where they need it, which I think is easier than having to rely on the government. It's hard to know exactly what all we can do--so my best strategy is just using our skills and whatever we have as best we can to bless others. Angel can fix their cars, I can watch their babies and cook meals and cut and style hair. I'm known for dressing up and I've been the same size for 10 years, so I have a good collection of dresses that my younger cousins used for all of their high school dances. There's endless ways to be a blessing to others and I hope that I don't waste the opportunities I have to bless the people in my life.

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    1. I love that you use your skills to help. Daycare is horrendously expensive. To someone who is truly in need, the simple fact that you are willing to take a few moments out of your day to babysit is a beautiful thing. In some ways, I think that's better than outright handing someone money. Money can be impersonal, but to sit down and truly think about what you can do, and then to spend your time helping, that shows that you truly care. Kudos to you :)

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  2. I love this post! I have had the same feelings. One of my main purposes for my blog was wanting to share ways to help others and causes that needed attention. I had similar experiences where those post didn't get the same attention as some silly superficial post. Like you it made me upset. My heart is usually more towards helping children. I recently started volunteering for an Organization that helps children in foster care.

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    1. That is awesome Megan! My biggest goal in life is to mentor a young person. When I think about all the encouragement I've had in my life to achieve my goals, I think about the young children that may not have necessarily had that, so it makes me determined to be the one to provide it for them. I think helping children is one of the best things you do, because you are literally giving them a fighting chance at life. Just think about the potential impact you can have on them? You should really be proud of yourself!

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  3. I couldn't agree more with this post. As long as the free goods are flowing and the laughs are coming, everyone wants to join the party. Turn that around and ask for a $1 to help cancer or homelessness and they scatter like flies. I talk all the time about my dream of adding a nonprofit aspect to YUMMommy.

    I grew up in a single family home and I know what it's like to be on both ends of the spectrum. I'll never forget the nights my mom went hungry or the times we stood line at our local food bank. None of us should have room to assume that we are so far removed from that lifestyle because our world is unpredictable. You can be top today only to have it all taken away tomorrow.

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    1. Unfortunately that's how it works around these parts. And it can be so upsetting to watch. But I'm happy that you are going to try to use your platform for something positive. Just imagine if everyone did something like that. Even for just one day.

      It's amazing how so far removed people can be from another persons suffering. There's a lot of people that believe that people in the military have it made. My family didn't exactly have money. While my dad was proudly serving his country, we were living below the poverty line. There were nights when we had to sleep in the same room because their was no heat, and Thanksgivings that we went to the food drive for. My parents had it worse. And they overcame it in a big way. But they probably wouldn't have done it without some kindness along the way. That is the biggest problem I have with everything that is going on. To hear my friends so callously talk about entitlements steams me up because I think "well gee, I suppose I'm part of that entitled crowed your talking about" and yet they got new cars and free rides to college. It seems to me that the people who have never had a moment's struggle are the "entitled ones." but I digress. The point is, if half the people who spewed that nonsense about entitlements actually made it a point to help others, the world would be a much more beautiful place.

      Thank you for sharing your story! Sometimes it takes one who has been there before to step up and be the first to help others.

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  4. I honestly haven't been active for a while but I always donate and participate in the AIDS WALK/RUN in honor of my parents. We donate a lot of our items as well. I would love to get in a shelter for Thanksgiving this year.

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    1. I love that you're wanting to get more involved! I've found that meetup.com is a wonderful place to link up with like-minded people. We have a few volunteer groups in my area that I found on meetup. It is a great resource to find people who want to get involved in giving back to the community. Bonus: I also found a few blogger groups through meetup as well. It's always nice to have blogger buddies nearby so you can meet up and talk bloggy with each other. Maybe you and some local bloggers could get together and volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter for Thanksgiving? That could be a good bonding experience!

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