Why we should give back to those in need.
It is amazing when people plan to get involved in philanthropy. As citizens, we should give back to those in need with our time and with compassion. As a child, whenever someone uttered the phrase give back to the community, I’d often ask myself, “Why should I give back to someone or something that has never given anything to me? Another question that would come to mind was How can I give back when nothing has ever been given? Some of you who will read this post may share the same feelings. If so, then it is OK. It’s good to ask questions and analyze things. However, for those who are Anti-philanthropy, after having read this editorial, perhaps you’ll change your mind.
Our dharma as citizens of this world
In response to the questions concerning giving back, I have the perfect answer: we give back, even to those who have not given anything to us, because it is our Dharma. Simply put, it is our social responsibility as citizens to help uplift those who cannot stand on their own. Please know that this doesn’t mean permanently taking care of other people. When we give back to those in need, our efforts should be the helping hand that is to serve as a spare tire to help the impoverished get from point A to point B during an interim moment of deflation.
The different faces of poverty
We must realize there are different reasons as to why some are in poverty.
Among the various different kinds of destitution, the four that immediately come to my mind are:
- Innocent children
- The Hard Worker
- The Elderly
- The Mistake Maker
Lest we forget, remember that none of us ever asked to come into this world; however, some are innocent children who were born into unfortunate circumstances. Next up is the hard worker. This is someone who has always played by the rules. Someone who is honest and well liked, but due to an unforeseen calamity (such as a layoff), this person fell into the pit of economic hardship. Our elderly population is sometimes forgotten and overlooked. These are men and women who are in the last stages of life and consequently they’re not able to take care of themselves. Some have been abandoned by family, are on dire-fixed incomes or BOTH. Lastly and voted least, we have the mistake maker. This is someone who has reached his/her own respective pinnacle of success, but due to self-inflicted wounds, i.e. mistakes, they were knocked down to rock bottom conditions.
These illustrations of tough times are painful reminders of life’s downs and low points. When in the trenches of poverty and despair, CHILDREN, men, and women suffer immensely. And though some are responsible for their own pitfalls, such as the mistake maker, we are all members of the flawed human race. Each of us is imperfect and thus we’re bound to make mistakes. Period.
What YOU can do to give back
I’ve covered the probability of being born into dire conditions, the hardships endured by honest people, the precious-overlooked elderly population and the consequences of self-destructive behavior. In knowing about these heartbreaking tragedies, what can WE DO as people to help? Food drives, soup kitchens, donations are just some of the many ways that we can contribute.
As of January of this year, I have been a volunteer for the Houston Food Bank, a non-profit organization that happens to be the largest food bank in the country. HFB, with the help of its staff, volunteers and partnering agencies, has been able to distribute 79,000,000 healthy meals, feeding 800,000 people per year. The Houston Food Bank has a plethora of programs to feed and assist men women and children.
This past Saturday morning, I worked with other volunteers on our Senior Box Program project. This is an initiative aimed to serve low-income elderly people in the Greater Houston Area, and after 4 hours of hard work, our team was able to assemble 3,600 boxes of food.
This means that 3,600 elderly people will receive a box of healthy food that with enough contents to last a little over a week. For many senior citizens, this program is their livelihood and without it, I don’t know how they’d survive. Ladies and gentleman, this is one of the many ways that you can fulfill your duty to help someone in need. Giving back isn’t solely restricted to opening your wallet or donating clothes to The Salvation. You can give back to those in need with your most valuable asset: Your Time.
One tiny little reminder…
Again, some of you may be thinking that someone else’s problem is not your own. But remember, it is our responsibility as capable citizens to help those in need. Regardless of one’s pedigree, socioeconomic status, or education level, no one is immune to failure. Despair & economic turmoil aren’t biased and can take down the best of us.
I do not wish hardship on anyone (not even my worst enemies) but at any given moment in life, one of you could be on top today and at the bottom tomorrow. May this never ever happen to you, or anyone you know, but if you ever find yourself in a tough spot, I’m sure you’d want and need a little help. Every day an innocent child is born into a broken situation, an honest hard worker may get blindsided by a swift & unpredictable catastrophe, an elderly person might have to choose between food or medicine, or the unpopular mistake maker may descend from grace.
These scenarios are scary and ought not to be overlooked by society. Yes, our world is driven by money and profits. I like both for many reasons as they’re essential resources for anyone or anything to exist and thrive. However, our world is also driven by the warm-hearted good deeds of others. Our world is driven by helping our fellow man in need. All unconditional philanthropic efforts are what truly makes this world go ’round. Get involved. Lend a hand. Help someone in need.
Keep on shining,