Friday, January 11, 2013

Charities, Generosity and $7.03

What's so special about $7.03? Today, that amount symbolizes the generosity of strangers. For me, it's a little reminder that God takes care of us. It left me with a feeling that this was all part of God's plan. But then, I have been saying that a lot lately.

I'll start by explaining the "God's plan" part. I think it was a couple of years ago but one night I had $20 in my pocket leaving Target. I double checked it was there and was 100% certain I put it back. I couldn't find it anywhere and neither could Josh. Finally I said "someone needed that $20 more then us. I hope who found it could use that money for necessities for their family." It was like that money magically disappeared so I assumed it was God's doing. A neighbor said the same thing happened to her with $200 once.

Zach had his follow up appointment with his Pulmonologist (Respiratory Specialist) today. He works out of a hospital and in spite of reminding myself to grab $4 cash in case we needed to pay for valet parking while I was getting dressed, I forgot it. We were too far from home to go back by the time I made that revelation. A woman overheard my asking the Receptionists this odd request "Can I borrow the money for the valet parking but you add it to my bill so it definitely gets paid back?" They don't keep cash so we were going to talk to the lady at the valet desk. The posted rule is if the lot is full valet parking is supposed to be free but it was only full for a little bit. A mother of the girl (about 5) who Zach was playing nicely with gave me $7 to help. I thanked her so much for her generosity several times. I didn't see how much she gave me until it was too late to return the extra $3. She said that it wasn't a big deal for her and wanted to help. That doesn't happen often so I found myself in awe and full of gratitude.

But that wasn't all in store for us today. Tonight at Target we decided to pay in exact change for something. I have started to slowly collect the DVDs for How I Met Your Mother and they had one in stock in the back. Because I was so patient about a long wait as they looked for it the Customer Service Representative gave me the online price. $19.99 became $17.99 which was $18.18 with tax. I had $20 made of two 5 dollar bills and one 10 dollar bill but also had a few singles. Josh ran to the car to look for the three cents but couldn't find it. I asked the Customer Service Rep if he wanted to do it as an exchange because he already rang it up as exact change and the woman in front of me, who had seen me waiting, offered the three cents. We thanked her a lot too. She said "It's three cents what am I going to buy with that? It's no big deal".

This was a nice treat especially since we hit a traffic jam on the way home from the hospital this morning and on the way to Applebees for dinner (where we went before the nearby Target. The money used was change from dinner).

I always try to do things like that and show Zach that example. We can't donate a lot but if a store has a $1 donate option and I have the dollar, I do it for charities I'm familiar with. My favorite charity is St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Donation link for St. Jude's Children's Hospital if you are interested:
https://shop.stjude.org/GiftCatalog/donation.do?cID=14222&pID=23750

I wish we could donate more but we still need financial help. We did get some good news with Josh's paycheck this week. Even though the payroll tax holiday expired he got a small raise as he does every year. His current take-home pay is about $10 more each week then before. This is also the first time in years when our budget for expenses still has enough price-increase wiggle room where we didn't need to raise our budget. That meant I was able to raise rent by $5. Much like the $7.03, it's not a large amount but it will make a difference.

My parents are very generous people. As I type this they are at a fundraiser event for a charity my Mom used to be on the board of but still volunteers with. It's a diverse local charity that helps a wide variety of needs, mostly for the poor. I remember about nine years ago there was a fire at the house they had for teen moms. I donated a lot of cloths. We were engaged and planning the wedding. At 23 I didn't see myself wearing them so I tore through my wardrobe with abandon with the goal to give as many things as possible. I forget how many of the full bags we delivered were just mine but I know it was a lot. Below are some links to other big name charities. I hope today's story of little generosities inspires others to share at least a little something if they can afford it.

American Red Cross
https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&scode=RSG00000E017&itemId=prod10001&subcode=paiddonations&gclid=CJDE-tzT4bQCFQ-f4Aod3lMAcQ

Unicef
https://secure.unicefusa.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=inspired_gifts_homepage

American Heart Association
https://donate.americanheart.org/ecommerce/aha/aha_index.jsp?campaignId=null

American Cancer Society
https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate/donateonlinenow/index?gclid=COOaua3T4bQCFUKd4AodwDQA9A

American Diabetic Association
https://donations.diabetes.org/site/Donation2?df_id=10420&10420.donation=landing&s_src=redcpcgdiabetesdonation&s_subsrc=diabetesdonations10420&cr=givetothe&gclid=CPXBlO_94bQCFcef4AodFksAeg

National MS Society (Multiple Sclerosis)
https://secure3.convio.net/nmss/site/Donation2?df_id=41828&41828.donation=form1&JServSessionIdr004=3ap3etttr3.app323a

Autism Society
https://www.2dialog.com/autism/main.php/micro_sites/showpage/id/1/page_number/1

Feeding America
https://secure.feedingamerica.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=giveonline&s_src=WXXOHOME&s_subsrc=Feeding%2520America

The Nature Conservatory
https://support.nature.org/site/Donation2?df_id=4200&4200.donation=form1&src=CPC.sgoogle.CE2.AG164.CC25.CL2.MT4.KW1338&gclid=CMrihqeL47QCFcqY4AodXykALA

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