Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Joy of Giving

I earn a modest income, that is, on American standards. Yet, I enjoy giving to worthy causes, such as my church, my community, and to random individuals who really need a helping hand.

This morning, I was eating breakfast at a local café, and a woman came over to me spewing the same tired-ass words I hear often from creative panhandlers: pardon me sir, I mean no disrespect; I'm on my way to the welfare office and I just need $2.00 so I can get my kids something to eat

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My joy in giving includes Daniela and her neighbor and playmate Mariana at a play-center in Grocio Prado, Perú.

OK! Since we were already in a restaurant, I suggested that she order something for her, and especially the children who were with her, and I will pay the bill. I was expecting a bill for $10 or $15, which I didn't mind giving to what I thought was a worthy cause. When I actually saw the bill, I was astonished that it was only $4.00; she bought a little sandwich. This woman was not hungry, nor did she want to feed her kids. She was just another creative panhandler.

Javier, of Chincha, Perú works long hours doing odd jobs to eke out a living. He would be eternally grateful to programs here in the U.S., which help the poor help themselves instead of depending on handouts.

My mind immediately went back to my goddaughter Daniela, her family, and her neighbors in Perú whom I send money via Western Union on a monthly basis. Every time I call Western Union and am told that the money I sent has been cashed, I get that familiar joyful feeling. I feel joyful because I'm sending money to people who don't have the resources that this woman I met in the cafe has; nor do they have the opportunities and resources to advance their economic standards like this woman I met in the café does. In most countries in the world, there is no welfare, general assistance, or unemployment. If you don't work, you don't eat (period)!

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My joy of giving includes, clockwise, Daniela, Alma, Mariana, Yomira, Zenaida, Ruth, Javier, of El Carmen and Chincha, Perú.

Giving what I can afford to give to Daniela, her family, and her neighbors is not only a joy, but a worthy cause. I'm thankful to be in a position to give what I can afford to help those who really need the help.

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