Gratitude and Giving

Every year around this time, Federal employees are encouraged to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the “only authorized solicitation of Federal employees in their workplaces on behalf of approved charitable organizations” (their words, not mine). This year, I decided to participate, since my money would probably be better served going to charities than it would in my hands. I tend to gorge myself on frivolous expenses such as a MacBook, for example. 

In any case, in this year’s “Catalog of Caring” are listed literally thousands of organizations to which Feds can allocate a percentage of their checks every pay period. I was “shopping” for charities and reading up on the various organizations yesterday, and—I kid you not—started tearing up. Who knew I was such an emotional guy? There were lots and lots of charitable organizations out there whose work deeply affected me for some reason or another. 

(In case anyone’s curious, I generally gravitated towards kids’ charities, especially those that provide support to children needing adoption. And of course, I wouldn’t be a good son if I didn’t support my mom’s organization, Plan International, whose focus is on helping kids in developing countries. I also looked at a couple of groups that provide support for disadvantaged youth to get themselves to college. Finally, despite the fact that I’m a bleeding heart liberal, because I’m a steadfast supporter of our troops, I looked at a few organizations that are helping families and kids of servicemen and women wounded or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.) 

I don’t want to sound hyper-righteous (because as God and some of you know, I’m *so* not righteous it’s not even funny), but I firmly believe in what JC said: that to whom much is given, much is required. Yes, there’s so much need in the world. But it’s all the more reason for those of us who have been tremendously blessed to give back. 

Conceivably, I could complain about my student loans, or the price of a venti soy white mocha at a Starbucks in the District versus Northern Virginia, or the fact that I couldn’t really afford the MacBook Pro so I got the lower model instead.

But logically, I just can’t. I’ve been blessed beyond belief. I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, and a steady paycheck to get Taco Bell with. I’m in good health, have a stable family structure, and friends who challenge and support me. I grew up relatively unscathed and will have the opportunity to be part of the 1% of the American population with a doctorate degree. 

There are way too many blessings to count. If that’s not enough incentive to give back, then I don’t know what is. 

My suggestion: Check your workplace/school/local community hangout for opportunities to give. Especially this time of the year, there are tons of projects to get involved in. For the price of a venti soy white mocha, you could probably make a difference in someone’s life this season.

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