Do Some Good: Giving to Charity
One of the easiest ways to get involved with charities is to donate money. You might decide you want to take a regular percentage of your allowance or earnings and donate it to the charity or charities of your choice. You might also decide to do some work just to earn money for charity. You could take a week and donate everything you earn walking dogs in your neighborhood to the SPCA (a charity that helps finds homes for pets). You could go through your neighborhood and ask people to give you their recyclable soda bottles and you could use the money from returning them to donate to the charity.
Another great way to regularly give money to charity is to put all your change in a jar and donate all of it to your favorite charity once a year. Or once in a while you can empty out your piggy bank and decide to donate the money to charity. If you're going to donate cash, be sure to talk to your parents. They can help you make sure you know where and how to give your donation. You may need your parents to write a check, or you may need to be driven to a drop-off location.
There are likely to be lots of times when charities will ask you or your family for money. At Christmas, you will see Salvation Army workers ringing bells and asking for donations. At the grocery store, when your parents check out, the cashier may sometimes ask them if they want to donate $1 to a certain cause the store is helping to promote. You can also help charities by buying things from them. Your local hospital might sell Christmas cards and use the profits to help treat patients. A local charity organization might sell tulip bulbs to raise money.
Seeing Your Dollars at Work
Sometimes it can be hard to donate your hard-earned money and never really know where it has gone or how it has been used. There are some charities that help you see the good you've done. The Christian Children's Fund (www.christianchildrensfund.org) allows you to help one specific child in another country. You get updates and photos and can send letters to that child. Another great way to feel involved in your giving is to adopt an animal. You can 'adopt' a wild animal through a variety of different charities (check out www.wildlifeadoption.org as examples). You make a donation and get a photo of your animal, as well as a certificate and sometimes even updates about your animal or its species. Some adoptions even offer a stuffed animal of your species to cuddle.
While cash is a great kind of donation, there are lots of other donations you can make that can help people. Many charities accept donations of used clothing, toys, games, books, and other household items. They might distribute these items to people in need or sell them and use the money raised for the charity.
Sometimes you can donate things you don't need or want and make a big difference in someone's life. The Lion's Club is a charity that accepts donations of used eyeglasses, which they refurbish and give to those in need. If you wear glasses and get a new pair, you have no need for the old pair and the Lion's Club makes sure they help someone else see.
You can also donate new items to charities. Your local food bank always needs donations of nonperishable food, such as canned or dry goods. There are organizations that collect school supplies, personal hygiene items (toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and so on), and more to give to hospital patients, needy schools, and soldiers.
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