In my heart of heart, I think I am really meant to be a philanthropist. The thing is, I am almost positive that I have no foundation loaded with money that I can give away. Because while I could work for a non-profit and all, I really want to be in charge of giving stuff away! I really like to do that. Ask The Wife about Christmas. I get nearly giddy with the thought of giving my loved ones gifts.
I also see the need out there for a great many things. There are as many good organizations doing wonderful things for those in need than there are sand grains on a beach.
So last night, I started kicking around the idea of starting a new hobby. Being a philanthropist as best I can. Not by giving money, as we have not much to spare as it is. But by finding solutions to needs.
For example, the need for blankets out in South Dakota on the Lakota reservations. I can buy a blanket or two and ship them out. But I want to do much more. Last night at work was incredibly slow, so I took some time to send about a dozen e-mails to companies that make or sell blankets, asking them for donations and for help. I've heard from no one yet. But thought that perhaps if they heard from more than just one person, they might be convinced to spare a few blankets.
That's when the idea for a new sort of philanthropy started developing. What if I could get a few friends and family to send these folks a simple e-mail or make a phone call? What if they told their friends? And so on and so forth. I'm sure the idea is not new. But I'm going to call it Average Folks Philanthropy, or AFP. Us average wage earners can't afford to ship a thousand blankets to those in need. But we can buy one or two to send, and anyone reading this can afford to send a free e-mail off to a blanket maker or seller urging them to donate something.
It just seems in a nation of plenty like we live in, we should all pull together and help each other out. Especially in tough times like these. Biblically speaking, the phrase "to whom much is given, much is expected" comes to mind. And if you aren't a bible type person, just take a look around while you're sitting down to dinner tonight. Got enough food on your plate? Sitting in a home out of the weather? Dressed in appropriate clothing for the season? Even if you think you are struggling to get by, I'll bet there are blankets on your bed and a few extra someplace else in your house.
So what is stopping us from giving away the things we don't really use that much anyway? I believe it is our "traditional American value" of hoarding as much as we can to stay ahead of the Joneses. The wife and I are fed up with it. I think there might be a bunch of people out there who are tired of the rat race as well. How about we start a "new" tradition? If you have more 'things' than you need, give the surplus away.
Now I'm not saying we should go socialist with our government. I think the government has very little business in 'spreading the wealth around', as they always seem to be the middle man and get the lion's share of that wealth. Let's just spread the 'stuff' around ourselves. Keep our paychecks and give away our extra stuff! So those with no shoes can have one of my three pair. So those with no food can have some from my crock pot. So those shivering in the cold can have one of the blankets I have folded up sitting in the closet.
I'm tired tonight. (five hours of sleep in the last 48 thanks to the chatty gals across from our sleep room) So I am naturally verbose. But the idea I think, is a sound one. It should be able to work. I know I've asked for your response to things before. But this time I'm serious. Please drop me a line with any suggestions on how to make it work.
Maybe a foundation that takes corporate donations that gives money for postage to people looking to send things to those in need.
I don't know. It would just be fun to help. So if you don't e-mail me, then Google "blankets" and send off a couple queries to the makers and sellers asking them to donate a few.
Change is in the air in our country, but it's going to take efforts from most everyone to ensure that the change is for the better.