Not all charity is equal! As strange as this may seem, there is a “golden ladder” in charity that offers a hierarchy. Moses Maimonides – Jewish rabbi, scholar, philosopher and physician – set out a code of charity which provides eight levels of giving that offers a guide for the significance of a charitable gift or act.
From the lowest to the highest the steps are as follows…
8 Giving unwillingly
7 Giving willingly but inadequately
6 Giving adequately but only after being asked
5 Giving before being asked
4 Giving to an unknown recipient
3 Giving anonymously to a known recipient
2 Giving anonymously to an unknown recipient
1 And the highest form of charity is to assist your fellow man to earn his/her own living and not to be reliant on charitable donations
I am not implying for a second that if you can’t reach the highest rungs that should stop you at all! There are so many people with so many opinions about those who post their charitable deeds on social media. Personally, I say “GO FOR IT!”
I would much rather have thousands of people doing charitable deeds and posting them, then not doing them at all – and besides, your images and ideas may just inspire others to do the same.
As Mandela Day approaches and so many people are looking to make a difference, I thought I’d compile a list of 67 simple but meaningful things you can do with your time, which will certainly have an impact on other people’s lives. Find something that has meaning to you and your family, involve your children and help instil in them a sense of charity and duty to their fellow man.
I’d like to kick off with one of the most special projects I have stumbled upon: “Rare Bear Project”.
From their website:
“The #RareBearProject is all about supporting our community. From providing support to our Rare families, to creating jobs and income generating opportunities to the woman of Kya Sands. 100% of our income goes straight back into this project. For every bear sold for R150, R100 is paid to the creator of the bear and R50 is placed into improving the marketing platform and distribution of the overall project to ensure sustainability. The #RareBearProject is a joint initiative between Rare Diseases South Africa NPC and Kya Kids.”
And the other 66 are…
2. Volunteer at or adopt a pet from an animal shelter.
3. As an office, make sandwiches to give to people living on the street – and why not sit and have lunch with them while you’re at it?
4. Babysit for a single parent.
5. Bake cookies and take them to a police station for the police officers.
6. Become an organ donor.
7. Blankets! Who doesn’t need a blanket in this weather? New or even slightly used, they will be appreciated by those in need.
8. Blog about a non-profit organisation that needs support. (I just did!)
9. Buy a bunch of pillows and drive around handing them out to the homeless.
10. Clean out your cupboard and donate the clothes you no longer wear to someone who needs them.
11. Clean up a city park.
12. Coach a sports team.
“As Mandela Day approaches and so many people are looking to make a difference, I thought I’d compile a list of 67 simple but meaningful things you can do with your time, which will certainly have an impact on other people’s lives.”
13. Collect and distribute children’s books to under-resourced schools.
14. Create a carpool schedule with your colleagues to cut down on carbon emissions.
15. Do a neighbourhood clean-up armed with plastic gloves and black bags.
16. Donate books to your local library.
17. Donate magazines and books to an under-resourced home for the elderly.
18. Donate some medical supplies to a local community clinic.
19. Donate your old computer to an under-resourced school.
20. Find out more about the nine-week course to become a Lifeline/Childline counsellor.
21. Find your nearest fixed donor site and give blood.
22. Go for a walk with a senior citizen in your community.
23. Go on a social media fast for the day and make an effort to get to know people who you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to.
24. Go through your house and donate some of your good-quality items to a charity shop.
25. Help build a home with Habitat for Humanity‘s International Mandela Day Build Week.
26. Hold a mini-Olympics at an under-resourced school.
27. Hold a teddy bear or book drive for a children’s home.
28. Host a dinner where the meal budget is R5 per person as a way of identifying with the millions who live below the poverty line.
29. Host a movie night for friends.
30. If you’re a professional, do some pro bono work for a worthwhile cause or person.
31. Invite a carer to go on a relaxing outing to the beach or to a park for a picnic.
32. Knit a blanket for someone in need.
33. Learn first aid.
34. Make ‘care kits’ (including a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, face cloth, etc.) for patients at a nearby government hospital.
35. Write a letter to a newspaper editor about an issue you care about.
36. Make stationery packs (pens, stickers, coloured paper, scissors, etc.) for teachers at an under-resourced school.
37. Mow the garden or clean the windows for a senior citizen.
38. Offer to attend a high school class to talk to students about your career.
39. Offer to fix things at a local school or organisation (paint, broken windows, etc.).
40. Offer to mow the lawn and fix up the garden at a nursing home or hospice.
41. Offer to read stories to children at a children’s home.
42. Offer your skills (finance, marketing, customer service, etc.) to help an organisation run more efficiently.
43. Organise a fun outing for children in an HIV/Aids programme.
44. Organise a prayer meeting with family and friends to pray for our country or someone in need.
45. Organise a tea party for caregivers.
46. Park your car and share lunch with a Big Issue.
47. Pick up groceries or medicine for an elderly person.
48. Plant a garden or tree where the whole neighbourhood can enjoy it.
49. Remove graffiti.
50. Research an issue you’d like to find out more about and then share your findings with friends on social media.
51. Set up a recycling system for your home.
52. Sign up for MySchool and donate to your favourite organisations every time you purchase something at Woolworths.
53.Sponsor a group of learners to go to the zoo.
54. Take public transport for the day.
55. Take someone’s dog for a walk if they are too frail to do so themselves.
56. Teach someone how to use a computer and the Internet.
57. Throw a party for the residents of an old-age home.
58. Throw a tea party for the children and carers at a children’s home.
59. Tutor pupils from under-resourced schools.
60. Tutor someone who needs help learning your mother tongue.
61. Visit a reading club at a nearby school, church or library.
62. Volunteer your time at a Haven Night Shelter.
63. Walk instead of taking your car – and have conversations with some of the people you meet on your way.
64. If you’re breastfeeding, contact your nearest breast milk donor bank and donate some of your milk for a baby in need.
65. Phone your parents (or your family and friends) just to tell them how much you love them.
66. Make every day a Mandela Day!
Mike Said is a marketer, public speaker, committed dad and part-time adrenaline junky, who dedicates his blog to his only daughter, Sasha. When she came into his life 15 years ago, he was going to teach her right from wrong and how to be a good person. He was going to teach her to live her life to the full, to see the fun in all she does, to suck the marrow from the bones of life and to never waste a single second. Little did he realise she would be the one to teach him all these things and more. You can find him at www.daddyblogger.co.za or www.mikesaidwhat.co.za