Walt Whitman once said “the habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.” I have come to find that this is very true. I have also found that you do not have to just give money.
You can use your belongings, your family, your friends, your talents and your computer to help change the world. For real.
In her book, “How to be an Everyday Philanthropist,” Nicole Boles gives the reader an awesome framework of suggestions, and I am sharing a couple this week.
Using your talents and your time is something that we, as students, should take to heart.
There are tons of students who used to play instruments in high school or have a jam band here on campus. How easy is it to do a show and take donations for a cause?
I know a handful of people who have learned to knit from their grandmas. If you taught a circle of your pals to do basic knitting, you could knit helmet liners for U.S. Marines.
Or you can be ambitious with your group and make a blanket for Project Linus (projectlinus.org), which gives blankets to children who have been ill or have experienced trauma.
There are also opportunities locally, such as Columbus Reads. Ohio State is a partner in this group and you can spend an hour per week reading to kids, helping them with their language skills. All of us can do the work of a 7-year-old.
Maybe you are a hunter? You can donate what you hunt (h4hungry.org) to soup kitchens. Everyone who knows me knows my policy: meat not sweet.
To use your belongings means to give up your stuff. In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau of Statistics reported that 37 million Americans live below the poverty line. That is 12.5 percent of citizens who do not have enough clothes, food and cannot provide the luxuries of gifts and books to their families.
Dress for Success donates your gently worn women’s clothes to help them interview and get a job. You could give all your old pairs of glasses to OneSight (onesight.org) and help people all over the world see better.
Books for Africa and Reader to Reader are ways to give your books abroad and to local libraries and schools that need books.
Inveneo is a great way to dispose of flash drives of 16 MB or more.
And those of you ready to get rid of your bikes at the end of the year can donate to Bikes of the World and send that transportation somewhere around the world to help a local community.
Giving is so easy. Sometimes it just takes some thought.
Of course, there are millions of things you can recycle and lots of websites to help you with that. Being at college, we should also be learning about ways to help engage the world and give in new innovative ways.
On April 15, there will be a free conference that you can sign up for called Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship. This means that the “bringing together of scholars, students, policymakers, and practitioners,” can provide a space for community to collaborate about poverty.
We can all do something to battle poverty, hunger and injustice. Buy some TOMS Shoes or participate in UNICEF OSU chapter’s water walk April 14. One dollar can give a 40-day supply of water to a child. In a time when a lack of water kills more children than war, there is no time to hesitate on the importance for us all to become philanthropists.