Monday, December 22, 2008

B. Virdot

This piece in today's NY Times made me cry.

When people all around you are struggling, and when you may be struggling to make ends meet, charity is something that often falls by the wayside.

I am not rich. Being a literary agent doesn't make a lot of money. In the interest of full disclosure, my husband makes a decent salary, so we are able to keep our house, which I am thankful for every day, and pay our bills. We try not to spend a lot. We try to save for the babies that we hope to have down the road. We try to help others, people who don't have as much money.

We are not always successful. Charity is a hard, hard thing for some people to accept, even when they are in the direst of straits. Many people can't swallow their pride, and ask for help, even if they need it badly. Other people don't know how to say the right words or go to the right places, to ask for help.

I would like to think that I would be able to swallow my pride, if my family was starving, and I couldn't pay my bills or put clothes on the back of my (future) children, or buy food for Zoe to eat. I don't know if I could.

So if you can spare a dollar or two dollars or ten dollars, please try to give something this year. I've sent off two bags of clothes to a local charity by me, Family Resources. I've given a small amount of money to help Vera Nazarian, although I wish that I had been able to give more. I paid $9 the other day at Borders, to donate a teddy bear to a child for Christmas, through my local child advocacy group. My husband and I played at Funde Razor in NYC, to raise money for Child's Play. And I'm going to go through the requests at Modest Needs today, and try to give a few dollars more.

I don't list these things, because I feel that I should be applauded. I don't feel that I'm doing anything spectacular; I am not a better person than you are, because I have given something to charity. I list them because it holds me accountable to myself, to try to live up to this next year and the year after and every year I can. I will give because I can, and because it makes me human.


ryan field said...

A group of us decided this year we're not exchanging gifts like we normally would. Instead, we're making donations to charity.

Jarucia said...

"I list them because it holds me accountable to myself, to try to live up to this next year and the year after and every year I can."

This is very insightful of you...honestly. A lot of people don't ever take the time to understand why they do or don't charitable work of any kind. It's so true, that work nourishes the very essence of what makes us human, no matter how large or small the contribution.

Before turning to writing, I had a full time career in the non-profit sector and on many occasions I saw the thrill a person got who could only give $10 or 1 hour of time. It's a strange, wonderful and contagious thing...if people only knew that once they start they'll never get it out of their system. And, seriously, why would any one want to?

Happy Holidays and keep sharing the gift of giving of yourself.

Suzanne said...

Giving to charity or simply giving to others in needs in an informal way, simply makes us more human. It is difficult in these times when we have to cut back on our giving because we aren't making as much, yet realize that this is just the time that our giving is needed the most.

Have you ever wondered... said...

Great, great article. I had never heard about that. It's cool to see what impact a little kindness can have.

Amie Stuart said...

I have to say, this year more than any other (partly because I'm lucky enough to have a roof, heat, food, healthy children, healthy self etc) I feel the need to give.

Our local big charity said this year that donations were down and the number of needy were up.

That said, one of the nicest stories I heard was a local big law firm who, instead of doing their annual holiday party, threw a party for 150 kids (via the Salvation Army).

Renee said...

Jenny, you, just brought tears to my eyes.