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.