Back in 2012, I promised myself I would give more to charity. I am not a wealthy woman, no matter how many people delude themselves into thinking that just because I live in Europe I am rolling in big bucks. If I were, I wouldn’t have to work or deal with the daily stress that can entail. I could devote myself to writing full-time. But even though I am independently wealthy, I always make sure I donate money to at least one charity. Last year, I donated money to Stockholms Stadsmission as part of an initiative on my blog. For that donation drive, I pledged I would donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the sale of my short story “Linger” to charity, and I kept my promise. I didn’t sell enough copies to make the minimum donation I wanted to give, so I made up the difference myself.
This year, I decided I would just give money myself without involving others. I decided I would give money to four charities as long as I could afford it. This year, I have donated money to Stockholm Stadsmission, Covenant House, No Kid Hungry and Rädda Barnen (the Swedish arm of Save the Children). I made sure to donate an amount that I could live with, since Christmas is also the time for paying many bills.
But even if I can’t donate sums as high as Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffett, I can, in my own small way, feel like I am doing something to help make the world a better place. And I think that is something all of us can do. If you cannot afford to give money to charity, you can always give in other ways. Donate clothing (that is still in good condition) to shelters for at risk women and children, donate your time and skills, volunteer at a soup kitchen, volunteer as a literacy advocate, volunteer at your children’s school. We writers and bookworms can donate books to schools and libraries. We can volunteer at a library or local school with story hour for youngsters. We can collect toys for Toys for Tots. There is always something we can do–we just need to figure out what we are capable of doing and capable of giving.
Merry Christmas, everyone!