Giving a Helping Hand

Jessica - King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 25, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

As the economy is taking a turn for the worst with job losses, financial instability and people –everyone, even the people that live prominently—cutting back on things they took for granted before, I believe in giving a helping hand to those in need. No, it didn’t take the recession for me to believe in this, I’ve always believed in giving and did so in every way possible by doing small things for people. However, during Christmas 2003, the year I was in 8th grade, I started the tradition of donating clothes, toys, books, and money to local charities.

I was fortunate enough never to have experienced poverty or tough times, but I was always grateful for what I was lucky enough to have. My family always taught the value of donating possessions I (or they) grew out of or weren’t using any more, but were still in good condition, to charitable organizations a few times a year. However, in 8th grade I wanted to do something more. It always made me sad to see the school run all these drives around the holidays for the less fortunate and people wouldn’t donate because it’s their “fault they have fallen on hard times” or they are just “too lazy to get a job and we shouldn’t help.” First off, it is no ones fault that they have fallen on hard times and it is usually not because they are “lazy,” not everyone is lucky to find a great job as a lot of other people or “great” jobs that provide enough support is not available. Secondly, no one has the right to express an opinion of people they have never met especially since they don’t know all the circumstances.

That weekend in the beginning of December, I took the money I saved up from babysitting jobs, went to Walmart and bought three bags worth of goods ranging from toys for children, books for teenagers and adults, and other various items. I also gathered another bag of lightly used items I didn’t need anymore and thought would better serve someone else. That Monday I walked in with four bags and gently put them into the bin—I was the only person in my homeroom to have donated; which did make me sad, but at the same time I felt proud. I felt proud because I thought of people other than myself; people who will now have the chance to experience a nice holiday with a few gifts and the knowledge that someone out there does care about them; and that gave me a type of warmth that the other people in my homeroom never had the chance to feel.

Even though the schools have cut back on running their charities, I still gave and continue to give to local charities. Most people wonder why I even bother buying for people I will never meet, but I believe it doesn’t hurt to give to others regardless if you know them or not.