I believe in the idea that helping people in need is about one’s willingness to briefly put their life aside to better someone else’s. Assisting people that don’t have the ability to help themselves beyond their current situation does not rely on money, but rather time, desire, and resources. Time is probably the least significant factor. If you think about it, how many people, including yourself, feel as though they have nothing to do and end up aimlessly watching TV or browsing the internet for a few hours? Instead you could go through your closet that most likely has clothes in it you haven’t worn in awhile but don’t give a second thought to in the morning. You could go through your kitchen pantry and donate cans of food that you bought and said you would eat, but never did. If each person in Harrisonburg, VA donated a can of food it would feed almost 50,000 people, 25,000 of which might be those who die every day from hunger or hunger related causes. The most direct way to assist people would be to donate your time to shelters and organizations. My senior year of high school I donated 40 hours to a Women’s shelter that was located a 30 minute drive from my house. I usually just donate food and clothes indirectly, but I realized that giving my time and energy to the women and children there made a greater difference in their lives than any donations could. Motivation can drive anyone to do anything they want to accomplish. It takes desire to say you will do something and then do it. It takes desire to get off the couch and go help someone. If you have the mindset that you want to truly help people then there isn’t much left to have other than resources. Simply put, we give value to money. Money has no real world value beyond its physical make-up of paper and metal. Rather, it is the resources that we normally would purchase with money that contain value. If, for example, every lumber company donated a small portion of their wood to help rebuild homes for people the amount of resources that would provide would be profound. Resources do not just stop at physical. Mental resources such as skills are just as useful and needed as physical ones. Those same lumber companies may employ or have relations with engineers, carpenters, and architects that could donate their time to help build a home or community center or share their knowledge of how to people who don’t have access to education. I believe that if people came together, not just in crisis but every day, to help those in need we could accomplish so much more. It takes just one person to make a difference in someone else’s life. It takes your time, your desire, and your resources.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.