Archive for the ‘Giving’ Category

Pay It Forward

December 10, 2008

There’s something to be said for being a graduate student on a fixed income during an economic crisis.  Every store seems to be having a massive sale on at the moment, which makes our stipends stretch farther and, err, lets us buy new clothes.  I recommend spending some of your savings from the sales to help out those in need.

The New York Times recently published an interesting article about American food banks, which are making a number of innovations at the moment aiming at making their food offerings more efficient and more effective.  Near the end of the article are some disquieting quotes from food bank employees:

“I keep hearing that demand is up and up and up,” said Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America, which provides more than two billion pounds of food annually to food banks around the country. “I heard one person saying they’re feeding schoolteachers. The needle is moving higher up the socioeconomic class, and people making more money are needing emergency food assistance.”

Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, said he had “never seen anything” like the current economic situation.

“I’ve had people call me personally who have been donors for years, and said ‘Bill, I need help,’ ” Mr. Bolling said. “That’s disquieting to get those calls.”

In this time of increased hunger, some food banks are sadly being forced to close their doors due to decreased donations.  You can find food banks in your area from the website Feeding America.  I was amazed that I was able to buy three whole enormous bags of non-perishable groceries for only $20.  I encourage you to pick up at least one or two cans the next time you’re at the grocery store to donate to a local food drive.  As graduate students, we’re lucky to be relatively insulated from the economic crisis, so it’s a good time to pay it forward.

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Charity Holiday Cards

November 24, 2008

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but everyone is already starting to think about Christmas!  Normally, I hate the rush towards Christmas that seems to start as early as September, but this year I’m joining in.  Sometimes you just really need to start getting excited about the holidays!  

As a grad student, it can be challenging to buy meaningful presents for friends and family without breaking the bank.  I will do a post in the future with my favorite present picks.  But a great, cheap and thoughtful gesture is to send everyone special in your life a warm holiday message in the mail.  Often a kind hand written message delivered by the mail man or mail woman is more appreciated than whatever little trinket you might give instead.  And we don’t send enough mail to our friends and family these days!

If you’re crafty, you’ll make a handmade card that will wow your loved ones.  If you’re me, you’ll buy charity holiday cards for a good cause.  My pick this year?  A classic in the field of charity Christmas cards: UNICEF.  They have some great retro designs this season.  Be sure to start making or purchase your holiday cards now so that you’ll have them ready to go in time for the holidays!