This holiday we see long lines… not in shopping centers, but with people waiting for hours to get food for their families. As in years past, there are countless, selfless volunteers who risk their own health and give of their time to help others.
There are many ways to give this holiday season. Ponder how and what you give of yourself. Several years ago, after Katrina, several of us flew to New Orleans to volunteer and ended up distributing both food and clothing to those in need. What shocked us was what others gave to those who were suffering most… not their best, but their leftovers… food that had expired or items with zero nutritional value. While there was a smattering of new clothing, there were also huge piles of donated clothing and shoes… not gently used, but soiled, spotted and torn (and not as in designer jeans). We looked to match shoes and, at the end, many were so worn or without matches that they were thrown away as garbage.
As we ponder the blessings we have, may we not miss an opportunity to share our “best” with those in need this holiday season. Whether offering a kind word, sending a check or donating personal items, giving does as much for the giver as for the receiver. In fact, research suggests that giving to others:
- Lowers your blood pressure and stress levels. It is actually good for your health!
- Stimulates your brain’s pleasure centers and releases endorphins. In other words, it increases your happiness.
- Lessens anxiety and depression, and builds self-esteem as you focus on others.
- Promotes more giving, as it encourages others to give. It’s contagious!
Giving our best can have powerful, lasting effects on others and ourselves. We encourage you to give your BEST as we join together to make the world a better place… one where all people are included, valued and respected.