Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blessings in a Mason Jar

ALMS: "Any thing given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing, otherwise called charity."

My children are privileged.  They live in a house.  They have food to eat EVERY SINGLE DAY!  They not only get one meal, they get snacks!  They have clean water on a consistent basis.  They overeat at times and feel sick because of it.  Many of our "poor" still have computers and cell phones in this country.

This is the time of year when we receive requests to make an end of the year donation to one charity or another.  Some requests are from foundations trying to stamp out hunger, others want to provide school supplies for needy children here or abroad.  Animal focused charities want help so they can provide food and the necessary care for abused or neglected cats and dogs.  Local organizations are trying to raise awareness about the homeless dilemma and the need for warm clothing on these bitingly cold pre-winter nights.  From now through Christmas we remember the poor, the sick and the suffering. But almsgiving isn't just for the holidays.

How can we participate in the commandment from Christ to love Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves?  How can we help our children to become doers and not only hearers of the Word by giving to those in need? 

This week I took a canning jar from my cupboard, made a slot in the lid and duct taped around the rim so as to discourage any of my boys from being tempted to pocket the cash.  I then made a list of 12 charities.  Our jar if for spare change or any money they may want to contribute and at the end of each month we will count up the "willing donations" and give them to a charity. 

Here is our list:

IOCC: IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.

HOGAR RAFAEL ORPHANAGE GUATEMALA: Orthodox nuns caring for over 100 orphaned, neglected, extremely poor children.

FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY: Food for the Hungry (FH) is a Christian organization serving the poor globally since 1971. We reflect the love of Christ in short-term emergency relief  and long-term work  to end world hunger.

COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL: Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

VOICE OF THE MARTYRS: The Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit Christian organization dedicated to assisting our persecuted family worldwide.

WORLD VISION: World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES: "As the charitable arm of the Archdiocese of Denver, and inspired by God’s love and compassion, Catholic Charities extends the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to the poor and those in need."

ALPHA CENTER: is a local Christian medical clinic that serves our community by providing free services and education related to sexual health. We have served the Larimer County area since 1985, so we are uniquely qualified and experienced to understand what you are going through. All of our services are free thanks to the generous support of many individuals, businesses and churches in our community who recognize the need for a safe support system for individuals making important decisions related to their sexual health and unplanned pregnancies.

SAINT INNOCENT’S ACADEMY: St. Innocent’s Academy is an alternative educational program for young men of high school age and older.  It encompasses both those considered “at-risk” and stable young men alike. The purpose of the Academy is to help them know themselves and to act as men created in the image and likeness of God, to foster their sense of human dignity and worth, and to help them develop life skills which will prepare them to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities as adults.  

ST. PAISIUS MONASTERY: To support themselves, the sisters make prayer ropes and maintain a well-stocked bookstore, and in the future will sell olive oil and pomegranates from their orchards. From its inception, the sisters have maintained numerous publishing efforts, concentrating primarily on themes chosen to support the Christian home and the struggles of Christians living in the world. With this aim, over 50,000 copies of akathists have been printed.

GLEANINGS FOR THE HUNGRY: Gleanings for the Hungry is a Christian, non-profit organization. It operates as a mercy ministry arm of Youth With A Mission. Our mission is to help feed the hungry of the world both spiritually and physically. In the summer, we sun dry peaches and nectarines. We also produce a dried soup mix from bulk dehydrated vegetables. We have provided much needed food to approximately 100 countries around the world.
FOCUS North America: National movement of Orthodox Christians, united in faith and joined by a desire to provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty in communities across America.   

These are just our ideas.  There are SO many opportunities to give year round.  It may be the gift of time at a retirement home sitting and listening to stories our elderly friends want to share.  Perhaps you have older children and can "go" and "do" unlike those of us with little ones.  Making homeless bags to pass out or making cookies for someone in the neighborhood who is having a difficult time are wonderful ways to give.  Whatever the act of kindness, or whichever charities you choose to participate in, know that you and your children have the opportunity to be the very hands of Christ as you serve others. 

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,  and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;  for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4

Let us give without reservation.  Let us give much if we have great abundance.  And let us give joyfully if we have only a little for the God of the universe can multiply even a small offering as a great blessing to His people.

To God be the Glory.  Amen!


No comments:

Post a Comment