Friday, November 28, 2008

Thoughts From a Full Stomach

An over-full stomach always seems to set me ruminating on how I can share my blessings with those in need. If you're anything like me, you want to help make a difference in the world, but you don't have unlimited resources. I love the idea of service but I hate the boring and meaningless service projects that are available about this time of year. Somehow I can't get into sending lip balm to the soldiers in Iraq. (Though I'm sure their mouths do get awfully dry over there.)

I'm looking for something I can do that makes a difference but that isn't too hard. You know, the thing that is in between giving a dollar to a vagrant and moving to Biafra to operate on children with cleft palates. That's why I'm excited about two websites I have discovered with ideas on what to do to be a responsible citizen of our earth community.

The first one, targeted to teens, is On this site, you can find places to volunteer and get ideas for projects and ways to fund them. You can also post your project, pics and videos to the site. It makes volunteering seem cool and fun.

Another new site is Women Doing More, which provides "daily opportunities for busy women to help the world in small and simple ways." It's just getting started, but I've already found several ideas that I'm excited about.

Do you ever get these guilty feelings that you're not doing enough for the world? Sometimes I look around and I don't know how I ever turned into a suburban mom with a minivan. When I was young I honestly thought I'd grow up and live on a commune, in a kibbutz in Israel, or at the very least a log cabin out in the woods somewhere growing my own food and living a sustainable lifestyle. I'm not sure how those dreams were bypassed. But here I am. With my big ol' carbon footprint and a load of guilt whenever my tummy is too full.


Christine said...

Wow. Thank you. I added you on our blog, but I'm really excited about your blog. I can't wait to read more. Are you on openmormon by any chance?

The Faithful Dissident said...

One of my favourite things that makes me feel like I'm doing something is making microloans on Kiva. I'm sure most have heard of it by now, but I'm not sure whether everyone knows just how amazing it is. It's not a handout, but a loan, and it's nice to actually see to whom and to what your money is going to.

Kiva gift certificates are the perfect Christmas gift for those who already have everything. I'm a horrible Christmas shopper. I simply don't do it because I hate to give gifts without meaning. But Kiva is one of those gifts with meaning and it's a great way to motivate people to getting started on it. We plan on giving one to my husband's brother and his wife for Christmas. The wife can be kind of strange and rude and to be perfectly honest, I don't want to spend money on crap on her just to keep up appearances. So they're getting a Kiva gift certificate this year -- something that I can spend money on and feel good about, even if it's going to her. :) The best part is that you can track it online to check up on whether they use it or not. :)

Another thing you can do is treat the old folks at a nursing home to a special treat or meal. I work in a small dementia ward (15 total patients, split into 2 subwards) and although they certainly get fed well, it's not often that they get something really special unless family members come to take them out or happen to bring them their favourite treat. Some of them have no family, so it's extremely rare that they get a box of chocolates or something of the sort just for them. When I was at work a few weeks ago, the family of one patient came with a traditional seasonal Norwegian meal for the ward, including all the trimmings. It was more than what we'd have the resources to put together on a regular day, so they really enjoyed the food and the company. They really enjoyed the beer and cognac as well, but hey, I'm sure there are better ways of bringing cheer to old people which won't make them tipsy. :)

Anonymous said...

i feel guilty all the time. i'm never doing enough. i have a hard time reading news sometimes because i feel so guilty. it's awful, my guilt.