I donated to a GoFundMe campaign today.
I’m not saying that to seek any kind of praise or recognition. But I write about it here to tell you the story that goes along with why.
Yesterday evening, I was at my Mom’s house. She has a weekly get together with some of her friends that they affectionately call Wine and Whine. I pop in every now and then to join them. This week, they were having a gift exchange for Christmas.
My youngest sister still lives with my Mom and she came home while we were all there and said that a major intersection about a block away was closed and completely surrounded with cop cars.
Things like that are unusual in our small city. I said a little prayer in my head because I knew that nothing good would likely come of it.
This morning, I heard about what really happened at that intersection.
A mom had gone for a walk with her 4-year-old son. While crossing the intersection they were struck by a truck. The boy didn’t survive.
I don’t know why I was so overcome with emotion when I heard about it. Unfortunately, I know bad things happen all the time.
Maybe it was because I’m now a parent and I can’t fathom the loss of a child. Going for walks is one of my favorite, free pastimes to do with my daughter.
Maybe it was because when I looked at the Mom’s picture, I saw myself in her. She’s not that much older than me and works in a similar job.
Maybe it’s because I was struck that I was carelessly laughing and sipping wine a block away while a little boy’s life was taken and a Mom’s world was shattered.
It also broke my heart that it’s Christmas time. I’m looking forward to my first Christmas with my daughter, while that Mom probably has a gift she already bought and will never get to give her son.
All of those thoughts make me want to cry.
A GoFundMe campaign was set up for her because apparently she is still hospitalized herself and doesn’t have the funds to pay for her son’s funeral. So I donated.
It’s easy to tune out donation requests.
We all get bombarded with requests for donations, especially this time of year. Every charity is looking to capitalize on people’s collective spirit of goodwill and generosity. Bells are ringing outside of every store.
There’s always someone who needs money for something and so many of those needs are genuine and for worthy causes.
In the same way we tune out telemarketers, I think we often tune out these requests for money. It’s a mode of self-preservation! I get it. Nobody can give enough to support everyone’s requests.
But I pose a challenge for you.
Over the next few weeks, will you let enough of those requests filter in to listen for just one that you feel is genuine and worthy? And if you are able, give. Even if just a few dollars.
In the campaign I donated to, more than one donor gave just $5. Maybe it’s all they were able to give, but it still made a difference in reaching the overall goal.
On platforms like GoFundMe, it’s easy to dismiss a request for money as a lack of planning.
- You should have had life insurance to pay for that funeral.
- You should have an emergency fund for that vet bill.
- You should have planned more.
- You should have…
Perhaps those “should haves” are correct, but that does not diminish the need when hard times or tragedy strike.
I know my donation won’t change what happened or take away that mother’s pain, but maybe it can help allow her to grieve without the additional burden of financial stress.
Physical random acts of kindness are necessary and important and I don’t want to diminish them, but acts of philanthropy are important as well.
There are just some situations where the thing that will help the most is money.
I think those who are privileged enough to know about and seek financial independence have a unique obligation to give. Not everything, but something.
We like to think of the holidays as a joyous and merry time of year, but for people who are hurting or lonely, this time of year can be very hard.
Sharing a little empathy, kindness and generosity can create a beacon of hope for those going through hardship. I hope you are able to find a cause that speaks to you and act upon it.