Thursday, November 08, 2007

The headline caught my attention - SoCal Fires Burn Valley Food Banks - but it was the picture that really drove the message home. Help is Sure, my parish food drive and the kids' annual canned food collection will take place Thanksgiving week, but the need for community support of our food banks is ongoing, not based on the holiday schedule.

At my church, we have a monthly drop off for collecting donations of rice and beans, but I'm sad to say that I frequently forget to come to church armed with a donation. I have the best of intentions, but too often my lack of organization keeps me from following through.

That's why I just got off the phone with our local Catholic Charities food bank, where I made a small pledge to donate on a recurring basis. I mentally calculated what we could afford, estimating what I might spend if I actually made it to the store and donated those rice and beans each month. The lady on the phone kindly took my pledge - when I apologized about the size of the donation, she encouraged me. "Every little bit helps, and this will add up over time." The hit to our budget will be minimal, and the donation will recur automatically without me having to remember it.

Many of us remember to make charitable donations at the usual times - at Christmas, year end, and around tax time, but social service and faith based organizations need our support year round. By setting up automatic donations, you assure your ongoing giving and chances are you won't even miss the funds you set aside to donate. There are many ways to do this - online, over the telephone, through online bill pay, or via credit card. It's quick, easy and painless - plus you get the added benefit of knowing that no matter what else you accomplish today, you've done something to help someone in need. That's a great feeling. And don't feel bad if the amount you are able to donate seems small or insignificant.

Remember, every little bit helps.

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