Philanthropy of the Heart

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British Dictionary definition for philanthropy:

philanthropy /fɪˈlænθrəpɪ/     

noun (pl) -pies

1. the practice of performing charitable or benevolent actions

…Thank you,

One major thing we’d like to pass on to our children, besides an impressive family tree replete with stories and insight, is the desire to give.  Here are a few things you can do when you feel a spirit of giving, but the finances just aren’t there to give as much as you’d like.

Give Time

  • When mowing your lawn, go ahead and do that row right down the middle that isn’t clearly on your side or the neighbors.  Better yet, do one or two more after that.


  • Take a meal to a neighbor when you’ve heard of a challenge they have, such as a new baby, surgery or hospitalization, car accident, or job loss.  It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal; taking a hot pizza can lift spirits in times of trouble just by showing you care.   Even though it is the thought that counts, be sure to double check for any allergies or aversions to ensure you’re really doing a kindness.


  • Help a friend clean house.  A tidy environment often leads to calmer and clearer thinking. You can read small decluttering prompts here. You could be creating a better day for the entire household! (Don’t think about your own house for just a couple of hours!)


  • Do you have a neighbor that isn’t very mobile?  Visit with them.  Just pour a glass of water for each of you, then sit and listen to their stories with sincere interest.


  • Do you know someone in the diaper-buying season of life?  Scan the newspaper for those high dollar coupons; you may be able to give $5 or $10 to someone who will look at you with loving gratitude for the next month, and the cost to you? Two whole minutes.


Give Little Blessings

  • Blessing bags

-in the summer: granola bars, socks, bottled water, mint (just don’t grab too many at a time when leaving  <insert favorite restaurant here>  after dinner), toothbrush and toothpaste

-in the winter: add gloves and switch out the mint for a small, festive candy cane

  • Round up a bag or three of unused items, then donate rather than filling your trash bin.  This could lead to more work for a disabled veteran if you have a DAV thrift store in your area, or choose another similar store.  It can lead to a tax break if you itemize, and you know you’re simply saving the world, one pair of tennis shoes or baby toy at a time.
  • Leave a coin in the change return at the self-checkout.  Five cents is completely worth the smile you’ll put on a stranger’s face.

Volunteer opportunities abound on and they’re organized in a very user-friendly way.  Searching for the right match is a breeze as positions are listed in categories with pictures!

Share these experiences with your family, or start a community group with friends and neighbors.  Working with others to fill a need can give such a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment!

P.S. The flower/chocolate combo pictured was a clever and welcome surprise from my daughter!

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