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Finding a charity I can call my own

January 7th, 2015 at 02:13 pm

When I was much younger and making about the same money as I am now, I felt that I had so much $$ I didn't know what to do with it. Seriously. Of course I was saving a lot, but I also started donating $100 a week for a while to my favorite charities, rotating among wildlife organizations, the Nature Conservancy, Bat Conservation International and local animal shelters.

My job history has been somewhat erratic. I'm certainly not one of those people who works 20 years at one place. The jobs have come and the jobs have gone.

Now I'm back to making what for me is good money, though strangely, I don't feel that I'm swimming in money as I did in my 30s. And that's even without having the mortgage anymore. Maybe it's because I've experienced several layoffs and some very long periods of un- or under-employment that's served as kind of a warning that the money can go away very quickly. Also, I think I have more experience understanding how incredibly expensive even "simple" home repairs/maintenance/remodeling can be.

Still, I am wanting to give back in a way that is meaningful for me and I am very loyal to my town, even more so since 12/14/12. I noticed in the paper there was a writeup about how our brand new municipal animal shelter was looking for donations of food, towels and toys. I was surprised that a town-funded shelter would be in need of such things, so I called them just now and they told me the town takes care of the essentials, but they don't consider toys essential and they go through towels quickly.

So while I cannot adopt any more animals, I think I will adopt my local shelter. When I go to Wal Mart for cat food (which seems like something I'm doing constantly, regardless of how many cases I buy at one time), I'll start picking up an extra case for the shelter, and I know I have some extra old towels I can donate as well. It's a start.

Actually, this idea morphed in my head because while the new shelter was finished well over a year ago, i have yet to get down there and check it out, something I've been wanting to do. Having some donations to drop off give me the perfect excuse to show up!

I got an email from the organic farm where I was a CSA member last season. They were telling people they could sign up for next year (I won't) and invited feedback, so I wrote a fairly lengthy and detailed note about why I wouldn't be joining the CSA again but I also talked about the many wonderful things about it.

The main reason I'm not doing it again is becus we couldn't pick up the food until 1 pm Sunday afternoons. That left me with the very tail end of the weekend to decide what recipes to use (based on what I got) and then run out and get missing ingredients, and then try to cook up as much as possible on that one afternoon because I have neither the time nor energy to be doing much cooking during the work week.

I really did wrap my entire weekend plans around the Sunday afternoon farm pick-up.

I also mentioned being disappointed that after they said they hoped to provide a dozen eggs every other week, we wound up getting eggs just ONE time. Even worse, when I went to browse their little store, I saw they had eggs in there. I'm sure they just wound up with too few eggs and didn't have enough to go around for the CSA members, but in my mind, since CSA members are paying up front for an entire season, they should be given preferential treatment over those who just come in at will and buy from their store.

But I also said how incredible their produce was and how it really felt like Christmas morning each Sunday when I made my little trip to the farm, wondering what I'd be getting that week. And how they are one of the top 10 best things about my town.

The farmer's wife wrote back a very nice note. She said I gave her a lot to think about and was apologetic about the eggs. She said she wasn't going to promise any eggs this season, and then if people wound up getting some, it would just be a pleasant surprise. I wanted to explain to her that while that's fine, last summer what she should have done was offer some sort of explanation to customers (which they didn't) becus I'm sure there were others besides me who wondered about the eggs and then saw them in the store. It just made things a little worse. But I didn't want to press the point so I just decided to drop it.

9 Responses to “Finding a charity I can call my own”

  1. ThriftoRama Says:

    We have been with the same CSA for 9 seasons, since their very first year. They have become our friends as well as our farmers. One year, they offered an egg share. I loved it, but it caused much stress for the farmer. Having enough eggs for everyone every week was a herculean task, and often he had to go begging around to other farmers just to have a minimum to provide. Chickens can be finicky and suddenly stop laying or a coyote can come one night and eat them all. You just never know!

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    I get that about menu planning. We've had our pickup day change a few times and it definitely affects planning. Sunday would be the worst day for us, because we do our weekly grocery run on Saturday, so that would mean moving our grocery run to a day when the buses don't run as often, or trying to guess what we'd want to have in the house to go with the veggies. I think I'd find a different CSA if Sunday were the only option.

    We're excited that our new drop site is just three blocks from our house! Now that AS works from home, she'll be able to get it during the day.

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    Make sure you know what brand of food the animal shelter uses before you buy it. They will stick to one, because switching around is hard on an animal's digestion. I'm sure you are aware of that with your own animals, but people don't always think about that when they buy to donate. They just buy what they get their own pets. My best friend volunteers in a shelter and that's something she talks about a lot. That and how much they need blankets and towels and laundry soap since they are constantly washing blankets and towels.

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I think that's a great way to give back by donating to the cat shelter.

  5. PNW Mom Says:

    Awesome about supporting your local shelter....I'm sure they will be very happy to receive your gifts.

  6. snafu Says:

    I wonder if you'd consider asking your mom, colleagues and even neighbourhood friends for donation of old towels, blankets and even laundry soap they bought and didn't like for the shelter. Many of us are de-cluttering as we clear space for new acquisitions. January happens to have wonderful 'White Sales' making your willingness to cart to the shelter helpful to individuals.

  7. creditcardfree Says:

    I hope to get new towels soon, so I will remember to pass mine on to our local shelter. It isn't close, but I know the one trip out there will help a great deal.

    I've been doing a lot of shredding of old documents from the 90s and noticed quite a few donations we did for organizations...when we didn't have as much money. I didn't add them up, but it seemed like more than we do now as a percentage of income. I really do need to increase our giving. Thanks for mentioning it.

  8. Nika Says:

    Look into Women for Women international. http://www.womenforwomen.org/
    They help women who were victims of wartime sexual violence re-build their lives and get skills that can help them support themselves and their children in the future.

    Or it can be something local - for example, DH and I were walking back from an awesome bar in Philly on our weekend away, and saw a line of men in a freezing cold who waited to see if there is a bed for them in a mission. When we got back home, he looked up that mission's info and donated to it.

  9. rob62521 Says:

    I imagine your local shelter will be pleased that you are adopting them. Good for you!

    We have a couple local things we support as well as one national organization. What irks me is some of the people I work with almost demand I give money to their organizations that they feel strongly about and then get snarky when I explain I have already budgeted money for the causes we support.

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