Giving. We are so frequently asked to donate to some group, some drive, some charity. But giving, of course, is really much broader. The Bible tells us that being financially generous results in higher amounts back. This applies to helping others in big or little ways. A fulfilling and pleasant feeling comes with reaching out to others.
Smile. Do you ever question what to do when taking a walk or walking into a store and you pass a stranger face to face. Are you hesitant in greeting them with a smile and a Hello? Think about the fact that you are likely shining small light on them if you speak as opposed to looking the other way. Try it the next time you go to the dollar store or the post office. Small efforts on your part can provide a bit of good will!
Homeless. Can you relate to what the homeless are going through in the month of February? And the nasty virus we are all dealing with this year has created a large increase of folks in this position. Freezing cold 24/7. It may be the perfect time to really check your belongings and gather the ones that you do not need any longer and get them to a shelter for these unfortunate people. Youngstown Blue Coats collect and deliver your donations. No matter how they became homeless is unimportant. They too are God’s children.
School Kids. Another overwhelming problem in our own area, and everywhere else, are the hungry. Our collection of food for the Lakeview K-8 school pantry is a simple to give to. Just leave your donation of pasta and spaghetti sauce on the table in the narthex and it will make its way to the school. Also inviting people you know well or ones you want to know better for a home-cooked meal is magnificently generous and God-loving!
Snail Mail. One act does not occur often these days. Sending a card in the mail is unusual. The internet has made communication easier and quicker. But anyone is pleased to receive a “Thinking of You” card for no specific reason. And you will feel joy in doing this! Try sending a card to someone who doesn’t attend church much or not at all. Send a card to an elderly person you see infrequently. Your loving act will make their day!
Interact. Sometimes we can just “stay within ourselves”. We don’t take the opportunity to interact with an individual who needs it. Someone sitting alone might relish a short sit-down and “How have you been?” They might love to hear a short, funny tale about your recent escapade. Sunday mornings at Prince of Peace has many of these opportunities. Try it! You’ll like it!
Compliment. Everyone enjoys a complement! It is really important to look for something to give a positive comment about to another. It doesn’t always need to be about appearance. After all, none of us are beautiful movie stars. BUT, every one of us has done something well or meaningful at some point. Every one of us has gone the extra mile sometime. MAKE yourself notice such things and verbalize it to that person. Make it a rule that you, at least once a day, give someone a complement or thank them for their efforts. And do not take credit for something someone else actually did.
Pray! Enhance your faith and love of God and His children with frequent prayers. Pray for your family, your friends, and people you don’t know. Pray in your car or while watching TV if you see someone who needs help. Pray for Prince of Peace and the multitudes of the unchurched. The list could go and on. But giving some thought to the suffering and the persecuted will widen our compassion and our prayer life. God will smile at this
Donate. When someone you know has a birthday and they are not in need of very much, make a donation in their name to an entity or organization they care about. Send them an announcement about this. They will likely be surprised and very pleased. Good choices in our area are the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League, Adopt A Foot, Salvation Army, CHOW, Cortland Area Cares, Cortland Lions Club, the Menagerie, and our very own Prince of Peace. Money well spent!
P ay it Forward. You do remember that phrase, “Pay it Forward”. Every time something good happens to you, always do something for another! You need to learn about a fellow Prince of Peace member who is a champion at this! She occasionally purchases or receives a scratch off lottery ticket. She puts her winnings in a jar. Then, when she sees an opportunity to help in a situation where money may be needed, she gives her winnings to the appropriate person. Examples are paying for the shipment of quilts, sending Lenten Devotionals to the homebound and other processes that others don’t think of. She would tell you that, probably because of her generosity, she is winning more and more money. God said this would happen. Can you guess who this is?
Repurpose. What do Am Vets and the Warren Family Mission have in common? They will joyously accept your used and no longer needed household items. They find people who would treasure your throwaways. The next time you spring clean, think hard about whether or not you need to keep the many items that are basically outdated for you. They are not likely outdated for people in trouble. A good time to analyze these things is during the local spring and fall collections of our waste. Think of the good you could do!
Someplace Safe is our local shelter for abused women and children. We likely have all seen a movie about battered women. This is real and very common. It is all around us yet we usually are not aware. Maybe a neighbor is committing this crime. If you suspect this or know it to be the case, notify the police. Don’t be part of the problem. At the very least, think about them when you have bedding of any size.
Pick up the tab. Sometime when you are in line for coffee or some fast food, tell the cashier you will pay for the next person in line behind you. Imagine how you would feel if someone did this for you!
Teach someone something. If you know that someone does not know how to do something that you know about, offer to teach them. Teach someone to knit or crochet or teach or lead a Bible study. Help someone learn how to make a pie crust. The list is endless!
Diapers. Hold a collection of diapers for a not so rich mother to be. They are expensive and very much needed.
Read to Others. Contact the local nursing homes and ask if there might be a resident who enjoy being read to. This could be a book, poems, the Bible, etc. Save this idea till the pandemic is history.
B ecome a Guardian Angel. The Trumbull County Probate Court started this project a few years ago. They need people who will visit a ward of the state periodically to make sure these individuals are satisfactory in their homes. This is not a government controlled entity. It was started here and has since been initiated in other counties. Other people can be added to the program as needed. The visits are simply social. It is a way for the court to follow their wards in a friendly manner.
Tax Time! If you are fairly knowledgeable and independent in filing your own taxes, consider helping another with their return. You might save them from paying for an expensive company for the service.
Volunteer. Volunteerism is waning from our society. It seems many young people are missing the benefits one can receive from this. Almost every organization in our area is shrinking because so many are aging out. Think hard about how you could help. The Lions Club, the Optimist Club, Rotary, LOAF are a few to consider. A new one to our area, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, makes beds for children who usually sleep on the floor.
Pray. When you see someone who is unfortunate in some way, Pray for them.
Research! If you know of someone in trouble and don’t know how or who could help them, talk with friends, a pastor, the police, an organization, etc. Research the problem and you will find the answer.
Listen. Be a counselor to someone who needs to talk. When worries mount up and someone is becoming and anxious, they likely need to talk. Encourage them, listen and give them your full attention. Your kindness will be very much appreciated.
Donate. We hear frequently on TV from several big charities (St. Jude, Tunnels to Towers, etc.) that donating on a monthly basis is desired. Give this some thought if your budget might allow it.
Make cookies! Probably most ladies at one time or another, has baked Christmas cookies for someone who serves them in some way. Did you ever notice that the garbage men are left off this list? Consider doing this! Watch for them to be coming down the street we and then run out with you batch of cookies and give them a big “Thank You!” for their very hard work.
Re-Home. Instead of selling your old items when buying new, try this if you can. You want a new bike or new car. Look around for someone to give it to. If that person could not afford a new one, think of the joy you could provide.
H elp. Think about finding other ways to help people – your friends, your neighbors, those in need either local or far away. Take good care of yourself and take care of others.
Love. Love makes the world go round! (To quote a song from the 50’s by Anna Maria Alberghetti!) Love comes in many ways. God loves us all! We can return his love by helping other people.
Share. We would love to hear how you shared the love!