This is a guest blog post from Reed Sandridge. Sandridge lost his job in 2009 and did the unthinkable - he started giving away $10 a day to complete strangers! He captured the story of every recipient at www.yearofgiving.org. A frequent writer and speaker on volunteering and micro-philanthropy, Sandridge lives in our nation's capital.
The US Department of Labor released the latest unemployment figures on Friday for the United States and sadly the percentage inched up from 9.1% to 9.2%. The rate has been above the 9% level 24 out of the past 26 months. Today it's hard to believe that it was below 5% at the beginning of 2008.
During times of economic fragility, most of us follow our basic instinct to cut back on our spending and focus on ways that allow us to keep as many pennies as we can. This financial stance soon boils over into other parts of our life and we adopt an inward focused approach to almost everything we do. We become self-centered and guarded and often abandon our practices of philanthropy and volunteering. Ironically, it is precisely these times when we need to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking of others; a simple lesson I learned as a child.
Who knows where our economy will be in six months or much less in a year, but let's not stop giving. It is now that our local homeless shelter needs us to volunteer and nonprofits searching for cures for deadly diseases need our financial support. It is now that our neighbor needs us the most.
I lost my job in October of 2009 when the unemployment rate hit 10.2% - the highest mark in 26 years. Instead of stopping my volunteer work and financial donations, I kicked it up a notch and made a commitment to give away $10 every day to a stranger for a year. I documented all 360 days at www.yearofgiving.org. The experience changed my life and now I invest in kindness through micro-philanthropy and volunteerism.
I'm not saying that it is easy to do, but it is the right thing to do and it's important. Won't you join me?
Image of Reed and Nathan - his $10 recipient from Day 86. Nathan lives in Montgomery County, MD and has been unemployed for over two years. Here's a link to his blog post: http://yearofgiving.org/2010/03/13/day-86-nathan-a-and-harry-k/
Photos courtesy of Reed Sandridge
Miss a post by Sandridge?
Post 2: Breaking Down the Barriers of Self-Centeredness
Post 3: Volunteering on Your Next Vacation
Post 4: 5 Ways Volunteering Can Help You Decide Who to Give Money To
Post 5: Changing Trends in Volunteering in America
Post 6: Volunteering Overseas: My Recent Adventure to Ireland
Post 7: Ireland: The Best Place in which to Grow Older?
Post 8: Are you a Philanthropist? Maybe
Post 9: AARP Stepping Up Commitment to Volunteerism
Post 10: Cable Companies Helping to Increase Volunteering Rates?
Post 11: A World Without Volunteers