Make time to give

One of the greatest aspects of the United States is the institution of charity. Although capitalism usually reeks of greed and corruption, when it comes to supporting a cause, Americans are often generous. Whether there is a crisis across the globe or in the neighborhood, the United States is there to help the needy.

There are so many charities to choose from, however, that it is an impossible task to support the most important one. After all, how can a person choose between cancer research and feeding the homeless? Most causes are worthwhile and need financing. It isn’t necessary, then, to judge charities on the basis of importance as long as one lends a hand somewhere.

How do people decide which organization to volunteer for or send money to? Rock stars campaign for environmental issues, actors for AIDS research and athletes for social causes. Then there are all the commercials which try garnering sympathy. How can a person choose?

Many times a charitable contributor makes the choice based on immediacy. The causes that receive great support are the ones that hit closest to home. If a loved one suffers from a rare form of heart disease, a person may contribute to the battle on that disease. If a loved one is a victim of a drunk driver, a person may help as a MADD volunteer.

Once again, it is important to note that most charities are worthwhile. The government usually does not and cannot help every organization. That’s why average people are asked to donate time, energy, resources and money. Charitable organizations aren’t driven by the government, but by individuals.

It is also important to note that organizations need help year-round, not just during holiday seasons. Usually soup kitchens and homeless shelters are swamped with volunteers during the Christmas season, but neglected the rest of the year. Meanwhile, the problems don’t go away.

If you are thinking that this column is leading to a worthwhile cause that I strongly support, you are correct. In last week’s Northern Star, I was attracted to a story about a program of genuine goodwill and worth. It’s called “Adopt-A-Brick.”

It seems that DeKalb has a stockpile of dirty bricks that need to be cleaned. Organizations are asked to help rid the town of all the filth—we need shiny, happy bricks. So, if you’re feeling guilty about eating a big ham this Easter while people starve in the streets, you can make up for it by cleaning bricks.

It makes me wonder if you will receive a photo and letter from your brick, telling you how it is progressing in this cruel world. If the brick is used in a building, will you have visitation rights? Will the brick love you?

This could lead to great things, maybe even a career in acid washing. This year, you can make a difference in a poor brick’s life—you can adopt it.