Give a Little Bit


“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
– President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. I kind of want to tattoo it on the foreheads of lobbyists for corporations seeking tax shelters for their clients so Members of Congress would have to read it during meetings. But that’s probably illegal. Also it wouldn’t do any good.

It looks like our collective tax status will remain unchanged for another year or two if the reports about a compromise on tax law renewals are correct. That’s a good thing because part of the package includes extending the length of eligbility of unemployment benefits for millions of people without jobs. Providing for those who have too little, if you will. It also adds to the abundance of those who have much but…well, they have the best lobbyists.

I don’t fit into either of those categories. I have a bit more than I need but not an embarrassment of material riches (emotional riches I have by the ton and I don’t take that for granted). I do not have the means to write big checks to all the worthy charities in my area and in 2010 I didn’t even write many little checks because our cost of living jumped after buying a house and I needed to be careful with all kinds of spending. But the year is rolling to a close and I am going to do two of my favorite things: I am running a toy drive for Children’s National Medical Center and I am going to go buy a lot of baby food for the Capital Area Food Bank.

My office does an annual toy drive for Children’s and this my fourth year heading up the effort. We collect toys for the hospital to distribute to young patients and stock the play areas. This is one of my favorite tasks of the year. I don’t get to see the kids receive their toys but I don’t need to. I know that Children’s offers care to all children, regardless of their ability to pay, so there are families there who can’t give their children little extras that make an illness less bleak. My coworkers and I come together to provide a smile to kids for whom smiles may be in very short supply.

The other thing I’m going to do it buy a lot of jarred baby food to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank. Food banks all over the country are seeing continued increases in people using their services. They all need donations of food and money to continue providing food to families who would go hungry otherwise. Last year, when we were packing to move, I discovered a stash of baby food that C had outgrown. I was still good so I sent my husband to the food bank to drop it off. They didn’t even put it into the warehouse: those little jars were going directly to hungry babies. Now, anytime I make a donation to the food bank, which has not been often enough this year, I make sure to include baby food so that maybe one baby and one mommy rest a little easier for a few days.

These are the ways I give a little when I don’t have a lot. Are there facilities like this in your town? Sure. Could they use similar donations? Uh-huh. Do I think FDR would approve? Absolutely.

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3 comments for “Give a Little Bit

  1. December 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Okay – now I am going to cry. This is really nice. I try to do all I can and it feels like it is never ever enough – and now with politicians being greedy babies I have friends who are in real serious jeopardy of losing their unemployment. Its so unfair.

  2. Shelley
    December 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Each year my office sponsors 3 or more kids from the county Angel Tree (kids who are less fortunate and won’t have Christmas without our efforts). Every year my throat gets tight when the people in my office bring me their toys, clothes, whatever they have purchased for these kids. And each year I want to cry when the lady from Social Services comes and picks up the goodies. She is coming tomorrow so I better wear waterproof mascara.

    I love all of the giving during this time of year!

  3. December 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    FDR — we’ll never be lucky enough to see another one like him. This was a good post to remind me how fortunate I am and no matter how little I may have, it’s still enough to share.

    Merry Christmas.

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