December 9th, 2013 by admin
Have you ever seen those signs at the cash register that say “Give a Penny, Take a Penny” and then they have a little dish by the sign with random change in it? This helps minor transactions where people need an extra dime or don’t want to bother with their single penny of change.
There are other folks collecting change at businesses nowadays: The Salvation Army bell ringers. I don’t know what your reaction to the bell ringers are when you see (and hear) them, but I think people have mixed feelings. Some people know they’re going to see the bell ringers and fill their pocket with change before even leaving the house to go shopping. Or people deliberately get more change before leaving the stores just to make sure they have something to drop in the bucket. On the flip side, there are others who will look for the store exit that doesn’t have a bell ringer just to avoid them. Of course there are probably a myriad of reactions to those bell ringers, especially depending on what time of your shopping day you see them.
As a child, I used to volunteer with the bell ringers through church and scouts. I always ended up working the shifts that the older people didn’t want, but it didn’t bother me, I loved the job. Outside of often being too cold, I loved watching people light up with smiles when they would approach, and I loved the thought that my volunteerism might just be helping someone out during the cold winter season, and I loved the fact that I was participating in a holiday tradition.
There are so many ways to “Give a Penny” during the holiday season that, even if you don’t care for the red buckets and bell ringing, you can find a way to give a little of yourself. Why wouldn’t you give? Just for starters, giving is a healthy thing to do. Check this out from psychcentral.com, and this from squidoo, and this from pbs.com. Giving is also something that makes you feel a part of something greater than yourself. Besides, it just makes you feel all warm and cozy inside too!
But maybe you simply don’t like giving money. Maybe you still feel like giving, but either you feel throwing money at something is impersonal, or money is tight and you’d rather not spend to give. That’s cool, because there are ample opportunities to volunteer your time, or your abilities. The folks at dosomething.org have an idea. So do the folks at investopedia. And if you wish to make an impact, the Huffington Post has a few thoughts as well.
One of the things Camp Wood YMCA celebrates and tries to honor is that level of giving. During this past summer, some of ‘leaders in training’ volunteered an early Wednesday morning to go work at the local food pantry, stocking shelves, unpacking goods, cleaning up – giving of themselves. It is also true that a lot of the full time staff here at Camp Wood YMCA also do volunteer work throughout the year just as a matter of course as we think helping others is cool.
So, when you are out this holiday season, think about ways you too can “Give a Penny” to others, weather or not it’s a penny of your money, your time, or your abilities. And once you’ve thought about it, we encourage you to go out and do it!