Lessons Learned Helping A Charity

The past two days I was  part of a radio-a-thon to raise money for a charity that helps sick children and their families.  It was a rewarding experience that taught me a lot.

First, no matter how bad you think you have it someone has it worse.  The stories I heard about heartache, pain, and difficult decisions were the unfortunate proof.  I wouldn’t want to trade my troubles (real or imagined) for anyone else’s.  They’re mine so I must be the best equipped to deal with them.

The second thing that I realized is that people really can be generous if it’s a cause they can understand and believe in.

We were raising money for 2 things.  To have teddy bears to give to to every sick child entering the hospital.  That’s easy to understand.  A sick kid is going to a scary place for treatments and tests that aren’t fun.  Giving them a teddy bear is a great and caring idea.  It’s something soft and warm they can hold on to.  We heard stories from medical professionals that said in some cases giving a hysterical child a teddy bear works better at calming them down than medicine.  Makes sense to me.

The other thing the money is used for is to fill a compassion fund.  This fund isn’t overseen by a super huge committee.  There aren’t layers of bureaucracy.  It’s accessible to doctors, nurses, and social workers who can use the funds to show compassion to the families of those in the hospital that are in need.  Maybe it’s for a tank of gas because funds are tight, a meal for the parents, or lodging when a child has to go to a hospital that’s farther away.

The stat we heard was having a child in the hospital increases your household expenses by 30 percent.  That much additional expense coupled with the potential loss of one of the parent’s jobs because they’re staying with the child in the hospital and you can see how it could throw the family budget into a tailspin.  It’s because of this that this compassion fund exists.

Helping out by contributing to a fund like this is easy to understand. It’s local.  It’s what we would do for a neighbor.  That’s why I think this fund has been successful and continues to grow.  We need more things like this.  Where we don’t depend on the government but instead on each other. No red tape.  No regulations.  No political affiliations.  Just people helping people.

I’m proud to say we beat last year’s total and raised over $105,000.  At times it was mentally draining but definitely rewarding.  It made me realize how small my problems are and that my daughters needed big hugs when I got home.

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