Folks, if I sat down and made a list of the ways Meesha has influenced me, you would be amazed. He's shared recipes that are now a regular part of our cousine. He has told me several ways to save money.
The biggest contribution he has made to our lives out here in the boonies is mighty peculiar, because he is the reason (in a roundabout way) we opted for cremation rather than traditional burial, although he never mentioned the word "cremation". He once did a blog entry entitled "Bury Me Like a Jew", which got me thinking about the needless expense of funerals. My first thought, after reading his entry, was that Cliff and I should be buried like Jews, because there is no embalming and no fancy casket. Money saved! That set me on an Internet search that ended with mine and Cliff's decisions to be cremated. But that isn't what this entry is about.
I mentioned here on my blog that I wished there were a way to find out which charities can be trusted. Meesha gave me the answer: Charity Navigator. This site will tell you how much money actually goes to the cause to which you are giving, how much goes to administrative expenses, and so forth. If you set up an account there, you can group your favorite charities and actually donate to them through Charity Navigator; I just did this today with the tiny little sum of money we chose to give. If you do it that way, Navigator gets a little contribution too.
Charity Navigator rates the charities, giving them from one to four stars. If an organization has less than four stars, I don't give to them; this means we don't donate to Salvation Army, which only has three; don't take that personally, it's just my choice.
I always talk things over with Cliff before I donate because, after all, it's his money too. This year we agreed to divide our donation between the following:
Breast Cancer.org (because my daughter had breast cancer this year)
Lung Cancer Alliance (for my bloggie friend Margaret, who lost her husband a few days ago)
City Union Mission (it's always been my favorite charity; I even wrote a song about them once.)
Those last two are local organizations; it's nice to keep one's donated money close to home. If I had only had $10 to give, I would have divided it between these four charities this year. If ten thousand people donated $2.50 to a worthy cause, it would be enough to make a big difference. This year we can spare more than $10. We are blessed. But I think many people feel like their tiny little drop in the bucket isn't enough to help anybody.
Don't let that stop you from giving to the charity of your choice. Giving feels good, and every little bit helps.