I sometimes lay awake at night thinking of human need. I work with the hungry, poor, and disenfranchised, so it is natural I suppose to feel connected to causes.
I always return to one of my favorite quotes during these times. Mr. Rogers told us to “Look for the helpers.” I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be a helper, and that position matters in how I decide to live this life of mine. Some seasons I help a lot, and some seasons I help a little.
What I have learned is that helping always fills our souls more than we need, and way more than we have ever expected. On my helping days I am overwhelmed with how much people in need teach me, and teach my children. I have learned I never exclude my tiny humans from joining me in helping. We have passed out food at pantries together, we have raised funds for endangered animals together, we have hosted lunch for students together, we have collected coats together, we have met the needs of an angel tree ornament together, we have filled miracle bags together, and we have taught English together. I think this is why it has always filled my cup more than I deserve, because I include my family.
Helping is not exclusionary. The helpers do not have to be a population of extremely privileged people, and it doesn’t require a babysitter, and it doesn’t require lots of money. It does mean your time will be given, but I promise it is worth it. It does not have to be extravagant. Perhaps you donate $5 a month to an organization that shares your values. Maybe you call the local food pantry and find out there need this month, and you drop it off (it is usually coffee and shampoo). Maybe your local school needs story readers. Maybe a local library needs help putting away books. Maybe your local Planned Parenthood needs greeters.
Helping makes me feel good. It fills my soul, and contributes to my community. I like being a helper. I suspect you will too.