This month has seen the return of the "Secret Millionaire" TV series. It follows a successful business person who agrees to give away at least $100,000 to select charities serving those in impoverished areas of the U.S. (ABC, Sunday night 7 to 8pm, central time).
The millionaires keep their identities secret while they volunteer and live a similar existence to the locals until the end of the week. They then present checks to the myriad organizations that are always struggling. It is a life changing event for those who have been blessed with good fortune, and makes a huge impact on the recipients.
For those who believe in the goodness of mankind, it’s a much better choice of viewing than many of the TV reality shows that record people exhibiting their worst behaviors. And most importantly, it is inspiring.
While most of us can’t give away $100,000, it’s important to recognize you don’t need to be a millionaire to make a significant difference in someone’s life. Giving a timely gift of only twenty dollars to a person in need might be as significant to them as it is for others to receive much more. And, of course, there are always many opportunities to volunteer.
Occasionally, you might need to look for opportunities or even make them. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Volunteer at a food pantry (in Lawrence for example, Just Food is part of the EKAN program at: http://www.eckan.org/
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen (in Lawrence, check out LINK http://www.linklawrence.org/ )
- Find volunteer opportunities at Pelathe http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org57855.jspor the Roger Hill Volunteer Center http://www.volunteerdouglascounty.org/index.html
- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity at http://www.habitat.org/or Family Promise at http://www.familypromise.org/ which helps homeless families transition to a home of their own
Look for people in need
- Watch who gets out of an old clunker in a store’s parking lot and slip an envelope with money in it under the windshield wiper
- Contribute to a church’s discretionary fund
- Watch for people who may put things back at the check-out
- Contribute to street musicians who look to be in need
- Listen while standing in queues for individuals who comment about being in need
- Watch for those in pharmacies and grocery stores who are obviously unable to purchase what they need
The bottom line is that you don’t need to be a millionaire to make a difference, but you could be the same as one in the eyes of someone else.