Giving in the New Year
As many people know, the country where I was born, South Africa, has a high incidence of AIDS. There are currently 1.4 million AIDS orphans living there. The charitable cutback that I’m considering is to an after-school program that teaches dancing and singing to AIDS orphans. When the children arrive to the program, however, many are too hungry to learn. Last year, I had been giving $300 each month to pay for a meal upon their arrival to the school. $300 per month pays for 90 children to eat 5 meals each week. Is this the cut I should make in 2010? I can always resume in 2011, I reason, when the economy and my income will be up.
Then I receive this email from the director:
“At the present moment with your funding we are only able to serve about 70-90 children. We had to explain to the kids that we are on a very tight budget and can’t feed all of them, so it’s first come first serve. There is a girl of about nine years who is HIV+, she comes to the soup-kitchen when she can walk, she said something that will remain with me forever.
She said: ‘Can you please come closer, I want to tell you something. Thank you for the food you give to us, it is nice food. I will grow up to be just like you. I will feed kids in need. Please don’t stop serving us…’ She smiled and gave me a hug, that is priceless! I want you to know that hug was for you, Brent, for making that difference, for helping me feed those kids.”
Clearly this is not the year to put my checkbook away. The need is no less, the hunger continues. There is much to do.