HERE]. And next Friday I'll be wrapping this up with Geeky Stocking Stuffers.
This week I am going to make a list of geeky charities and free things that you can invest in instead of buying more glowing electric powered gadgets. As Christians, maybe we can take a few minutes and think about someone else. I don't know about you, but if you have running water, the power is still turned on, and there is food to put on the table, you are doing better than a lot of folks. If you have a few gifts to give, you are truly blessed.
This is my friend Dennis. We have known each other since the 70's. He's got a cushy job as a CEO, but he loves the Lord and cares about the poor and homeless - maybe more than anyone I know.
Many Christians look towards the poor at this time of year. There are so many folks that are without right here in the US. Personally I am looking at needs. What gift could I give that would be a blessing? Is it time, is it money, is it food, is it love?
Here are my Top 12 suggestions.
-1 Soup Kitchen: They seem to be in every major community. There are local rescue missions, and large organization such as the Salvation Army. Just Google "soup kitchen" + your zip code.
-2 Gifts for Kids Whose Parents are in Jail: A largely forgotten group is the children of inmates. My favorite is Chuck Colson's Angel Tree.
-3 Gifts for Kids with Cancer: You can send gifts and cards to kids in your local hospital or find addresses on Facebook. Or donate your hair to Locks of Love.
-4 Visit a Veteran: Did you know that just about everyday a World War II, or Vietnam War vet dies? They quietly slip away, taking with them their memories of times past. Some are shut in, others are just forgotten. They world love to have a coffee and tell you about Normandy, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and even the Gulf War. Call your local VFW and get some names, you'll be glad you did.
-5 Visit a Nursing Home: I don't know about you, but some of my favorite church ministry was going to visit with folks that are spending their last days in nursing home. Our group gave out small stuffed animals, played a few dozen Christmas carols, and did some listening.
-6 Donate Winter Clothing: Baby it's cold outside - even in Florida and Georgia! Next time you are Wal*Mart, grab an extra coat, a few pairs of mittens, winter socks and some woolen hats. There are lots of places to give. Our church delivered them to homeless shelters and to the Department of Youth Services in charge of kids in foster care.
-7 Toys for Poor Kids: Toy for Tots by the US Marines gets them quickly into the hands of needy kids. They are often just outside the doors of toy stores in many malls.
-8 Toys for Kids in Foster Care: Call you local Department of Youth Services or Department of Youth & Family Services. In most localities they'll have a few dozen kids. Although they can't give you names, they can take donations a they'll let you know age ranges and gender.
-9 Visit a Wounded Soldier: Just about every major US municipality has a VA Hospital or affiliate. Some wounded soldiers are many miles away from their family during the holidays. A visit, a card, or better yet purchasing plane tickets for loved one to visit is a great way to say thanks. You can find the closest ones HERE.
-10 Leave a Food Basket for a Family in Need: You must know someone that has lost a job and is living on unemployment. How about preparing a food basket and leaving at the front door. This is for those that can run. Ring the doorbell and take off. It is the most fun when it is anonymous. Or you can send a bank check with no return address. Even gift cards to the local supermarket.
-11 Invite Someone for Christmas Dinner: Making room at your table is a wonderful way to share the love of Jesus. After I was divorced and before I met Mary Anne, I shared both Thanksgiving and Christmas with folks from the church. My pastor even gave me a call on Christmas morning. It was firs time I had to wake up in an empty house. I was glad to have somewhere to go.
-12 Donate to a Family Trip for a Cancer Patient: I have a friend that has been battling cancer. He has had surgery, radiation, chemo, and IPPI treatments. His church is trying to raise funds to send him, his wife and his 4 children to Disney World the first week of January. If you'd like to be part of the blessing, let me know, and I will get you an address. 100% of your donation goes to the family.
So, maybe your Christmas shopping isn't done yet?