Summertime, and the Giving is Easy
For many charities, summertime is one of the most difficult seasons of the year. Even though most of us have a bit more time off and there are no snowy roads to drive, giving tends to slow down when the weather heats up. This may be because donors are away, or their resources are being allocated to other activities, or just because there isn’t a big social push towards giving like there is during the Christmas holidays.
Last summer, while Jennifer*’s friends played Nintendo and went to the park, she spent her days weeding, carrying water, and harvesting vegetables. This wasn’t some terrible punishment, either. She chose to spend her summer this way.
This wasn’t some terrible punishment… She chose to spend her summer this way.
After learning that a local charity had acquired an empty lot across from her neighbourhood to grow fresh vegetables for people in need, Jennifer decided she wanted to help. Every day she was available, Jennifer biked over to the urban farm to work helping others.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says Jennifer. She liked getting lots of exercise and fresh air, and she enjoyed learning about the environment, organic gardening, and working on a team. Most importantly, she developed a lasting compassion for people in need. “So many people really don’t have it as easy as we do,” she says with a sigh. “We are incredibly fortunate. I always thought we were lucky, but it was sad realizing that not everyone can get the food they need.”
Over the course of the summer, Jennifer became an advocate for generosity. She told everyone she knew about how great it was to give her time to charity and encouraged her friends and family to investigate ways they might also give back. When her Granny visited from out of town, they even spent an afternoon volunteering together.
“Giving my summer away to help others was a perfect summer vacation,” says Jennifer who is influencing not only people of her own generation, but the grown-ups in her community, too.
Jennifer is influencing not only people of her own generation, but the grown-ups in her community, too.
For busy families, volunteering can be a terrific way to spend quality time together and model generosity for the next generation. There are opportunities for people of almost any age and interest to get involved. Local homeless shelters need help serving meals, non-profit summer festivals often seek volunteers for a variety of tasks, families vacationing abroad might consider incorporating a service project for the local community into their trip, and there’s always cleaning up the local park or pathway.
It’s summertime, and the giving really is easy. Whether you give material goods or volunteer your time, whether you want to give back to your local community or serve somewhere far away, there are so many different options to incorporate generous giving into your summer plans. The hardest part might be choosing.
How will you make summer a time of generosity this year?
*A pseudonym is used to protect the privacy of the individual.