Helping Others with Your Mouse...
Sometimes Without Spending a Dime

"Never underestimate the power of giving. It shines like a beacon throughout humanity.
It spans the oceans that divide us and brightens the lives of all it touches.
One of life's fundamental laws is that the torch you raise to light the path of another brightens your own as well. 
—Anonymous

Who'd have imagined that one day we might help others with something called a mouse? And even do so (now and then) without spending any money...thereby following the counsel of Teddy Roosevelt, who once suggested that we simply do what we can right where we are and with whatever we have at our disposal. 

Putting the Mouse to Work

Having arrived at this page, you likely have a mouse under your hand. With that (hairless) critter, you can help provide food and other assistance to people and/or animals in need. If you're clicking only, as opposed to clicking and occasionally purchasing, that assistance won’t cost you a dime. 

It will cost the minutes you choose to give...and yes, time is a precious and diminishing commodity for many of us. But another diminishing commodity for all too many is food—as supply chains become increasingly mangled by wars, natural disasters, and the complexities and inequities of post-harvest storage, transport, and distribution.
 

  Clicking Sites at Greater Good

Very likely, you already give money and/or time to groups addressing hunger, shelter, and other pressing issues. For that, the world thanks you. As an "encore," perhaps you might consider clicking daily at the Greater Good sites, where you'll find the Hunger Site, the Animal Rescue Site, the Breast Cancer Site, the Veterans Site, the Alzheimer Site, and the Rain Forest Site, among others. To do so takes little time (and no funds), yet can pay off wonderfully when thousands of us choose to contribute that time.  

  Playing the Free-Rice Game

Here's another way to give that also costs nothing. Use your mouse-hand and your head/heart to play a game at Free Rice.

The free-rice game questions you in your choice of several areas; for each correct answer, the game “pays” you 10 grains of rice. So, if you answer a mere 30 questions, for example, your winnings total 300 grains. When cooked they look like the rice in the small bowl to the left—one heaping tablespoon, plus slight overage. Guess how I know this... ;-)

If you ramp up the number of questions, you can make an even greater difference to people living in challenging and sometimes heart-rending circumstances.

 The Free Rice site even keeps a running tally if you revisit during the day, and you may play as often and as long as you wish.

 You can also set up and/or join a team, if that appeals to you.

To do shelter animals a similar favor, hop on over to Freekibble.com, where a single answer (all you’re allowed) to each of two questions earns 10 pieces of kibble whether your answer be correct or false. Answer the third question to "give" kitty litter to shelters.

  Chipping in on Micro-Loans and/or Grants

Before you leave, perhaps you'd allow me a quick plug for Kiva, an innovative micro-lending program. Although Kiva isn't completely free, in the sense that you do lend money at a certain risk, my own considerable experience as a lender suggests that most borrowers fully repay their loans. If you like the idea of helping a small-scale entrepreneur in the U.S. or a developing country, perhaps consider lending a person or enterprise 25 bucks now and then through Kiva. 

Another site to consider is Benevolent, which uses crowd-funding to provide grants to people for verified purposes (for example, education or small-scale business startups). When many of us give, even as little as 10 or 20 dollars can help people trying to build better lives for themselves and (frequently) their families.

And there you are: a few easy and either free or inexpensive ways to help others. But they work best if the rest us pitch in as well. Although none of us can "save the world" on our own, together we can sometimes help individuals and groups in life-changing ways.

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